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Flooding in Southern Suriname

Govt. Suriname
Date de publication


1. Nature of the disaster

Flooding, due to continued torrential rainfall over the period starting around 1 May 2006 till current date. See Annex 1 for meteorological report on levels of rainfall over the period 1 – 7 May 2006. See Annex 2 for overview of affected geographical area.

2. Areas affected

The area affected is the whole Southern part of Suriname, more in particular the districts of Sipaliwini and Brokopondo. In terms of human population, the following administrative resorts have been affected to-date:

Approximate total population
Percentage of displaced population
Areas mostly affected
Nr. of population severely affected
Apomatopo, Lawa
Boven Suriname
Boven Saramacca
Poesoegroenoe and surrounding villages
Boven Coppename
Specific information pending
All areas

3. Impact

3.1. Damage by sector (see also Annex 3)

Buildings: Stone and wood: Policlinics, schools, shops, storage rooms, powerhouses, workshops, libraries, residential houses, tourist resorts, sawmills

Buildings: Wood/forest building materials: residential houses, tourist resorts, krutu osos (community halls), spiritual places

Roads: walkways between villages

Local ports/ aanmeersteigers: all (many local river ports in all villages)


  1. Damaged: Botopasi, Laduani, Kajana, Dritabiki, Kwamala, Apetina, Sipaliwini, Coeroeni, Amatopo, Tepu
  2. Functional: Djumu, Palumeu, Godo-olo, Gaakaba

  1. Telesur connected areas, damaged: Pamboko, Jaw Jaw, Isadou, Nieuw Aurora, Pikin Slee, Botopasi, Futunakaba
  2. Telesur connected areas, functional: Pokigron, Abenaston, Guyaba, Asidonhopo, Djumu, Gunzi, Dritabiki
  3. Two-way radios: Medical Mission: 35 out of 35 radios functional; PAS radios: xx/yy functional; VIDS radios: xx/yy functional, VSG: xx/yy functional; ACT: xx/yy functional; private: xx/yy functional; gold miners: unknown.
  4. Two-way radios via 120 Telesur: Damaged: Danpaati, Manlobi, Massiakriki, Asidonhopo, Kajana. Functional: Stonhuku, Palumeu, Wanapan.
  5. Cellular (mobile) connection: Langatabiki (TDMA), Nyun Jakobkondre (TDMA), Apoera (GSM): functional.

Electricity: All affected areas damaged


  1. Home-based poultry livestock affected in villages: 60%
  2. Agricultural plots: 100%
  3. Fishing: 100%

Household equipment (stoves, apparels, pots and pans etc.): 60%

3.2. Effects on population

Confirmed deaths: inventory pending

Injured: inventory pending

Homeless: 22,141 persons

4. Projected evolution/Secondary threats

Key assumptions

A scenario analysis has been done and decided to go with the 'medium intensity' scenario (the scenarios ranged from 'best case scenario' in which the rains would stop and the water level subsiding fast; to the 'worst case scenario' with continued heavy rainfall causing increasingly more villages to be submerged, with casualties). In this scenario, rains will continue causing the water to subside only gradually over a period of approximately one week, after which recovery measures can be started. In case the crisis situation persists for more than 8 days, more permanent measures will have to be put in place for displaced persons.

It is expected that a surface area of 100 x 80 meters will have to be cleared for one camp for 500 displaced persons. At least five cleared areas will be necessary if all 'nominated' persons for evacuation are to be housed.

Specific threats:

a. Seasonal/climate: Prolonged flooding and/or further flooding expected over the next weeks. Meteorological reports predict further heavy rainfall within the next few days. The rainy season has just started and will normally last until the second week of July. River water levels are high from the start of the rainy season and are therefore very susceptible to easy flooding. This will have effects on the surrounding agricultural plots and therefore on the food situation.

b. Population movements expected depending on further flooding.

c. Evacuation decided for:

  • 300 persons Sarakreek area
  • 150 persons Pamboko area

d. Evacuation considered for:
  • Boni Doro
  • Badaatabiki
  • Nason
  • Tabiki Ede
  • Pakira Tabiki
  • Skintabiki
  • Atemsa
  • Skorokondre
  • Loka Loka
  • Je Ami
  • Tetekampoe
  • Ba Feng
  • Gostoe
  • Agaigonoe
  • Nikie
  • Saje
  • Kofikanuesa
  • Goninikrikimofo
  • Akiminatabiki
  • Kawemhakan

e. Medical secondary threats: Expectation of diarrhea epidemic especially among children in most affected areas due to flooding of sanitary places and cemeteries and dead livestock in the water within the next 2 weeks; malaria outbreaks within next 4-5 weeks.

f. Education:

  • Upper Suriname river area: 2 out of 18 schools functioning
  • Tapanahoni river area: xx/yy schools functioning
  • Indigenous areas: xx/yy schools functioning

g. Psychosocial consequences

h. Economic consequences:

  • Damaged tourism facilities
  • Reduced employment opportunities
  • Reduced supply services for tourists
  • Food supplies
  • Damaged micro enterprises (especially women entrepreneurs)
  • Damaged commercial agriculture facilities
  • Severe damage to Cambior gold mining operations if Mindrineti river enters the mining plot resulting in long-lasting impacts on Suriname's economy

i. Chemical substances:
  • Sudden increase in mercury levels due to release of mercury from small-scale gold mining areas (NIMOS research planned)
  • Sudden increase in cyanide levels due to release of cyanide in case the Mindrineti river enters the Cambior Canada gold concession area

j. Destruction of the vital road stretch between Atjoni and Pokigron in case the Mindrineti river submerges surrounding areas


5. Organization

Authority responsible for overall direction: Crisis team, established by President of Suriname, consisting of the Ministers of: Regional Development (lead minister), Justice and Police, Finance, Health, Defense.

Coordinating structure: Nationaal Coordinatie Centrum voor Rampenbeheersing (NCCR; National Coordination Center for Disaster Control) (1), operating from the NCCR Crisis Center. The Crisis Center receives hands-on support from representatives from the NGO Interior Network (NGOs working in the Interior) and UNDP. Coordinating meetings are held twice a day with all main coordinating and support organizations, including the Police Corps Suriname, the Districts Commissioners for Sipaliwini and Brokopondo, the Ministry of Regional Development, UN organizations, the Suriname Red Cross and the NGO Interior Network. Extra phone lines and ADSL internet access have been established and website is currently being set up.

Focal point for international assistance: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, supported by UNDP.

6. Administrative measures

Affected areas have been publicly announced 'Disaster Areas' by the President of Suriname on 8 May 2006.

7. Operations/Mobilization of resources

Evacuations planned for two badly affected areas: Sarakreek and Pamboko in the Brokopondo area totaling 300 persons and the Paramaccan area in the Tapanahony area totaling approximately 1200 persons. Awaiting emergency goods. Security missions to be dispatched on 9 May 2006. Assessment operations ongoing in coordination between the National Army, District Commissioners, Medical Mission and other members of the NGO Interior Network. No 'search and rescue' actions planned.

Transport is a major difficulty because of the terrible condition (due to continued rainfall) of the only access gravel road to the affected areas (Brokopondo: Afobaka road; Sipaliwini: road to Atjoni; Marowijne: road to Langatabiki/Bakaaboto). Air transport is very restricted due to unavailability of landing strips which have been submerged or are currently rapidly deteriorating due to the frequent landings. Helicopter transport is expected to be the only possible transport to the Interior if weather conditions deteriorate. Water transport is available using boats of local inhabitants; however, fuel is a restriction in particular the transport of bulk fuel to the affected areas.

Relief items: The assessment of relief needs is currently being undertaken. Centers are being assigned for channeling spontaneous relief items received. Allocation of emergency funds is done by the NCCR. Press relations are handled centrally by the NCCR.

8. Constraints

Lack of immediate funds in particular for food, water, sanitation, emergency housing, transport, communication

Lack of skilled personnel in the coordination center and for maintaining order and security in the affected areas

Lack of skilled and knowledgeable expertise for early recovery and rehabilitation planning (including corresponding assessments) and coordination

Lack of experience with crisis situation

Significant cultural and traditional customs and beliefs to be taken into account

Lack of measurement equipment, satellite imaging and (hydrological) models


9. Resources mobilized/contributed locally

The Government has made available emergency funds to its capacity whereas the NCCR is using its regular yearly budget to respond to the immediate needs. The Suriname Red Cross will make available its local emergency reserves and is ready to undertake an international appeal for support pending the needs assessment. Various individuals and local companies have spontaneously made available immediate financial and in-kind support. The NGO Interior Network has received pledges for support, also pending the needs assessment. Resources are also being mobilized by newly established support groups, NGOs and expatriates overseas particularly in the Netherlands.

A United Nations Disaster Management Team has been set up, consisting of the locally represented UN agencies (UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, PAHO/WHO) and is initiating a request for support to the UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) and to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), pending the receipt of the situation analysis and needs analysis. Other international organizations and embassies are also awaiting formal request letters in order to be able to initiate internally the provision of emergency support. NGOs have sent out relevant information to their international contacts who are also ready to provide support if requested.

10. Coordination

The Government has established a Crisis Team composed of the Ministers of: Regional Development (Team Leader), Defense, Justice and Police, Health, Finance. The Crisis Team takes policy decisions and is the link with the President, Vice-President and the rest of the Government.

Overall operational coordination of the crisis response is with the Nationaal Coordinatie Centrum voor Rampenbeheersing (NCCR, National Coordination Center for Disaster Control). A Crisis Center has been set up at the office of the NCCR. The NCCR is in continuous coordination with the National Army and the Police Corps Suriname and has integrated NGO Interior Network representatives in its crisis center. There are coordination meetings twice a day (morning and afternoon) between the NCCR and the Crisis Team.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently sending out requests for support to the international community represented in Suriname.

The UNDMT has initiated daily coordination meetings on 8 May 2006 among the major potential donors and development partners, namely the European Union, the Dutch Embassy in Suriname, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the French Embassy, the Organization of American States (OAS) and UN agencies. One representative of the UNDMT has been integrated in the Crisis Center headed by the NCCR.

11. Constraints

Delay in formal requests for relief support to international organizations

Skilled personnel in the Crisis Center.


12. Government requests

The President of the Republic of Suriname has sent a formal letter to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) requesting UN assistance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently sending out requests for support to the international community represented in Suriname.

13. Priority needs

Immediate funds in particular for:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Emergency housing
  • Transport
  • Telecommunication facilities

Skilled personnel in the coordination center and for maintaining order and security in the affected areas

Skilled and knowledgeable expertise for early recovery and rehabilitation planning (including corresponding assessments) and coordination

Expertise with crisis situation

Measurement equipment, satellite imaging and (hydrological) models

A fuller needs assessment is in preparation.

14. Assistance/items that are not needed

- Unknown food items

- Odd or old clothing

- Disaster tourists


15. Cash contributions

Cash contributions can be given to:

  • NCCR:
  • Suriname Red Cross:
  • UNDP:

16. In-kind contributions

  • Food and water:
  • Clothing:
  • Foreign donations:
  • Volunteers:
  • Storage facilities:


Immediate pledge of USD 50,000 received from UNDP; not yet delivered pending internal UNDP formalities scheduled to be available this week

Unspecified pledge received from the Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation, subject to confirmation of details

50,000 euro pledge from Dutch NGO, pending request and situation analysis


17. Field office contact

National Coordination Center for Disaster Control
Lt. Col. Jerry S. Slijngard, Coordinator
Kwattaweg 29
Paramaribo, Suriname
Tel. +597 520840, 426416, 426522, 880 0168
Fax +597

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Sub-Office Suriname/CO Trinidad and Tobago
Osian Jones, Programme Director / Max Ooft, Assistant Resident Representative
Heerenstraat 17, Paramaribo
Tel. +597 420030, 421417
Fax +597 425136
E-mail: /

18. Expected date of next report

Friday 12 May 2006


(1) NCCR legally established May 2003