The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 185 countries.
This DREF Bulletin is being issued based on the situation described below reflecting the information available at this time. CHF 169,213 (USD 138,699 or EUR 105,265) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 21 December 2006 to respond to the needs in this operation.
This operation is expected to be implemented over 3 months, and will be completed by 20 March 2007.
Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.
This operation is aligned with the International Federation's Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".
Global Agenda Goals:
- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.
- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.
- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.
- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.
Background and current situation
The Central Africa region has been experiencing an unprecedented flood situation. Since 25 November 2006, floods have hit most Central African countries, leaving several people homeless. The situation in specific countries is as described below.
Republic of Congo (RoC)
Brazzaville, the capital city of RoC, is situated at the bank of the River Congo. It experiences recurrent floods, often with an enormous impact, during the rainy season. Since late October 2006, the city has registered torrential rains that have caused flooding. Lives have been lost and houses as well as property have been damaged. In response to this floods situation, the Federation provided funds from DREF to enable the Congolese Red Cross to assist the affected population. For more information, please refer to DREF Bulletin no. MDRCG001.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
DRC is the central African country most affected by the current floods. The country is at the mercy of the Congo River which crosses it from East to West. The flooding of the river presents a serious threat to the riparian populations (1), including 12,000,000 inhabitants of Kinshasa, the capital. The water level of the Congo River has been increasing on a daily basis. This is a threat that needs to be taken seriously because a combination of cholera - which is recurrent in the country - and floods would complicate the situation.
In November and December 2006, floods rendered a significant number of families homeless and exposed them to potential epidemics and diseases. The situation is critical in Itsangi and Basoko territories, some neighbourhoods of Kisangani in Oriental Province and Bumba territory in Mongala District, Équateur Province. In Kisangani, six people are missing, after being washed away by the floods.
Based on the information collected from the River Commissioner, results of inter-agency evaluations and missions, the Tshopo District Commissioner, the Executive board of the Lowa Health Zone as well as an evaluation carried out by the volunteers of the Red Cross local committee, it is estimated that over 8,131 households (56,917 people) have been affected in 41 villages and 5 peripheral neighbourhoods of Kisangani. The same sources revealed that over 911 households (6,377 people) have been affected in 4 neighbourhoods of the Équateur Province. More localities are likely to be affected as the rains continue.
Torrential and violent rains have been falling in Mbuji-Mayi since November 2006. These rains have caused landslides in the Mikela neighbourhood, in Mishonnyi and Tshipuka (Dibindi Council). The landslides affected a total of 12 hectares of land and damaged 196 houses and household property. Approximately 757 households (5,300 people) were affected, including 371 men, 1,113 women and 3,816 children (of whom 2,756 are of schoolgoing age and 1,060 are aged under five years). Most of the affected people are living with foster families.
Crops have also been destroyed and roads have been rendered impassable, thus leading to an increase in food prices. Houses, latrines and graveyards have been destroyed, thereby increasing the risk of epidemic outbreaks, especially the risk of waterborne diseases. This situation has also caused a significant number of people to be displaced and exposed them to health, hygiene and sanitation threats. The situation is critical and there is an urgent need to provide assistance to communities living at high risk areas as well as to the floods-affected population. Such assistance would consist of food, non-food items (NFIs), chemicals and sanitation materials as well as shelter.
Gabon experienced some floods with minor effects throughout 2006. However, taking into consideration that the Gabonese Red Cross Society is just recovering from a crisis it experienced over the past months, there is an urgent need to provide it with the means to build its disaster preparedness and response capacities.
Sao Tome & Principe (STP)
Although STP is not affected by the floods, forecasts indicate that they may occur at any moment. There is, thus, the need to build the disaster preparedness and response capacities of the Sao Tome & Principe Red Cross.
Central African Republic (CAR)
Some floods affected CAR in 2006, though in uninhabited areas. However, there is the fear that if the heavy rains continue in the region, serious floods may occur in the country. There is therefore the need to prepare the Central African Red Cross Society to intervene as the case may be.
Possible evolution of the situation
Forecasts indicate that heavier rains will soon fall along the Equator in DRC, Gabon, STP and the CAR. It is foreseen that these rains may be accompanied by violent winds and floods which may cause serious damages. Hence, there is an urgent need to take measures to prevent the effects of potential floods.
(1) Living by the banks of a river, a stream, or other body of water.
For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:
In DRC: Mathieu Musepulu, Secretary General, Red Cross of Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone +243.998.225.214
In DRC: André Zamouangana. Acting Head of Delegation, Kinshasa Delegation, Kinshasa; Email: email@example.com; Phone +243.818.801.487, +243.998.011.8804
In Yaoundé: Javier Medrano, Head of Central Africa Sub-Regional Office, Yaoundé; Email: Javier.firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone +237.629.87.89; Fax +188.8.131.52
In Dakar: Alasan Senghore, Head of West and Central Africa Regional Delegation, Dakar; Email: email@example.com; Phone +221.560.13.60; Fax +221.860.20.02
In Geneva: Jaime Duran, Federation Regional Officer for Central Africa, Africa Dept.; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone +41.22.730.49.14; Fax +41.22.733.0395
All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.
For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org