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Central Africa: Floods and landslides DREF Bulletin No. MDR62002 Update No. 1

Pays
RD Congo
Sources
IFRC
Date de publication

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.

In Brief

Period covered by this update: 21 December 2006 to 23 February 2007.

History of this Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)-funded operation:

CHF 169,213 was allocated from the Federation's DREF on 21 December 2006 to respond to the needs of this operation. Please refer to: http://www.ifrc.org/docs/appeals/06/MDR62002.pdf

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

In November 2006, the north-eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Orientale and Équateur), experienced two-week torrential rains that caused a significant rise in the water level of the Congo River and its tributaries. In Kisangani and the surrounding localities, 6 people drowned and 22 were rescued from raging waters. Several farms were submerged in areas that rely on agriculture while roads were destroyed, rendering some localities inaccessible. The rise in the water level also caused the submersion and destruction of houses, latrines and cemeteries, thereby increasing the risk of waterborne diseases epidemics, displacement of populations and a drastic increase in the prices of food items - following the destruction of crops. Approximately 8,131 houses were destroyed in Orientale Province and 911 in Bumba (Équateur Province).

The Kisangani provincial committee of the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RCDRC) - through its local committees - distributed 39,805 metric tonnes (MT) of food items provided by the World Food Programme (WFP). Beneficiaries included 5,372 persons from 1,004 households in the 9 villages that make up the Isangi territory. Currently, 10,200 MT of food has been positioned at the Red Cross warehouse to support sanitation activities in Zinia, which is one of the most affected localities of Kisangani.

Due to financial constraints, only five sites have been included in the Red Cross operation; Bumba in Équateur Province (with its four neighbourhoods), Zinia neighbourhood in Kisangani, and Yalitombo and Yekela and Yafunga in Isangi territory (Orientale Province). Red Cross and community-based volunteers in the five sites have been trained and damaged water and sanitation (WatSan) facilities have been identified for rehabilitation. Hygiene sanitation campaigns and rehabilitation activities are underway in all five localities.

Working in collaboration with local authorities and the communities, volunteers conducted an evaluation of the situation in the five identified sites. The findings revealed that 9,042 houses had collapsed and a similar number of latrines had been destroyed alongside 49 water wells and 10 streams. In addition, the trunk sewer of Zinia that facilitates the draining of waste water into the Congo River has clogged completely. The floodwaters are currently drying away from the flooded zones, with the onset of dry season.

Regional overview

Gabon: After the torrential rains of 2006, the country is now experiencing a dry season with no major consequences. Mindful of the serious damage that was caused by the rains in the country, the Gabonese Red Cross Society, with support from the Federation's Central Africa sub-regional office (CASRO), has started preparing to respond to future potential floods.

Central African Republic (CAR): Since 2004, the Central African Republic (CAR) has been experiencing recurrent floods that have caused serious material damages. Over the past two years, 3,000 families have been affected and 2,000 houses have been destroyed in Bangui and surrounding localities.

Sao Tome & Principe: Although Sao Tome & Principe has not yet experienced a serious disaster, the country is highly exposed to risks of all sorts of disasters. Last year's rains did not cause serious damages, but meteorologists have warned that it could happen at any time. There is therefore a need to build the disaster preparedness and response capacities of the Sao Tome & Principe Red Cross to enable it to respond efficiently at any time. Moreover, the national society is the only existing organization that can respond to disasters in the country.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Cameroon: Javier Medrano, Head of Central Africa Sub-Regional Office, Yaoundé; Email: Javier.medrano@ifrc.org; Phone +237.629.87.89; Fax +237.221.74.39

In Dakar: Alasan Senghore, Head of West and Central Africa Regional Delegation, Dakar; Email: alasan.senghore@ifrc.org; Phone +221.560.13.60; Fax +221.860.20.02

In Geneva: Jaime Duran, Federation Regional Officer for Central Africa, Africa Dept.; Email: jaime.duran@ifrc.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