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Central Africa: Floods and landslides DREF Operation No. MDR62002 Final Report

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The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

Summary: CHF 169,213 was allocated from the Federation's DREF on 21 December 2006 to respond to the needs of the populations affected by the floods and landslides in Central Africa.

In November 2006, forecasts anticipated heavy rains that would cause flooding in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe and the Central African Republic (CAR). The Federation's Central Africa Sub Regional Office (CASRO) thus saw the need to take measures to prevent and/or alleviate the effects of floods at regional level, particularly in Gabon, CAR and Sao Tome & Principe which have experienced recurrent floods in the past.

CASRO and the concerned Red Cross Societies distributed food and non-food items, sensitized populations on hygiene and sanitation practices to prevent cholera, conducted advocacy campaigns with other organizations and they also rehabilitated and maintained water sources, wells as well as private and public toilets. Red Cross volunteers were also trained in the promotion of basic hygiene and sanitation practices.

The situation

Gabon

After the 2006 torrential rains, the country experienced a short dry season with no major consequences to be pointed out. Nevertheless, mindful of the serious damages across the country during the 2006 rains, and considering the limited capacity of the Gabonese Red Cross Society which had been facing some institutional challenges, the Federation's Central Africa Sub Regional Office (CASRO) thought it wise to start preparing this National Society to respond to potential floods.

Central African Republic (CAR)

Since 2004, the CAR has been experiencing recurrent floods that have affected thousands of people and caused significant material damages. Over the past two years, approximately 3,000 families have been affected and 2,000 houses have been destroyed in Bangui and the surrounding localities.

Sao Tome & Principe

Although Sao Tome & Principe has not experienced a major disaster in recent years, the country is highly exposed to risks of disaster. The 2006 rains did not cause serious damages, but meteorologists warned that it might happen at any time. There was therefore an urgent need to build the operational capacities of the Sao Tome & Principe Red Cross (STPRC) National Society in order to enable it to respond efficiently to potential disaster situations. Furthermore, STPRC is the only existing organization that can respond to disasters in the country.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Still in November 2006, a two-week torrential rain occurred in the two North-eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), namely Orientale and Equateur, causing a serious rise in the water level of the Congo River and its tributary streams. Many people drowned as a result. Farms were destroyed in areas that rely predominantly on agriculture as well as infrastructure, which made 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 epidemics, notably water borne diseases, and the degradation of hygiene and sanitation conditions, the displacement of populations and the explosion in the prices of food items following the reduction of traffic and the destruction of crops. Approximately 8,131 houses were destroyed in the Orientale province and 911 in Bumba (Equateur province). Considering such level of vulnerability, CASRO decided to prevent floods and alleviate the sufferings of populations in the concerned countries.

How we work

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.

The International Federation's activities are aligned with its 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.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In DRC Red Cross: Dominique Lutula, President DRC Red Cross ,Tel: +243 818 80 14 80, Email : dlutula@hotmail.com

In Kinshasa: Abdoul Azize Diallo, Federation Head of Kinshasa Delegation, Tel : +243 818 80 14 00, Email : abdoulazize.diallo@ifrc.org

In Cameroon: Javier Medrano, Head of Central Africa Sub-zonal 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 Zone, Dakar; Email: alasan.senghore@ifrc.org; Phone +221.560.13.60; Fax +221.860.20.02