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Tunisia: Flash Floods - Emergency Plan of Action DREF n° MDRTN008 Update n° 2

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Operational Updates:

Following to the DREF approval, the Tunisian Red Crescent requested support from the IFRC regional office in terms of procurement and implementation of activities. The procurement of relief items was challenging in terms of the capacity of the existing market and compliance with the IFRC procurement procedures. This took time and effort, resulting in delays to the delivery timeframe. To date, all items have been procured and are in stock. Distributions from three main warehouses started out mid-January to storage places of the local branches, followed by delivery to beneficiaries which is still in process. An additional no cost extension for one month is required, allowing TRCS to finalize all distributions to the affected people. Lessons learned workshop has been postponed to mid-February, and is an important opportunity to celebrate success, discuss challenges reflect on how to improve capacity and performance for future operations.
Following the first revision of the emergency plan of action (EPoA), some activities have been removed and new activities introduced based on the changing needs. The changes that were applied to the EPoA are:

Mobile Clinic: After monitoring the Mobile Clinic intervention in Soliman District, it was found that this is not relevant at this stage. Pre-existing cases has been identified and followed up on. As a result, the Mobile Clinic interventions have been suspended. TRCS CBHFA team kept monitoring the situation throughout the operation timeframe while conducting health awareness sessions on the various potential health risks.

After the latest needs assessment that included community engagement, the major health risk identified was waterborne diseases. The hundreds of acres of stagnant water ponds that has been flooded formed a convenient habitat for vector reproduction leading to a huge increase in mosquito numbers. Ministry of Health issued an official report warning people on vector risks especially after identifying three cases being affected with the West-Nile Virus.

Based on that, TRCS planned for different types of interventions:

  1. 30 developed volunteers deployed to the affected communities raising awareness messages to households on how to reduce the health risks of vectors through simple practices that could be applied on house premises and surroundings.

  2. 30 volunteers were trained on vector control to be equipped with sprayers and protective gear to spray pesticides around houses of the affected communities where stagnant waters surrounded. This required the approval of local authorities in addition to providing list of certified local pesticides. This process also encountered further delays until nature intervened through the decrease of weather temperatures reducing the presence of vectors and consequently relevant health risks. Therefore, this activity has been cancelled.

  3. Utilize local media to broadcast live interview with TRCS to promote appropriate awareness messages. A talk show with TRCS Head of Health on National TV was broadcasted all over the country elaborating on the intervention of TRCS in supporting the affected families through the DREF and sending awareness messages on precautions in avoiding flood related health risks.
    Families staying in temporary shelters have gone back to their homes. Protection Gender and Inclusion (PGI) was carried throughout their displacement by TRCS volunteers in these shelters and will continue to carry out PGI monitoring in distributions.

A training has been conducted for 30 volunteers on “Relief Distributions & Warehousing” after they have encountered some challenges in distributions including security incidents. This training will also enhance TRCS capacity in warehousing as TRCS branches are locating storage spaces to stock procured items before distributions.

The operation is extended for another one month and is now due to finish by 28 February 2019.