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Swaziland: Storm DREF No. MDRSZ001 Update No. 1

Publication date

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: 11 to 16 August 2006.

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

- CHF 74,251 (USD 60,219 or EUR 47,203) was allocated from the Federations DREF on 10 August 2006 - - to respond to the needs of this operation, or to replenish disaster preparedness stocks distributed to the affected population.

- This operation is expected to be implemented for 3 months, and will be completed by 8 November 2006; a DREF Bulletin Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation.

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

Strong winds hit many parts of Swaziland from 1 to 3 August 2006, causing extensive damage to buildings and other infrastructures (schools, hospitals, clinics, telecommunication lines, power lines and roads). Three persons were reportedly killed and, according to the national newspaper, over 13,000 people have temporarily been rendered homeless.

Many households were reported to be flocking the Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society (BSRCS) offices seeking assistance. According to the national newspaper, the figures might go up as people are still reporting their cases to different Red Cross offices around the country. The government has provided SZL 10,000,000 (CHF1, 697,000) to respond to the needs of those affected by the storm.

Latest information from the BSRCS indicates that on 15 August, strong winds and rains were again experienced in Lubombo and Manzini regions. Though the storm lasted for about 15 minutes, its effects were devastating; again, roofs wereb lown off. Since heavy rains accompanied the storm, people could not sleep and they watched helplessly as their household belongings (clothes, food and other go ods) soaked in water. Mafutseni was the only area affected in Manzini Region while Maphungwane, Ngcina, Langa and Tikhuba were reportedly affected in the Lubombo Region. Additionally, Bhudla Primary School has been closed after the roofs of six of its classrooms were blown off. More people are flocking the Red Cross offices to report the havoc caused by the storm in their areas.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

m I mediately after the initial storm subdued, the BSRCS mobilized and sent rapid assessment teams to ascertain the extent of the damage caused by the storm. In addition, a building surveyor was commissioned to assess the damage caused by the winds at the Sigombeni Red Cross Clinic staff houses. The damages have since been repaired by a building constru ctor through an insurance claim; the damage costs were valued at SZL 28,000 ( CHF 4,752).

During a coordination meeting, BSRCS was tasked to assist the most vulnerable with temporary shelter. The Federation regional delegation in Harare dispatched 100 tents and 400 tarpaulins on Friday, 11 August 2006. The consignment, however, experienced clearance technicalities at the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa and could not be released due to the closure of government offices du ring the weekend. On Wednesday, 16 August, the truck carrying the consignment was able to cross the border and wase xpected to arrive at the Red Cross warehouse in Mbabane, Swaziland on 17 August.

A cooperation agreement has been signed between the BSRCS a nd the Swiss Red Cross concerning the tasks and responsibilities of each partner during the humanitarian relief operation. The Swiss Red Cross has provided CHF 45,000 for the procurement of 500 tarpaulins; the tarpaulins have been ordered from South Africa and are not expected to reach Swaziland before 17 August 2006.

Field coordinators from four divisions, together with the acting disaster management (DM) officer of the BSRCS, met on 15 August to organize the coordination of the distribution of relief items as well as to consolidate beneficiary numbers. As of 16 August 2006, the national society sent another team to conduct an assessment so as to establish the extent of damage caused as well as the immediate needs of those affected by a storm that hit Lub ombo and Manzini regionson 15 August. The Red Cross branch of Siteki Division, in conjunction with Manzini branch, also deployed 20 emergency response team members to conduct an assessment in the affected areas. At Mafutseni and Langa, the team has managed to conduct a house-to-house assessment whereas in the other areas,i t only managed a primary survey.

Results of the assessment indicated that the situation is very bad as most of the affected households had their blankets and food soaked in water thus requiredi mmediate intervention. It became apparent that a night distribution exercise had to be carried out. BSRCS only managed to provide blankets and clothes for distribution since, at the time of compiling this report, the relief materials sent by the regional delegation in Harare had still not arrived.

Assistance required includes tents, tarpaulins and food (maize, oil and beans). The quantity of the required commodities will be finalized in due course as the assessment is still in progress. The following are the results of the two assessed areas.

< 5 yrs
Mafutseni / Bhudla
86 blankets, assorted clothing
and 10 x 50kg bags of maize
86 blankets, assorted
clothing and 10 bags maize


The government, through the office of the National Disaster Management Unit, provided 10 x 50 ba gs of maize and has promised to provide more. The maize providedw as the only commodity in stoc k at the time.

The World Food Programme (WFP) also provided two bales of blankets -ea ch containing 30 blankets -as well as two bales of clothes that were distributed during the night.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Swaziland: Sibongile Hlope, Secretary General, Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society, Mbabane; Email:; Phone: +268.404.25.32; Fax: +268.404.61.08

In Zimbabwe: Françoise Le Goff, Head of Southern Africa Regional Delegation, Harare; Email:; Phone: +, +; Fax: +

In Geneva: John Roche, Federation Regional Officer for Southern Africa, Africa Dept., Geneva; Email: john.roche@if; Phone: +41.22.730.44.40, Fax: +41.22.733.03.95

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 Reliefan d 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 profile s, please also access the Federation's website at