Description of the disaster
On 24 March 2014, Comoros was hit by heavy rains, particularly on the island of Anjouan. On 26 March, 2014 a storm alert as a result of cyclone Hellen in the Mozambique Channel was issued. On 29 March, based on the intensity of the rain and the strong winds, the Comorian civil security increased the alert to yellow and in the following days the rain intensified and spread to the islands of Grande Comoros and Mohéli.
On the island of Anjouan, the most affected areas were between Sima and Pomoni in the western part of the island and the north eastern Domoni region. In the village of Mahale on the eastern coast of Anjouan, a crack in the ground which appeared a few weeks earlier as the result of an earthquake grew wider and deeper due to landslides related to the strength of the rains. The villagers from Mahale were relocated 8 kilometres north to the village of Bambao.The displaced population were housed in a primary school and empty buildings on the premises of the national agriculture department. By 3 April 2014, 350 families representing 1,995 people had been displaced from Mahale.
In addition to the exceptional rainfall, storm surges rose above usual limits and flooded homes lying close to the beaches. The flow of rainwater also contributed to damaging homes. A total 18 villages on Anjouan were affected by the subsequent floods. Initial assessments by the government and the Comoros Red Crescent (CRCo) indicated that up to 1,234 households (a total of 6,788 people) were directly affected, including 1,009 children under 5 years, 144 pregnant women and 318 elderly persons. On Mohéli island up to 24 villages were affected by the rains and the winds and 457 households (2,723 people) suffered damage to or destruction of their homes and crops.
At the time of the closure of the camp in Mahale, 52 families had not been able to return to their houses; and continued to be hosted at the homes of host families. The situation raised concerns of overcrowding in the dwellings and caused tensions between the displaced people and the host families. The host families are bearing the load without receiving any aid. A program of housing reconstruction using wood and metal is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Currently the authorities are in the process of acquiring land to allow for the construction of these dwellings. CRCo continues to avail volunteers to assist the remaining displaced populations in returning home. A preliminary final report was issued on 9 February 2015 with an interim finance report.
Finance Summary: A balance of CHF 16,012 at the close of the operation will be returned to DREF. The distribution and monitoring budget line has an overspend due to costs budgeted under the logistics services budget line being booked there. In turn, the logistics services budget line posted a positive balance. An unbudgeted amount of CHF 1,762 was spent on computers and telecoms.
DG ECHO contributed to a partial replenishment of the DREF allocation made for this operation. The major donors and partners of DREF include the Australian, American and Belgian governments, the Austrian Red Cross, the Canadian Red Cross and government, Danish Red Cross and government, DG ECHO, the Irish and the Italian governments, the Japanese Red Cross Society, the Luxembourg government, the Monaco Red Cross and government, the Netherlands Red Cross and government, the Norwegian Red Cross and government, the Spanish Government, the Swedish Red Cross and government, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the Medtronic and Z Zurich Foundations, and other corporate and private donors.
IFRC, on behalf of Comoros Red Crescent Society, would like to extend thanks to all partners for their generous contributions.