Belize: Hurricane Iris appeal No. 33/01 operations update No. 1


This Ops Update is intended for reporting on emergency appeals.
Launched on 12 October 2001 for CHF 655,000 for three months.
Beneficiaries: 4,800
Period covered: 12 October -18 October 2001

"At a Glance"

Appeal coverage: 69.7%

Related Appeals: 01.32/01 Caribbean regional programmes; 01.26/01 Central America regional programmes

Outstanding needs: CHF 198,463

The Disaster/Situation: Hurricane Iris killed more than 20 people and caused extensive damage in Belize on 8 October. The Federation's emergency appeal has had a good early response, although more funding is required, and relief programmes have been assisting thousands of vulnerable people in the wake of the disaster.

The Situation

Hurricane his, a category 4 hurricane, made landfall in southern Belize on 8 October at approximately 20.45 hours local time. The hurricane roared ashore between Independence and Monkey River Town, southwest of Belize City, with wind speeds of up to 225 kph (140 mph), and went southwest along the coast, causing extensive damage. First assessment reports from the Belize Government National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) and the Belize Red Cross Society (BRCS) indicate that 15,000 inhabitants of the coastal areas were made homeless and more than 20 people were killed.

Extensive damage has been caused to public utilities and houses. Towns such as Placencia and Seine Bight have lost 90 percent of their buildings; the majority of small villages in rural Toledo have been badly affected. Given the isolation of the mountainous region inhabited largely by subsistence farmers of predominantly Mayan origin, communications will be an issue when delivering aid. In the village of San Marcos, only three houses remain out of 100. In San Antonio, 20 houses were destroyed. Between the villages of San Marcos, Big Falls and San Antonio, 400 people are homeless. In the village of Big Creek, most of the houses are upright but the roofs are gone. In Monkey River over 90 percent of the houses were destroyed. All the crops in the affected area - rice, cacao, coffee, banana, corn and papaya - have also been destroyed, and so have most food stocks.

In Guatemala, heavy rains during the night of 8 October particularly affected the northern departments of Izabal and specially Peten, where 400 families have lost their houses in the communities of San Luis and Sayaxche.

Civil defence authorities in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras implemented states of alert in anticipation of heavy rains from Iris, and thousands of people left low-lying areas for higher ground.

Red Cross/Red Crescent Action

The BRCS has been responding to the emergency since the morning of 9 October, when the first Federation delegates also arrived in the country. The BRCS is distributing used clothing, food, water and other goods, from its in-country stocks, in Toledo and Stann Creek districts. Liaison is being maintained with the government coordinating body, NEMO, as well as international organisations such as OXFAM, MSF, WFP and OFDA.

A distribution centre in Punta Gorda, the Toledo district headquarters, has been set up by the BRCS and the Federation. More than 50 volunteers are working, and a warehouse has been rented for three months. Surveys for selection of beneficiaries in approximately 15 communities in Toledo District have been completed and two rounds of distributions of non-food relief items have taken place, to a total of 500 families. As reflected in the Appeal, launched on 12 October, the Federation seeks CHF 655,000 in cash, kind and services to assist 4,800 beneficiaries for three months. Remote communities in Toledo District, the worst affected by Hurricane his, have been chosen, with percentage of material damage, accessibility, and local Red Cross capacity being taken into account in the selection process.

Two Federation delegates have been temporarily posted in Belize: a relief coordinator, based in Belize City, at the BRCS headquarters, and a disaster response delegate, based in Punta Gorda, in the Toledo District, at the BRCS branch. Both are working closely with the BRCS and coordinating the relief operation with other international agencies. The Federation is seeking a Team Leader/Project Coordinator for four months, to be based in Belize City, supported by local staff who, will replace Federation delegates.

Funding has already been pledged by ECHO (CHF295,700), DFID/British Red Cross (CHF170,000), CIDA/Canadian Red Cross (CHF102,400), Icelandic Red Cross (CHF3,300) and German Red Cross in kind (CHF58,000).

Two generators, 18,000 bags of water (50 ml), 504 jerry cans, 400 sanitary kits, 2,000 blankets and 1,000 rolls of plastic sheeting from Federation programmes in the region and from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are in Punta Gorda and are being distributed. Procurements of food items has started in Belize City. One thousand kitchen sets and 1,300 water containers, funded by German Red Cross, are on their way from Panama to Belize City, consigned to the BRCS.

To date the American Red Cross has transported 500 hygiene kits, 2,000 water jugs and 2,000 blankets to Punta Gorda for the BRCS to distribute. It has also provided USD25,000 to assist the distribution. The BRCS has also received a cash donation of USD25,000 from the US embassy in Belize City and 40 rolls of plastic sheeting direct from OFDA.

Needs

Based on the survey, the immediate priorities are the provision of food and non-food items, especially hygiene sets and sanitary sets, to assist those most affected by Hurricane Iris. A Team Leader, with extensive field experience to lead the anticipated relief action, is urgently required. Further information regarding the hurricane and Federation assistance will be provided as soon as it is available.

For a full description of the National Society profile, see www.ifrc.org

For further details please contact

  • Ian Logan, Disaster Management and Coordination, Phone 41 22 730 49 84; Fax 41 22 733 0395; emaillogan@ifrc.org
  • John Humphreys, Head of Regional Delegation, Santo Domingo, Phone 1809 567 33 44; Fax I 809 567 33 44; mobile phone 1809 696 8820; email ifrcdr08@ ifrc.org
  • Leon Prop, Head of Regional Delegation, Guatemala, Phone 502 333 54 25; mobile phone 502 204 18 14; email ifrcgu02 @ ifrc.org

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.

Peter Rees-Gildea
Head, a.i.
Relationship Management Department

Santiago Gil
Head
Americas Department

Annex 1

Belize - Hurricane Iris
APPEAL No. 33/2001



PLEDGES RECEIVED

18.10.2001
DONOR
CATEGORY
QUANTITY
UNIT
VALUE CHF
DATE
COMMENT

CASH

REQUESTED IN APPEAL CHF
655'000

TOTAL COVERAGE 69.7%

CASH CARRIED FORWARD

CANADIAN - GOVT

100' 000
CAD
102'400
16.10.2001

ECHO (01002)

200' 000
EUR
295'700
27.09.2001

ICELANDIC - RC

200' 000
ISK
3'310
12.10.2001


SUB/TOTAL RECEIVED IN CASH
401'410
CHF
61.3%

KIND AND SERVICES (INCLUDING PERSONNEL)

DONOR
CATEGORY
QUANTITY
UNIT
VALUE CHF
DATE
COMMENT

GERMAN GOVT
Kitchen sets
1' 000

43'560
18.10.2001
Direct to Belize RC
GERMAN GOVT
Water containers
1' 300

11'567
18.10.2001
Direct to Belize RC

SUB/TOTAL RECEIVED IN KIND/SERVICES
55'127
CHF
8.4%