Republic of Congo: Floods and landslides DREF operation no. MDRCG003
The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the International Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and 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.
CHF 67,600 (USD 59,641 or EUR 40,863) has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Congolese Red Cross (CRC) in delivering immediate assistance to some 1,000 families (5,000 beneficiaries). Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.
Summary: Responding to a request from the CRC, the International Federation is providing this DREF support in order to carry out water and sanitation (watsan), water purification, information dissemination, and beneficiary identification activities.
This operation is expected to be implemented over 3 months, and will therefore be completed by February, 2007; a Final Report will be made available by end-May 2007 (three months after the end of the operation)
Red Cross and Red Crescent action
Since the beginning of the flooding, Congolese Red Cross volunteers have been evaluating the effects of the disaster and registering the number of affected families. Armed with first-aid intervention kits, they have been helping the population to remove the refuse caused by the rains. In addition, Red Cross volunteers are sensitising the populations in the various neighbourhoods affected by the floods to the need of adopting measures to avoid being contaminated by polluted water from overflowing latrines.
The volunteers and community-based relays that were trained in 2006 have already organised themselves and are currently carrying out water and sanitation (watsan) and water purification activities with the assistance of communities. However, they need refresher training in order to be more efficient in the field.
In line with the updated contingency plan, the National Society intends to work in close collaboration with the Government within the framework of a giant sanitation, sensitization and environment protection campaign to ensure sustainable solution to cyclic flooding, which are often followed by cholera outbreaks.
In addition, the Congolese Red Cross and the Federation continue to advocate for increased support from partners and the Government in favour of affected families. The National Society has been working in close collaboration with the Directorate General for Humanitarian Actions and the UNDP's Office in Brazzaville.
Since 26 October 2007, heavy rains started falling in the Tsiémé, Mikalou, Nkombo, Moungali, Yoro, Ngamakosso, Poto-poto, Massengo, Ma Mboualé, Mfilou and Talangaï neighbourhoods of Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo. The rains caused a rise of the water level in the nearby Congo River to the maximum height, flooding many houses. The waters covered the railway passing across Brazzaville preventing trains from moving. Out of a total of some 3,000 affected families, 700 have been left homeless while hundreds of houses have been weakened by the waters and are on the verge of collapsing. There has been no loss of life reported. The affected families have been evacuated to safer places. In addition to flooding, erosion, landslides and silting of sand have also been registered. The damage caused by the disaster is considerable, and the population is increasingly vulnerable given that the rainy season is just at its beginning. Presently, the rains are persistent, flooding continues in the affected neighbourhoods and the risks of epidemics outbreaks, diseases, erosion and landslide threats remain a concern.
The same situation also prevails in Pointe Noire, the economic capital of the Republic of Congo where a total of some 1,000 families have been affected, of which 300 have been left homeless. According to the Kouilou local committee of the Congolese Red Cross at Pointe Noire, some densely populated and poorly maintained neighbourhoods are also facing serious flooding. The populations are exposed to serious water and sanitation problems as the water has flooded existing latrines. Some corpses at the cemetery have been exhumed, presenting a danger to the community in that location. Various assessments have been going on since the starting of the floods to ascertain the need for additional support (hence this DREF allocation).
An estimated 700 families in Brazzaville and 300 in Pointe-Noire have been made homeless by the floods, and require immediate assistance. With the support of the Government, the Congolese Red Cross is currently considering a sanitation strategy for the neighbourhoods concerned to ensure sustainable risk reduction.
Considering the situation in the field, the immediate needs include sanitation, hygiene and sensitisation materials. Non food items such as blankets, mosquito nets, soap, tarpaulins, cloths and cooking kits are also urgently needed to assist affected families. Red Cross volunteers will need intervention materials such as gloves, boots, masks and coveralls for their own security. The DREF will support the national society efforts to provide for volunteers and coordinate intervention activities.
For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:
In Republic of Congo: Christian Ndinga, President, Congolese Red Cross, Brazzaville; Tel:+242.662 03 11
In Cameroon: Javier Medrano, Federation Head of Central Africa Representation, Yaoundé, Email:javier.medrano@.ifrc.org; Phone +237.22. 21.74.37 or +237.22. 21.74.38; Fax +22.214.171.124.39
In Senegal: Alasan Senghore, Federation Head of West and Central Africa Regional Zone, Dakar; Email: email@example.com; Phone: +221.33. 869.36.41; Fax +221. 33. 860.20.02
In Geneva: Niels Scott, Operations Coordinator for West and Central Africa; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: +41 22 730 4527