Honduras and Central America: Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 6

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 03 Nov 2008
This situation report is based on information received from, the UN Emergency Technical Team (UNETT) in the affected countries, the Regional Office in Panama, the UNDAC Team in Honduras and the National Hurricane Centre.

HIGHLIGHTS

- On 3 November, the Vice President of Guatemala has requested international assistance to respond to the floods that have affected more than 100,000 people in 27 municipalities.

- A Flash Appeal for Honduras was issued requesting around USD 17 million to assist the victims of the floods and landslides. A cold front is bringing further rains to the country.

SITUATION

1. Tropical Depression No. 16 made landfall in northern Honduras on 16 October and has been slowly crossing over Central America causing heavy rains from northern Costa Rica to south-eastern Mexico. The system affected the countries of Costa Rica, Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala with heavy rains which led to flooding and mudslides. A new cold front is moving over the region and is likely to bring moderate rains. The tow most affected countries at the moment are Honduras and Guatemala.

HONDURAS

2. Due to a series of meteorological events (Tropical Depression 16, low depression and swell), the Government of Honduras declared a state of emergency on 19 October. These events caused rains of diverse intensity in the whole country but mainly in the southern and western area. A great number of landslides were. The Government has formally requested humanitarian assistance on 20 October. A Red Alert remains in the Counties of Corquín and Cucuyagua in the Department of Copán, Belén Gualcho in Ocotepeque Department. A Yelow Alert remains in place in the Central District of Francisco Morazán and will be extended to the departments of Cortes, Atlántida, North of Yoro and Colón. A Green Alert is in place for the departments of Bay Islands, Gracias a Dios and North of Comayagua and Olancho.

3. The COPECO is coordinating relief activities and continues its distribution of humanitarian aid to all those affected due to the heavy rains. COPECO has closed the damages assessment for the Tropical Depression 16 and has released the final figures on the impact of the floods as follows:

Affected people
279,972
Evacuated people
42,304
Directly affected people
68,716
People in shelters
42,749
Affected houses
12,429
Death people
34
Desaparead people
16
Roads affected
256 ( 50% of total, affected for flooding and
landslides)
Agriculture damaged
101,107 ha
Departments Affected
17 out of 18
Counties affected
114 (40%) out of 298
Population without power energy
150,000 ( in the Department of Olancho )

4. Health, shelter and food are a priority. Public health is an area of concerns even though no outbreaks have been reported. The main health concerns are gastrointestinal diseases and acute respiratory infections. Primary needs include portable latrines, water purification and household hygiene kits. Monitoring and control of vector and waterborne diseases is essential. There are currently no severe food security issues, but the next production will be affected. As a result of the meeting held by the Government, a housing, road and agricultural rehabilitation plans have been developed. Moreover, the Government has decided to sell its strategic reserve of basic grains (maize and beans). The objective of the transaction is to obtain funds to purchase basic grains, therefore stimulating the agriculture market. Damage in the transport infrastructure is impacting negatively on the commercialization of the coffee production.

5. Sectoral working groups were activated on 18 October, using the cluster terms of reference. Consultations are on-going with partners, including the NGOs and partners on whether global support will be needed from the clusters. Various Sectroral working groups are working using the cluster approach principles: Health (Lead: PAHO/WHO); Water & Sanitation (lead: UNICEF); Education (Lead: UNICEF); Food Security & Nutrition (Lead: FAO), Shelters and NFIs (lead: IOM); Early Recovery (Lead: UNDP); Logistics & Communications (Lead: WFP).

6. The Flash Appeal is requesting USD 17 million to urgently assist those affected in food, health, shelter, water and sanitation, education and early recovery for the next six months. The CERF grant requested has been approved for a total of USD 1,501,344.

7. UNICEF assistance for this emergency totals USD 716,000. WFP delivered more than 370 MT of food aid to assist nearly 16,000 of the most vulnerable families living in shelters in isolated areas. During the first two days of the emergency WFP distributed 44 MT of food aid. In coordination with the National Authorities, WFP is providing food to affected population with a 50 MT of food aid already prepositioned. So far 3,482 families have received a 10 days ration of food assistance. Airborne operations are being carried out in coordination with COPECO to assist 38,000 people living in isolated areas due to flooding. The food aid sector held a coordination meeting in order to improve the relief and recovery operation. As a result, WFP provided food aid to CARE and CCFH (respectively 15 MT and 4 MT) to assist the affected population.

8. WHO is reprogramming regular funds in order to mobilize medical teams and to purchase emergency and general medicines. PAHO/WHO has also mobilized regional experts in water and sanitation, disaster management and the SUMA deployment. UNFPA is adding to its already approved UD 50,000 funds, another USD 60,000 out of its regular funds to be used for emergency activities with the Honduran Health Department in the Reproductive Health project. This includes medicine, temporary personnel and logistics in the affected areas.

9. The UNDAC team has departed except for one member who is assisting the Resident Coordinator in coordination issues. IOM has dispatched an expert in shelter; BCPR, FAO, WFP, UNICEF and UNDP are also sending technical personnel, while UNDP has provided USD 150,000 in cash contribution.

10. The international community has offered assistance to Honduras. Please find attached below a table detailing a list of contribution. USAID/OFDA provided USD 50,000 to COPECO and CARE through USAID/Honduras for the procurement of emergency relief supplies. COPECO also utilized USD 25,000 of previously stockpiled relief supplies, provided by USAID/OFDA and USAID/Honduras, to respond to immediate needs. In addition, a disaster specialist was deployed to Honduras to further assess the effects of the floods. Spain, through PAHO, has released USD 30,000 for immediate disaster relief and through AECI has allocated EURO 100,000 for the purchase of relief items in cooperation with COPECO. Argentina has offered technical support; ECHO is assessing the damage, while France will contribute through ECHO. The IDB is making available USD 200,000 for humanitarian assistance. Other donors, such as El Salvador, Mexico, Sweden, Canada, ADRAS, World Bank, Germany, OAS, JICA and Taiwan are considering assistance, pending feedback on damage assessments.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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