Federated States of Micronesia: Typhoon Chataan Information Bulletin No. 02/2002

DREF Allocated: CHF 30,000
This Information Bulletin is being issued based on the needs described below. CHF 30,000 (USD 20,259/EUR 20,438) has been released from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), and the Federation does not anticipate further needs. The New Zealand Red Cross and the Australian Red Cross have pledged funds to cover the reimbursement of DREF. Donors are still encouraged to consider providing funding to fill the remaining gap of CHF 7,000.

The Situation

The powerful Typhoon Chata'an subsided leaving the islands of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) scarred from flooding and landslides brought on by the typhoon.

According to the latest information from the Chuuk Chapter of the Micronesia Red Cross Society (MRCS), as of Wednesday 10 July, 48 people are reported dead, 73 people are injured, 300 families (1,300 people) are homeless, and 130 houses are completely destroyed. Most of the displaced population are from the islands of Weno, Tonoas, Fefen, Uman, Siis, Udot, Fanapanges and Tol. Clear weather permitted the FSM Government's naval ship to visit outer islands to conduct an assessment and distribute relief goods on Wednesday.

Red Cross/Red Crescent Action

Micronesia Red Cross Society (MRCS)

Non-food relief items transported from the MRCS National Headquarters' DP Container were swiftly distributed to 31 households through 5 July.

Local FSM communities were highly responsive and provided generous support to MRCS relief efforts. A local women's group in the State of Pohnpei donated 1,000 pounds of used clothing through MRCS. Donations of food and clothing have also come from other women's groups and businesses in Pohnpei. There were donations of 30 cases (600 pounds) of frozen mackerel from the Micronesian Fishing Venture, and 650 household candles from the Korean community in Pohnpei.

MRCS also received support from the international community. The Australian Government through AusAID, and the Australian Ambassador in Pohnpei pledged USD 10,000 to replenish the contents of the MRCS DP container which were used in Chuuk. The Japanese Embassy in Pohnpei has pledged USD 10,000 for MRCS to purchase medicine and medical supplies. The Saipan Chapter of the American Red Cross (AmCross) has offered their assistance, and is currently holding discussions with MRCS regarding the details.

The MRCS Chuuk Chapter Chairman and Field Officer are working with a government assessment team, and attended several coordination meetings. The Vice Chairman of the MRCS Board of Directors and Chairman of the MRCS Committee of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response, who is a vital statistician at the National Department of Health, Education and Social Affairs, also arrived in Chuuk on 11 July to assist the Chapter.

MRCS's Chuuk chapter, was recently established. The chapter development programme was supported by the Japanese Red Cross during 2001-2002. However, the chapter still requires basic equipment for communication, computers, etc. to respond to disasters more efficiently.

Anticipated needs and MRCS plan of action

Objective 1: Assistance to the identified 300 homeless families (1,300 people) as immediate relief.

MRCS will provide 100 homeless families with family kits, individual kits, and village kits. Non-food relief items remaining in the DP Container in Pohnpei will be immediately transported to Chuuk for distribution. MRCS is now discussing the possibility of an in-kind donation of AmCross's personal hygiene kit, clean up kits, purified/bottled water, and cooking sets with the Saipan Chapter of AmCross. MRCS will be able to use these items to support an additional 100 homeless families with these kits, while the FSM Government/OCHA may support the remaining 100 families.

Objective 2: Strengthen transportation capacity of MRCS.

The capacity of land and sea transportation will be strengthened by renting land vehicles and boats.

Objective 3: Coordination of relief activities.

The joint assessment conducted by the MRCS, FSM Government, and OCHA will be continued to grasp the overall picture of this disaster, focussing on the need to relocate people to safer places and rehabilitate water systems.

Participating National Societies

The New Zealand Red Cross and the Australian Red Cross have pledged NZD 20,000 and AusD 10,000 respectively for reimbursement of DREF. Donors are still encouraged to consider funding to fill the remaining gap of CHF 7,000 for the reimbursement of DREF.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

A health delegate was deployed to FSM, by the New Zealand Red Cross on behalf of the Federation, to assist the MRCS with conducting an overall needs assessment.

The Federation's health delegate arrived in Pohnpei, had a briefing session in MRCS national headquarters and proceeded to Chuuk on Tuesday with the UNDAC Team from OCHA. The delegate is assisting MRCS Chuuk Chapter to conduct a needs assessment. The health delegate maintains regular contact with the MRCS national headquarters, the State Government, the Suva Regional Office, OCHA and the Federation's Geneva Secretariat. He will continue his task until the middle of July.

The delegate along with MRCS representatives, visited several villages in Weno. According to initial reports from the field, there may not be a significant risk of water-borne diseases. This is because, following instructions from the local health authority, people are using rain water from water catchments and then boiling it to use as drinking water where purified/bottled water is unavailable. There is however an immediate need for food, clothing, and other relief items for those people who have lost their homes.

Regional Office in Suva: The MRCS is closely liaising with the Federation's Regional Office in Suva to share information. The Regional Health Delegate is supporting the health delegate in Chuuk. The Regional OD Delegate, presently representing the delegation, is in close contact with the MRCS, relevant PNSs and the Federation's Secretariat in Geneva.

Secretariat, Geneva: The Federation Desk Officer maintains regular contact with the health delegate, the Suva Regional Office, MRCS, and relevant PNSs.

Coordination with UN/NGOs

OCHA: The UNDAC Team (two members) from OCHA are closely liaising with the State Government, UNICEF, local hospitals, and MRCS and the Federation. OCHA, the Government, and the Red Cross will coordinate and will shortly divide up remaining tasks. In Geneva, the Federation and OCHA maintain close contact with each other for information sharing and coordination purposes.

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

For further details please contact :

  • The Federated States of Micronesia National Society in Pohnpei ; Phone 691 320 7077; Fax 691 320 6531; email mrcs@mail.fm
  • Sugai Satoshi, Federation Desk Officer, Phone 41 22 730 4273; Fax 41 22 733 0395; email sugai@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.

John Horekens
Head
External Relations Division

Simon Missiri
Head
Asia and Pacific Department