Albania

Albania Flooding: Preliminary Appeal No. 27/02 Operations Update No. 1

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The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 178 countries. For more information: www.ifrc.org
Launched on 1 October 2002 for 3 months for 20 000 beneficiaries. Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) Allocated: None Beneficiaries: 20,000

Period covered: 25 /09 to 30/11/ 2002

IN BRIEF

Appeal coverage: 112.3%
Related Appeals: AP01.43/02 and Snowfall operation

Outstanding needs: Due to recent support (as a result of a successful local fundraising campaign), the overall appeal coverage is excellent. Funds were received from various embassies and government agencies in Tirana (USAID, the Canadian Embassy, UNDP, and the Danish Embassy). Support was also received through Red Cross national societies including the Finnish, German, Swedish, Polish, Norwegian, Monaco, and Japanese Red Cross, and the Saudi Arabian and Iranian Red Crescent.

Summary: This Update confirms the Plan of Action presented in the Preliminary Appeal launched on October 1, 2002. The distribution of the first month emergency period is now completed. The disaster relief stock available at the national society warehouse was used for this purpose. Some donors have confirmed their contributions for this appeal, in kind and in cash, and local fundraising efforts were conducted successfully.

Operational Developments

The worst flooding in years has hit the Albanian lowlands following the rains after a week of torrential rain. The Albanian Rc has warned the consequences could be catastrophic for thousand of rural people in one of the Europe's poorest countries. The rains began on 22 September and brought a repeat of the floods which swept much of Central Europe this summer.

Homes, crops and infrastructures have been destroyed, remote communities isolated, water and electricity supplies disrupted. Around 26,000 hectares of arable land are under water and a state of emergency was declared in six prefectures around the country. Neglected river defenses, the reduced capacity of lowland drainage stations and power cuts that shut down pumps exacerbated the problem. Lezha prefecture, 65 kilometres north of Tirana, and Berat, 150 kilometres south of the capital, suffered the greatest damage and Red Cross assessment teams found 3,300 families in serious trouble there. Among other overwhelmed prefectures were Shkoder to the north, Durres to the northwest, and Fier and Gjirokaster to the south.

Coordination

The first phase of the operation is now over and the subsequent recovery activities covering three months of relief were communicated to the Inter Ministerial Committee with details of proposed activities. The work is also being co-ordinated at the local level through co-operation with local committees at the prefecture level in Lezha, Berat, Durres, Fier and Shkoder. Co-ordination and exchange of information between the Albanian Red Cross and the central and local committees will continue to ensure that no overlapping or duplicative efforts occur with other organisations.

A very fruitful co-operation with USAID's delegation in Albania enabled the Albanian Red Cross to receive 25,000 USD, which will be used to cover the expenses of the first phase costs of distributing the emergency relief stock, currently being held in the warehouse. There are some soft pledges from the American Red Cross for a quantity of washing powder. The German Red Cross sent 30,000 parcels of daily food rations and 1,650 parcels of 20 kg.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The goal of Albanian Red Cross for this operation was to provide immediate relief to some of the most affected families in flooded areas. This was to be achieved through distribution of basic food items and non food-items by Red Cross branches to vulnerable families in the area.

The Albanian Red Cross was involved in providing food assistance for 3 820 identified families. This action is in full compliance with the national society policy for any disaster situation. The national society reacted promptly to the situation, making use of its available stock of disaster.

A managing group was set up at the HQ's of the Albanian Red Cross as soon as the flooding happened in the country. The main task of this group was to take all necessary measures in order to face the created situation. Immediate action was also the implementation of the relief operation to benefit the 3 820 affected families in five prefectures of the country.

Guidelines on how to operate were drafted and sent out to the branches and sub branches involved in the relief operation. These guidelines took into account the large number of beneficiaries that each branch needed to support and established clear rules that needed to be adhered to in order to most effectively ameliorate their situation. Also included were indications for rations that each family should receive and the complex logistic aspects of the distribution procedure.

The local branches evaluated the human resources available and the other capacities needed. In this framework the secretaries of the five branches have been playing the role of coordinator in their respective branches. In addition to that, the Lezha branch, which was particularly affected, hired an additional coordinator and warehouse manager because of the huge volume of work to be carried out.

During the next stage of the operation, Local branches started immediately providing the list of beneficiaries in cooperation with Local Government and the community affected. Once this list of beneficiaries had been provided, on the basis of the number of beneficiaries for each commune, a schedule for delivering respective commodities items from Tirana to the affected branches was prepared. Warehouses were hired to three of the most affected areas of Lezha, Laç (in the same prefecture as Lezha) and Berat. Five trucks and respective drivers were dispatched with these deliveries of commodities from the Tirana warehouse to the branch warehouses. Up to 10 October 2002 all the whole stock needed for 3 820 families were delivered to the 5 branches.

The figures are as follows:

Location
Beneficiary Families
Lezha
2,810 families
Berati
490 families
Fier
120 families
Durres
350 families
Vlore
50 families

The needs assessment mission agreed with PNS was sent to the most affected communes of Balldren, Zejmen & Ura Vajgurore. As was detailed in the Emergency Appeal, these communes were selected based on recognised poor living conditions these communes were known to have prior to the flooding. Of special importance is the fact that all these areas are mainly inhabited by people who have moved to this region during the last ten years from northern part of Albania. The criteria by which beneficiaries were selected can be found in the Emergency Appeal, along with a breakdown of the 3,820 beneficiaries were selected for high priority assistance.

The difficulties in preparing the lists of beneficiaries were solved through insisting that head authorities of the affected communes were involved and gave up to date information. Also through the involvement of the Red Cross sub-branch members council and volunteers, who had knowledge of the local communities.

Other factors that affected the operation have also been largely overcome. The Hygiene Institute paid frequent visits to control the quality and expiry date of the food and every delivery transport truck was provided with a copy of food analyses for the respective items (the reports made for the distribution operation and daily information have been on our web site (www.kksh.org) updated on daily basis. Photos are available on the web site).

Relief distribution of food and basic non-food items

Objective 1: Distribute basic food and non-food items to 3,820 vulnerable families in five prefectures during the first month of the emergency.

During this phase the distribution of food items to the Red Cross branches of Lezha, Shkoder, Fier, Berat and Gjirokaster was organised. In accordance with the plan the activities to fulfil this objective were undertaken successfully.

Objective 2: Distribute basic food and non-food supplies to 3,820 families in Lezhe and Berat prefectures during the recovery phase over 3 months.

Beneficiaries for this operation were identified. Initial lists were prepared and then revised in cooperation with local authorities. The procurement of food and non-food items in Albania is under process. The system of data reporting and monitor distribution is already set up.

The relief operation in general is going well with the beneficiaries immediate needs supplied. The emergency appeal is partly supported and is expected to be fully covered.

The Red Cross branches started distributions to the beneficiaries. To do so, they hired trucks locally to transport the commodities to the communes /villages. Loaded trucks were sometimes used as distribution points but most of the time, communal buildings were used. It total, 28 distribution points (at each village involved in this relief operation) and around 64 Red Cross volunteers are involved in this activity.

For further details please contact: Penny Elghady, Phone: 41 22 730 4319; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email: ekghady@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. The procurement for this operation was carried out in full compliance and conformity with the Federation's standard for international and local procurement.

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.

This operation sought to administer to the immediate requirements of the victims of this disaster. Subsequent operations to promote sustainable development or long-term capacity building will require additional support, and these programmes are outlined on the Federation's website.

John Horekens
Director
External Relations Division

Lynette Lowndes
Head
Europe Department

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