Algeria

Algeria: Storms and floods appeal No.35/01 Final Report

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Launched on: 12 November 2001 for 3 months for CHF2,034,000: (USD 1.19 million/EUR 1.38 million): Beneficiaries: 6,453.
Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) Allocated: CHF 100,000

Operational Developments:

Summary

Torrential rain and strong winds, causing mudslides and floods on Saturday 10 November 2001, in the capital of Algiers and in 13 other regions took Algeria by surprise. The Algerian Red Crescent Society (ARCS) had not experienced a disaster of this magnitude before and its capacity to mobilise resources was exceeded.

On 12 November 2001, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies issued a request for international assistance (Federation appeal 35/01) on behalf of the ARCS, seeking CHF 2,034,000 in cash, kind and services to assist 6,000 families in Algiers and 13 other coastal regions (wilayate).

The flooding caused severe damage to Algiers, where over 90 houses were destroyed and 325 apartments and commercial premises partly damaged. In Algiers alone, an additional 10,000 families, already vulnerable due to a decade of political unrest and a troubled economy, were further weakened by the catastrophe.

Red Cross Red Crescent action

From the flood's onset, the ARCS received support from the whole Red Cross Red Crescent Movement with efforts to assist disaster victims. Over 1,500 ARCS volunteers were mobilised and at the forefront of relief efforts. Of these, 120 volunteers, trained in first aid, provided critical assistance. In total, the ARCS assisted 6,453 families throughout 14 regions (wilayat).

Wilayat
Number of families
Oran
1350
Chlef
1018
Algiers
820
Tipaza
630
Ain Defla
580
Saida
480
Mostaganem
271
Relizane
263
Ain Temouchent
220
Tizi Ouzou
220
Tlemcen
210
Tiaret
140
Boumerdes
128
Mascara
123
Total
6,453

From day one, ARCS volunteers addressed the needs of victims throughout the affected territory. During the initial weeks of the flooding, the three main actors in Algiers (ARCS, Solidarity Ministry and Civil Protection) assisted flood victims sheltered at 12 temporary sites (later reduced to 10 sites).

Relief items and medical assistance were provided, based on individual needs. It included: hot meals, milk for infants, food parcels, mineral water, blankets, clothing, utensils, jerry cans and hygiene products.

From the beginning, the ARCS provided the wilayat of Algiers, Tipaza, Ain Defla, Chlef, Relizane, Oran, Boumerdes, Tizi Ouzou and Mascara with assistance in food and non-food relief items. The ARCS volunteers provided meals to 38,900 flood victims at three temporary sites. Although several regions, specifically Tiaret and Ain Temouchent, had informed the ARCS that they were self-sufficient and could manage with relief goods in stock, local branches from the wilayat Saida, Tlemcen and Mostaganem called for assistance to replenish their emergency stock as well as to continue assisting those in need.

Relief distributions

Objective: to provide 6,000 families with essential domestic items.

Activities to meet the objective:

  • 24,000 pcs. of warm clothing procured and distributed;
  • Utensils and fuel for cooking procured and distributed;
  • 40,000 blankets procured and distributed.

The national and international response to the appeal exceeded expectations, and a diverse and large quantity of goods were donated. Donated goods were more than adequate to meet the needs of the beneficiaries. It was therefore unnecessary to purchase items such as stoves and heaters.

Items distributed to affected families included:

  • 28 cartons of warm clothing;
  • 16,780 blankets;
  • 971 kitchen sets;
  • 1600 buckets.

Shelter

Objective: to provide shelter materials for 6,000 homeless families.

Activities to meet this objective:

- To procure and distribute of shelter materials to 6,000 families.

The ARCS initially proposed setting up tent camps similar to what they had done in Chlef following the 1989 earthquake. The final decision, however, was made by the authorities to comply with the ORSEC plan. The Civil Protection, as a means of controlling the distribution of aid assumed responsibility for providing tents, plastic sheeting and "camp" beds to flood affected families. In Algiers, temporary shelters such as mosques, schools and sport halls were given preference over tents while in the outlying regions, due to the limited space available, several tent camps were put up.

During the initial days of the emergency, the ARCS distributed their emergency stock to the regions. One hundred tents received by the ARCS in response of the Federation's appeal were handed over to two regions (wilayat).

The future use of tents, camp beds and plastic sheetings that remain stored in ARCS warehouses, as well as in government warehouses, will be decided by the ARCS. The proposal will be submitted to donors for approval.

- To provide assistance to relocated families

Two ARCS medical teams comprised of a general practitioner, a nurse, a midwife and a psychologist visited families who were relocated due to the floods. Information identifying the families was based on lists provided by the communes in early December 2001.

The medical teams were active in addressing the needs of the victims in all regions. The evaluation conducted by the team concentrated on examining the health of each family member. The team, however, also identified the families' needs in terms of essential items such as water, gas, electricity, heat, mattresses, blankets, utensils, clothing, jerry cans and water tanks.

As of May 2002, the authorities have rehoused a total of 1,535 families. Outside the capital, there are still people living in temporary shelters, tent camps and with family members. Rehousing is expected to be completed in the coming months.

Health

Objective: to procure and distribute medical supplies, basic drugs and equipment to health institutions.

Activities to meet this objective:

The ARCS worked in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the Civil Protection. The Ministry of Health was responsible for providing prescriptions and consultations while the ARCS medical team was responsible for distributing the medications and coordinating the medical operation throughout the sites. In each of the 14 affected regions, tents were used for consultations as well as distributions of medicine. Medical teams in Algiers worked from four tents while six tents housed the teams in Oran. A total of three medical tents were set up in each of the 12 other regions.

The Netherlands Red Cross 13 basic health kits were used in all of the affected regions with the exception of Ain Temouchent. The kits were well appreciated. Some of the drugs, i.e. for paludism, will be reallocated under the supervision of ARCS national headquarters to other parts of the country, particularly the southern areas. A training will be scheduled on how to use the basic health kits at local branch level.

Thirty-four cartons of an assortment of medicine from the Iranian Red Crescent were distributed in Algier.

In addition, ARCS psychologists provided support to the victims. From 12 November, a team of two psychologists visited families located in temporary and relocation sites.

Temporary sites in Algiers

Sites
No. of families
No. of persons seen
Adults
Children
Maut-Blaisant (school)
56
15
5
10
Telemly (nursery)
13
9
2
7
Belouizdad (market)
36
8
2
6
Rouisseau
25
7
6
1
Rouzareah (school)
85
8
2
6
El Biar
8
2
6
Total
215
55
19
36

Psychological symptoms identified among children included: a refusal to go to school, aggressiveness, turbulence, insomnia, isolation, lack of appetite. Among adults the most frequent symptoms were: anxiety, insomnia and nightmares.

The team of psychologists reduced the number of family visits as the situation gradually improved.

Water-sanitation

Objective 1 : To minimise the risk of outbreak of waterborne disease.

ARCS activities to meet this objective were:

  • distribute water purification tablets to 6,000 households;
  • procure and distribute 6,000 water containers.

The Health and Water Ministries were responsible for water and sanitation operations following the flooding. Nevertheless, they worked closely with the ARCS. Water purification tablets, 1600 buckets and 3 bladder-tanks donated by the Netherlands Red Cross were distributed on some temporary sites in the wilayat of Chleff and Tipaza.

Logistics

An ERU team (sponsored and made available by the Danish RC) was sent early on to advise the ARCS logistics department with implementing the International Federation logistics system, to have better control of the receipt and forwarding of goods.

Movement of goods:

  • there were three entrance points: Alger airport, Alger harbour and Oran harbour;
  • from the airport, the goods were automatically sent for storage in a government warehouse "El Hamiz"at the "protection civile";
  • from Hamiz warehouse, goods were dispatched either to a government warehouse, or upon request to ARCS warehouses;
  • from harbours, the ARCS had the responsibility for the release of the goods and the transportation directly to ARCS warehouses in Alger/Diar Saada, Tipaza/Shaiba, and Oran;
  • Private trucks were hired by the ARCS for the transportation of goods between warehouses, and from warehouses - to the affected areas.

Each of the two warehouses were equipped with a computer. Each of the warehouse managers were trained in goods management, the "IN and OUT" process, and reporting to donors.

Telecommunications

The HF and VHF radio network of the ARCS was previously deactivated for security purposes. During the operation, all communications for coordination between Headquarters, local branches, and volunteers in the field were done through the PTT telephone network reinforced by seven GSM mobile phones generously made available by the Ericsson representative in Algeria.

National Society Capacity Building

The flood relief operation was built upon the existing capacities of the national society. Local staff and volunteers at national and branch levels were involved in all phases of the operation, including planning, implementation, and evaluation. The initial assessments by the national society were also part of the ARCS's capacity building process.

In October 2001, following March 2001's National Committee meeting, the ARCS completed the training of first aid trainers. A total of 144 volunteers have received first aid training.

First aid courses for staff and volunteers are due to begin at the end of February and training material is in the process of being completed. The last phase of training will be the organisation of specialised first aid training.

At the invitation of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society, two volunteers from the ARCS participated in a three day Sphere seminar in Dakar.

Use of remaining goods in stock on 15/07/2002.

After a month of the operation, it appeared that the national and international response to the disaster exceeded expectations, and a diverse and large quantity of goods were donated. Donated goods were more than adequate to meet the basic needs of the beneficiaries. Therefore, some items channelled trough the appeal 35/01 remained in stock on the 15/07/2002.

A plan for the use of the remaining goods has then been set up upon agreement of the donors :

1) Camp beds

- Proposition was made to transfer the balance of camp beds to summer camp programme of the ARCS. Every year, the ARCS is organising and running 9 summer camps located on the sea side, for the children of the poorest families who live in the most remote areas of the country. Those camp beds were to replace mattresses that have been used in the past.

- 2544 camp beds were dispatched to 7 sites (300 beds) and 2 sites (220 beds). Number and type of beneficiaries: 4470 children

2) Kitchen sets

- Each year, the ARCS organises soup kitchens during the month of Ramadan, serving to the most needy the daily traditional evening breakfast. During this time, the 178 kitchens in the 48 willayats of the country prepare and serve 143,992 hot meals per day (2001 figure). These 178 kitchens are in permanent need of equipment.

- 1424 Kitchen sets were delivered before end of October 2002 to the 178 kitchens of the 48 ARCS committees.

- Distribution to the victims who remain in the process of the relocation was still going on. 1426 kitchen sets were distributed to beneficiaries at the relocation sites. 842 kitchen sets were distributed to 1,894 affected families during last summer flooding in 10 willayat.

3) Buckets

- 4,450 buckets were delivered before end of October to the kitchens of the 48 willayats ARCS committees. 1,550 buckets were distributed to 1,894 families during the last summer flooding.

4) Chloramine.

- Since the floods, the city of Algiers and other cities of the affected willayat are still suffering heavy disruption in the distribution of tap water. The tap water is distributed during a few hours every 3 days and therefore must be stored in large quantity by the population. A campaign was then launched by the ministry of health, asking the population not to drink water stored more than 2 days unless it has been purified. In order to sustain this campaign, the ARCS was distributing water purification tablets to the most vulnerable families living in the affected areas. 152,000 water purification tablets were distributed since 15 July.

5) Tents, plastic sheeting and tarpaulin

- In order to comply with the policy of the government and to the ORSEC plan, the Civil Protection assumed responsibility for providing tents, plastic sheeting and tarpaulins during the relief operation in the area of the capital of Algiers. Nevertheless, when eastern and western part of Algeria were hit by heavy rain last summer, tents and plastic sheetings were needed and sent to those affected areas. Therefore, 311 tents, 160 rolls of plastic sheeting and 200 tarpaulins were distributed to 10 willayats.

Affected willayat / Flooding summer 2002

Willayat
Affected Families
1
MILA
58
2
TEBESSA
185
3
GUELMA
190
4
SOUK AHRAS
120
5
KHENCHELA
100
6
OUM EL BOUAGHI
134
7
SIDI BEL ABBES
250
8
ILLIZI
600
9
TAMANRASSET
125
10
BISKRA
132
TOTAL
1'894

Conclusion

Given the fact that natural disasters pose a constant threat, as a follow-up to the lessons learnt during the 2001 floods operation a programme coordinator remained based in Algeria to support the ARCS with upgrading their disaster preparedness/ disaster response (DP/DR) capacities. The Federation programme coordinator is responsible for activities such as, implementing a VCA, training of national headquarters and branch staff and upgrading ARCS warehouse management. The project coordinator is responsible for following up on ARCS/Federation projects in the country, such as the training centres for female victims of violence, and coordinate and share information regarding ARCS projects with the Federation and sister societies.

A small balance of CHF70,000 from the operation is being used to strengthen the national society's preparedness to deal with future emergencies.

For further details please contact: Cynthia Petrigh, Phone : 41 22 7304312; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email: petrigh@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.

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

Ali Said Ali
Head
MENA Department

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