ACT Appeal Argentina: Rehabilitation for Flood Affected - LAAR-31


Appeal Target: US$ 253,498
Geneva, 6 June 2003

Dear Colleagues,

Intense rains in the north-eastern part of Argentina has caused unprecedented flooding of the Salado river severely affecting the provinces of Santa Fe, Entre Rios and Santiago del Estero. The worst hit area was Santa Fe City being almost totally inundated by water. The official reports indicate that 23 persons died, 600 were missing and 140,000 affected (125,000 in Santa Fe City). It is also reported that 24,000 houses were damaged and 4,000 completely destroyed.

The population, whose houses were not destroyed, has gradually begun to return to their houses to clean up the debris. However, there are still areas under water and pumping of flood waters continues. Management of garbage and debris in the streets has been a major challenge. To date, there are still some 12,000 persons living in temporary shelters: schools; public and social centres as well as churches. 33,000 children will not be able to start school on time due to the occupation of the schools.

As unemployment is rife people are living in deplorable conditions, with no resources to access sufficient food, education or health assistance. There are hundreds of children roaming the streets without anyone to take care of them. The government is providing assistance to the most affected population, however, due to the precarious economic situation this help is insufficient.

ACT member in Argentina, The Argentine Federation of Evangelical Churches (FAIE) responded immediately to the emergency (through the pastoral council of Santa Fe City) providing material assistance and pastoral counselling to the most severely traumatised of the population. The ACT CO disbursed U$35,800 from the Rapid Response Fund to contribute to the initial response. Now, FAIE is proposing to contribute to the initial reconstruction efforts providing:

  • Food assistance
  • Cleaning and reconstruction of damaged houses
  • Agricultural recovery
  • Health and psycho-social assistance

Project Completion Date: 31 March 2004

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested

Total Appeal Target(s)
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
Balance Requested from ACT Network

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

ACT Web Site address:

John Nduna
Acting Director, ACT

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.


  • Argentine Federation of Evangelical Churches

The Argentine Federation of Evangelical Churches is an organisation made up by the following churches in Argentina: Argentina Reformed Evangelical Church, Argentine Methodist Evangelical Church, Bible Christian Church, Buenos Aires Christian Community, Calvary Pentecostal Church of Christ, Congregational Evangelical Church, Disciples of Christ Church, Evangelical Christian Congregation, Evangelical Church of River Plate, Evangelical Pentecostal Apostolic Church, Evangelical Pentecostal Missionary Church, Goya Christian Congregation, Mennonite Evangelical Church, Northern Zone Christian Community, Pentecostal Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church of Taiwan in Argentina, Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, The Church of God Association, The Salvation Army, United Evangelical Church, United Lutheran Evangelical Church and the Waldensian Evangelical Church. Argentine League of Evangelical Women (LAME) and ECLOF are associate members.

The Argentine Federation of Evangelical Churches has a long experience in emergency response, the latest ones include :

  • the 1998 floods caused by rains and overflowing of the Paraná River in the Provinces of Chaco, Formosa, Corrientes, Santa Fe, and Entre Rios. Crisis and post- crisis activities. Local Responsibility: Ecumenical Committee in Chaco.

  • 1999 floods caused by rains and overflowing of Bermejo and Parana Rivers, Provinces of Salta and Formosa; rains in Cordoba, Santiago del Estero, Santa Fe and Entre Rios: FAIE in co-operation with Waldensian Church, Church of God Association, Anglican Church Dioceses of Salta, Fundapaz.


In response to the current emergency some members have grouped together to form an ACT/FAIE Emergency Committee. The churches involved include: the Argentine Evangelical Methodist Church, Church of God Association, Evangelical Church of River Plate, Evangelical Pentecostal Missionary Church, Waldensian Evangelical Church as well as the Council of Pastors and two NGOs (the Ecumenical Movement for Human Rights, Educational Action and CANOA) in the city of Santa Fe. Other churches and civil organisations have been invited to join the Committee.

Argentine Evangelical Methodist Church

The activities of this church were started in 1810 by the work of missionaries from the UK and the United States. In 1969 it took on independent status with its own structure and strategies. Social work is one of its main priorities. The Methodist Church collaborates with other Protestant and Pentecostal churches as well as the Roman Catholic Church and secular organisations. The Methodist Church has played significant roles in previous disasters such as the Mendoza earthquake and various floods. In response to the current emergency the Methodist Church (through its local church in Santa Fe and Paraná) is extending assistance to those affected by floods in Santa Fe.

Church of God Association (Pentecostal)

This is a national church established in the 50’s through the efforts of the inhabitants living in the poor neighbourhoods surrounding Buenos Aires. One of their main priorities is to assist mothers and children in poor urban neighbourhoods. Their work has extended all over the country and they have established congregations in Paraná (Entre Ríos Province) and missionary posts in Santa Fe.

This church has assisted in previous emergencies in the provinces of Chaco and Misiones.

Evangelical Church of River Plate

This church started working in Argentina as an ethnical church and began to develop their national identity in the 70’s. They also have experience in providing assistance in such emergencies as the Mendoza earthquake and floods in the north-east and centre of the country. At present they are providing assistance to affected people in the provinces of Santa Fe and Entre Ríos, in cities such as Esperanza, Paraná and Humboldt and also in the surrounding rural areas.

Evangelical Pentecostal Missionary Church

This church was established in Argentina in 1959 and at present they have churches in the city of Buenos Aires and the provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos and Santa Fe. In the current emergency they have, through their local congregations, given assistance to poor people in Santa Fe.

Evangelical Waldensian Church

This church was brought to Argentina during the 18th Century by Italian immigrants who established their churches in rural areas in the provinces of Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, La Pampa y Buenos Aires. As part of their religious mission, they work on development programs with poor farmers. At present they are assisting flood victims in La Paz and northern areas of Entre Rios Province.

Council of Pastors in Santa Fe City

The Council represents around 30 churches (Baptist, Carismatic, Free Brethren, Methodist, Pentecostal, Salvation Army and independent churches) in different districts in the city and the surrounding areas. They organise and co-ordinate a network of solidarity providing assistance to affected people in Santa Fe.

Ecumenical Movement for Human Rights

They have Regional Branches in Santa Fe and Entre Ríos provinces. In the present emergency they are working with churches and NGOs assisting the flood affected. In general, the assistance consists of food, clothes and some medicines collected in churches and other secular organisations. Volunteers are also playing an important role, specially assisting people in the shelters.

Two other NGOs Educational Action and Canoa are available to work with churches in surrounding areas of the city.

All the churches and ecumenical organisations mentioned have offices or headquarters in Santa Fe, Paraná, La Paz or Esperanza.


Very heavy rains for most of April and beginning of May have resulted in rivers breaking their banks and provoking severe flooding in the provinces of Santa Fe and Entre Ríos. Santa Fe was severely affected with flood waters totally covering three neighbourhoods while other areas were inundated to a lesser extent.

In Santa Fe City 36,000 persons were and remain evacuated - living in 196 shelters. 96 of these shelters are schools which should be freed soon as pupils have to continue their education. Others are sheltering in community centres, churches and clubs.

The authorities have commandeered several dilapidated buildings as transitory shelters. There is also a significant number of people (estimated at around 70,000) who have had to leave their homes as the waters advanced and did not go to the official shelters. They call themselves "autoevacuados". These are mostly poor people now living with friends or family members, in similar conditions of poverty.

Unemployment is rife and people are living in deplorable conditions, with no resources to access sufficient food, education or health assistance. There are hundreds of children roaming the streets without anyone to take care of them.

The official sources put the death toll at 25, but there are still many missing persons. The Solidarity Committee estimates that about 250 persons have disappeared.

According to the most recent information, the flood reached up to nine (9) departments in the north of the Santa Fe Province, where there are 250 municipalities and communes, with a total population of 900,000 inhabitants. About 15% of these people are directly affected by the floods with 15,000 people having been rendered homeless. Fifteen days after the disaster, the most affected city district representing 30% of the total flooded area, was still under water.

The social program from the government to help families that have no means to an income, currently benefiting around 62,000 families, will not be enough as at least 20,000 new families are now in the same situation. The unemployment insurance granted by the government for a maximum period of three months, was extended until the end of the year. Additionally, companies will be given resources for employment reactivation.

In the province of Entre Ríos, although the situation was not so dramatic, floods also affected cities and small towns in the rural areas. Parana City (the capital) and small towns in rural areas were affected by the overflowing of the Parana River which caused people to evacuate their homes. The people affected are mostly very poor families, living in similar conditions of poverty to those in Santa Fe.

The most vulnerable of those affected are children, single mothers, pregnant women and the elderly. In the rural areas and small towns, people live more or less from hand to mouth taking transitory employment at harvest time and living from any domestic animals they may keep or garden produce.

The last information received from La Paz and the rural areas speaks of 200 families having lost their homes and another 280 families having lost their livelihood - specifically kitchen gardens or domestic animals that they were using for food.

La Paz is a city with a population of 28,000, of which around 68% are under the line of poverty, with 35% of children and teenagers at risk of malnutrition. Single mothers and the elderly represent another group at risk.

The situation is similar in Esperanza and Humboldt located in rural areas of Santa Fe and Entre Ríos.


Goal: to provide immediate assistance and to facilitate initial rehabilitation activities for the most vulnerable people affected by the flooding in eastern Argentina.


  • To provide food to reinforce nutrition in children, teenagers, pregnant women, single mothers and the elderly.

  • Provide basic cleaning materials to remove mud from the houses

  • Contribute to the initial reconstruction of houses on the urban areas

  • Contribute to the initial reconstruction of livestock on the rural areas

  • Provide health resources and psycho-social support to vulnerable families.

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