Argentina: Floods DREF Bulletin No. MDRAR001 Update no. 2

Situation Report
Originally published


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 over 183 countries.

In Brief

Period covered by this update: 29 April - 16 July 2006

History of this Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)-funded operation:

CHF 100,000 (USD 78,417 or EUR 63,517) was allocated from the Federation's DREF fund to respond to the needs of this operations.

The International Federation undertakes activities that are aligned with its Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disaster.

Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

Background and Current Situation

Due to intense rainfall in the north-west of Argentina in March 2006, rivers burst their banks, landslides affected homes near these riverbanks and pedestrian overpasses and bridges collapsed in the north and east of the province of Salta (Departments of San Martín and Rivadavia). This situation made it impossible to travel on most roads and complicated access to a large number of communities. The most affected regions are on the banks of the Pilcomayo, Bermejo, Seco and Tartagal rivers and are in many cases isolated areas or aboriginal communities such as those of the Guaraníes, Wichis and Matacos. More than 1,500 persons were evacuated and around 1,000 families were affected.

The affected population in general presented a high level of vulnerability previous to the emergency due to numerous factors, such as high unemployment rates, a low level of education, and a lack of economic resources. According to information provided by the Argentine Red Cross (ARC), some cities had incidents of isolated looting.

In response to this disaster a provincial Crisis Committee was put together in Salta, which coordinated the distribution of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of families living in homes in danger of collapsing. Many of the relief items distributed were contributed by the nation's Social Development Ministry and organizations such as Caritas and Scouts of Argentina in addition to the Argentine Red Cross. In many instances it was necessary to utilize logistics resources of the Argentine Army and Police in order to gain aerial access to isolated communities to deploy personnel and provide health care.

Agreements were signed between the Provincial Housing Institute and the municipalities of Tartagal, General Mosconi and Salvador Mazza for the construction of 367 homes. For safety reasons, the banks of the Tartagal river must remain unoccupied at both sides some one hundred metres inland.

At the beginning of May, provincial and municipal authorities in Salta decided to relocate all evacuees to homes - private and rented - and to hotels. This measure resulted in the dismantling of temporary shelters in which people had previously been housed and it made the identification and survey of beneficiaries quite complex. In order to overcome this situation, the Argentine Red Cross decided to reinforce alliances with the Neighbourhood Centres to ensure appropriate identification of beneficiaries.

The Provincial Government signed nine agreements with the National Government for the initiation of the following projects:

  • Water studies
  • Definitive provision of drinking water
  • Construction of defence mechanisms/systems against water erosion
  • Urban infrastructure
  • Erosion control and stabilization of riverbeds
  • Relocation of homes
  • Rain drainage
Construction of a 200 metre-long bridge over the Río Seco has started, which is expected to be ready before the next rainy season begins in the north-west of Argentina, towards the end of the year.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Argentina: Pablo Bruno, Executive Advisor for Disaster Preparedness, Argentine Red Cross, email, phone (54) (11) 4952-7200, fax (54) (11) 4952-7715

In Peru: Giorgio Ferrario, Head of Lima Regional Delegation; email, phone (511) 221-8151, fax (511) 441- 3607

In Panama: Stephen McAndrew, Coordinator, Federation Pan American Disaster Response Unit, Panama; email, phone (507) 316-1001, fax (507) 316-1082

In Geneva: Olaug Bergseth, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, Geneva; email, phone (41 22) 730-4535, fax (41 22) 730-0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at

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