The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.
Summary: CHF 178,400 was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 7 April 2007 to support the national society in delivering assistance to some 543 families.
Argentina was hit by severe floods at the beginning of 2007 affecting thousands of families mainly in the provinces of Santa Fe and Entre Rios. The National Society's response operation contributed to the rehabilitation of 543 families affected by the floods through the provision of relief items, raising health awareness amongst communities, psychosocial support and strengthening community development processes.
In early 2007, prolonged and extensive rainfall combined with the annual swelling of the Paraná and Salado Rivers caused them to overflow and flood entire communities and millions of hectares of land. The worst hit provinces by the floods were those of Entre Rios and Santa Fe, with 65 communities seriously affected.
The overall impact of the emergency on communities was severe, with 80,000 people affected (most in Santa Fe province), 56,000 people evacuated (peak period being April), electricity cuts (mostly preventative), damage to infrastructure making some areas inaccessible, suspension of school activity in some towns for weeks, and a significant loss of soybean and alfalfa crops.
In May, the Government of Argentina declared an economic and social state of emergency for 180 days in the provinces of Santa Fe and Entre Ríos. The government responded to the emergency through Municipal Crisis Committees in the affected provinces of Santa Fe, Rosario, Gualeguay, Paraná and Esperanza andProvincial Committees in Santa Fe and Entre Rios. Overall support from the government to areas affected by the floods included evaluations of affected areas, evacuations of people, distribution of humanitarian aid, health care, drainage and cleaning up of flooded areas, credits for industry and support to those who lost homes.
At the early stages of the emergency, local discontent with the assistance being provided by local authorities grew, and local protests took place to demand improved assistance. Some warehouses and trucks containing humanitarian aid were looted by protesters. This created a certain atmosphere of insecurity and the police and naval authorities increased patrols and controls during the initial days of the emergency. At the beginning of the emergency, local supplies were less available and an increase of prices of basic food stuffs was registered.
For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:
- In Argentina: Pablo Bruno, Executive Advisor for Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Response, Argentine Red Cross; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: (54) (11) 4952-7200; fax (54) (11) 4952-7715
- In Peru: Giorgio Ferrario, Regional Representative for South America; email email@example.com; phone (511) 221-8151; fax (511) 441- 3607
- In Panama: Dario Alvarez, Acting Head of the Pan American Disaster Response Unit; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: (507) 316 1001; fax: (507) 316 1082.
- In Panama: Maria Alcazar, Resource Mobilization Coordinator, Americas; email: email@example.com; phone: (507) 380 0250; fax: (507) 317 1304.
- In Geneva: Pablo Medina, Operations Coordinator for the Americas; email firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: (41) 79 2173376; fax: (41) 22 730 0395.