Argentina: Floods - Emergency Appeal Operations Update no. 2 (MDRAR010)


A. Situation analysis

A.1 Description of the disaster

During the month of December 2015, 14 out of the 23 provinces of Argentina were affected by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), primarily with severe rainfall and the overflow of the Paraná, Uruguay, Pilcomayo and Paraguay rivers and its tributaries. By late February 2016, these floods, the most complex registered in the last century in Argentina, affected more than 76,133 people in 14 provinces. In April 2016, intense rains again fell, affecting 72,119 people in 7 provinces.

The government declared an agricultural emergency due to the high level of impact on production in the provinces of Formosa, Chaco, Corrientes, Santa Fe, Cordoba and Entre Rios, of which Santa Fe and Entre Ríos were the most affected. According to the National Agroindustry Ministry, between 20 and 80 per cent of production was affected in the city of Buenos Aires (CABA) and the provinces of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Corrientes, Chaco, Entre Rios, Formosa, Jujuy, Misiones, Salta, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero and Tucumán.

Based on the evolution and decrease in rainfall, families living in collective centres were able to return to their homes. The operation timeframe was thus reduced from 12 to 10 months. This allowed the National Society to focus its efforts on disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness activities at community-level. At the same time, the budget was reduced based on activities prioritized in the then current context and in consideration of the resources available for the appeal.

For a detailed description of the main effects caused by heavy rains in April 2016, please refer to the Revised Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA). The plan provides details on the damages and needs in the provinces of Formosa, Córdoba, Chaco, Santa Fe, Corrientes, Entre Ríos and Buenos Aires.

A.2 Summary of current response

Overview of Host National Society Since December 2015, the National Society has deployed more than 270 volunteers from 21 branches in:

  • Buenos Aires (Santos Lugares, Saavedra, Villa Crespo, La Plata, Chivilcoy, Zárate, Campana, San Pedro, San Nicolás, Tandil, Mar del Plata, Vicente López);

  • Córdoba (Córdoba, Villa María);

  • Salta (Salta);

  • Entre Ríos (Concepción del Uruguay, Concordia, Paraná);

  • Santa Fe (Santa Fe);

  • Formosa (Clorinda); and

  • Corrientes (Corrientes).

National Intervention Team (NIT) members were also deployed to implement activities outlined in the plan of action. ARC branches conducted activities in support of local municipalities, such as participation in local emergency operation centres (EOCs), emergency evacuations, collective centre management, damage and needs assessments, humanitarian aid distribution, psychosocial support, first aid, health promotion, safe water and hygiene promotion workshops and vector-borne disease prevention and management (dengue, Zika and chikungunya).

Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in country The IFRC Country Cluster Support Team office for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay is located in the ARC national headquarters in Buenos Aires. The IFRC maintained communication with the National Society through the country coordinator and the IFRC Americas Regional Office (ARO) disaster and crisis department. A General Regional Intervention Team (RIT) member from the Mexican Red Cross was deployed for 30 days (until 9 March) to assist in the implementation of the plan of action. The IFRC disaster management coordinator for South America travelled twice to the field to support operation implementation, monitoring and technical support actions, as well as contribute to the process for the appeal revision.

A tripartite agreement between the National Society, IFRC and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) exists and contributes to maximizing the Movement's overall capacity to fulfil its humanitarian mission and strengthen ARC capacity. The ICRC has country representation and, in line with its mandate, works with state authorities on the integration, implementation and dissemination of international humanitarian law and international standards on the use of force. In addition, the ICRC implements actions to build ARC capacity to address emergency situations in violent contexts and crises and to provide restoring family links (RFL) services.

Overview of non-RCRC actors in country At the national level, the Ministry of Security’s Secretariat for Civil Protection and Comprehensive Response to Emergencies and Catastrophes and the Federal Emergency System (SIFEM) have been coordinating with affected provinces and relevant ministries such as Health, including the National Directorate for Health Emergencies, Social Development, Agro-industry, Defence, etc. At the beginning of the emergency, SIFEM mobilized security forces to provide support in the different affected areas. ARC also maintains coordination with national civil protection teams, especially with the Under-Secretariat for Civil Protection.

The Ministries of the Interior, Social Development, Agro-industry and their provincial counterparts designed economic mitigation measures such as subsidies, credit lines, etc. For epidemiological issues, the Ministry of Health implemented actions to prevent and respond to the epidemiological outbreak alert declared in January 2015 for dengue, chikungunya and Zika, using its epidemiological surveillance system and strongly focusing on dissemination, control and refuse removal campaigns.

Locally-based organizations such as Caritas Argentina and Argentina Scouts carried out interventions through their regional and local units, complementing national fundraising campaigns (Caritas) and supporting mechanisms for collecting and classifying private donations (Scouts). Institutions such as Red Solidaria, Rotary Club and Si Foundation organized their national and local donation campaigns, and carried out distributions in affected communities. Organizations such as TECHO provide support in various locations through the construction of temporary housing modules.