Argentina: Floods in Santa Fé Province Appeal No. 10/03 Operations Update No. 4


Appeal launched on 6 May 2003 for CHF 607,000 for 3m onths for 8,000 beneficiaries.
Operations extended to 31 October 2003
Disaster Relief Emergency Funds( DREF) allocated: CHF 50,000
Period covered: 20 July to 11 September 2003
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 180 countries. For more information:

In Brief

Appeal coverage: 103%; See the Contributions List on the Federation's website for details.

Outstanding needs: None

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: 01.51/2003 South America

Operational Summary:

Distribution of food and non-food relief items is drawing to a close and 25 evacuation centres are now housing approximately 1,630 people, whereas at the outset of the crisis some 72,000 people were displaced. As people are returning to their homes, Red Cross activities are focusing on assistance to returnees. Community infrastructure, such as water pipelines, is being repaired or rebuilt. In addition, health campaigns have been ongoing as the Red Cross and its coordinating partners supply hygiene kits, cleaning kits and medicine to beneficiaries. As operations begin to close, the Red Cross is also focusing attention on helping victims return to their regular routines by providing psycho-social counselling.

International response to this appeal has been prompt and effective. The National Societies of Austria, Finland, Germany, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United States together with Greenpeace, Médicos sin Fronteras, OXFAM and UNICEF and the governments of New Zealand, the Netherlands and Spain have contributed to the appeal. Other public and private donors have also responded to the emergency both at the bilateral and appeal level. This support has allowed the Argentine Red Cross, in coordination with the Federation, Participating National Societies, the Argentine government and other governmental and non-governmental organizations to carry out activities according to the plan of action and provide aid to those affected by the floods.

Operational developments

Four months after the worst flooding in the history of the Santa Fé region, the official number of displaced persons has been reduced to an estimated 1,630 in 25 evacuation centres. Despite this encouraging number, there have been serious challenges for those returning to their homes. In many cases, homes are badly damaged and replacing furniture or obtaining tools to make repairs is proving difficult. Moreover, around 2,000 houses located close to the river will have to be completely rebuilt.

The largest evacuation centre is the Florida tent camp, housing 490 beneficiaries. Other major centres are La Tablada tent camp and the Club Teléfonos warehouse, housing 185 and 163 evacuees respectively. There are an additional 132 people staying in the Hernandarias y Peñaloza warehouse and 129 persons staying in Belgrano station. The Argentine Red Cross (ARC) is lending support to all these and other smaller centres as well as to residents that are beginning to return to their homes.

Officials from the provincial government warn that more that 120 villages situated along the Salato River are in danger of new floods should medium or heavy rains occur. This is due to the critical conditions of the drainage system and the fact that the ground has not fully absorbed the enormous amount of water still remaining from the flooding. The situation is particularly serious since heavy rains are expected. For this reason, the local government is supplying all municipalities in the region with instructions on what to do in the event of more flooding.

The huge losses in the farming and agricultural sectors, evaluated at ARP 1,226 million (USD 417 million), have prompted the government to extend the state of emergency until the end of 2003. Crops, cattle, milk production and infrastructure have been seriously affected. In addition, new areas, such as the General Lopez region, are being considered as affected areas and will now benefit from government assistance.

Argentine authorities, including the government and the militar y, are running several programmes to assist those whose property has been damaged by the flooding. The Argentine Army is operating a door to door service in order to estimate damage and deliver goods such as food items, clothes and cleaning sets to returnees. In addition, on 13 August the local municipalities began providing supplies to those whose livelihoods had been affected in the following neighbourhoods: República de los Hornos, Piquete las Flores, Schneider, Ciudadela Norte and Yapeyú Oeste. The cost of this reimbursement programme is estimated at ARP 1,200 (around USD 410). Public institutions, cultural and sport centres and the local university have also been among the beneficiaries.

On 8 August the Santa Fé Children's Hospital's emergency unit, which reported major damage during the floods, was reopened. This recent advancement is greatly improving the health and living conditions of the inhabitants of the area.

The problem of garbage collection from the streets, which hampered public health and transportation, has been solved. However, new problems are emerging with the rise of unauthorized collection centres on the outskirts of Santa Fé, such as the one in Playa Norte.

On 7 September, the province of Santa Fé held municipal and provincial elections, including elections for a new governor. More than 2,300,000 voters turned out for the elections. No disturbances were reported during the election period, but the Argentine Red Cross suspended relief distributions for ten days to ensure that the Red Cross would not be associated with political agendas.

The Santa Fé Floods Appeal has received more than 100% coverage. In addition, new items such as stoves, kitchen sets, furniture and radios have been received and beneficiaries for these goods have been identified. Constructions projects and the furniture deliveries are expected to take place until the end of October.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action - objectives, progress, impact

The Argentine Red Cross is operating according to the revised plan of action outlined in Operations Update 3, carrying out all its various components. Volunteers' main duties include conducting surveys and giving speeches in evacuation centres and neighbourhoods, distributing relief items and relief kits, and providing psychological support to flood victims. Cataloguing and distributing public donations, medicine and relief items included in the appeal are continuing according to the Pan American Health Organization's (PAHO) SUMA system.

The objectives outlined by the plan of action for the Santa Fé floods appeal were achieved through the support of the American, Austrian, Finnish, Japanese, Norwegian and Swedish Red Cross Societies. In addition, the German and Spanish Red Cross Societies contributed bilaterally to the appeal. These two PNSs have played an important role in the relief efforts, particularly in the rural community of Monte Vera.

Relief distribution of food and basic non-food items

Objective 1: to provide humanitarian assistance in the form of foo d for three months, together with a kitchen set and hygiene kit for 8,000 persons affected by the floods.


In accordance with the SPHERE guidelines, the Argentine Red Cross is providing assistance to the following evacuation centres and communities:

Evacuation centre/community
Number of beneficiaries
Belgrano station and warehouse
La Florida
Campo Universitario
Telecom warehouse
Peñalosa and Hernanderias Warehouse
Flenor warehouse
Grossi Warehouse
Mitre station
Club Telefonos
Monte Vera Neighbourhood

To date, a total of 72,608 people in 383 evacuation centres have been assisted by the Argentine Red Cross since the beginning of the relief operation. The total figure includes both beneficiaries assisted within the appeal and those assisted through bilateral and private donations to the Argentine Red Cross.

As of 5 September, 2,760 tonnes of humanitarian aid had been brought to Santa Fé. The Argentine Army and Navy, and private businesses and individuals supplied more than 130 trucks to transport these goods. Items distributed include:

  • 71,000 kg of cleaning and hygiene kits
  • 72,666 litres of mineral water
  • 252,000 kg of non perishable food items
  • 352,426 units of medicine
  • 233,200 kg of clothes and shoes.

Public aid that has been received but was not linked to the appeal includes: clothes, shoes, mattresses, toys for children, candles, food, medicine, water and hygiene products

During the period covered by this update, 13 more trucks brought 260 tonnes of food and non food items to the warehouses in Santa Fé. The goods were supplied by the Argentine Red Cross. Assistance operations are now being implemented to assist affected person in evacuation centres and local communities.


During the period covered by this update, the following items were distributed:

Quantity distributed
(3.7-5.9. 2003)
Total Quantity distributed
337 litres
1,957 litres
3,910 kg
11,280 kg
Soup broth
526 packs
17,328 packs
1,113 kg
3,122 kg
51 kg
260 kg
4,557 kg
13,116 kg
Wheat flour
1,417 kg
7,963 kg
Maize flour
4,057 kg
14,007 kg
Tomato sauce
10,795 units
Canned beans
412 units
28,000 kg
Dried beans
673 kg
2,653 kg
Fresh vegetables
7 packs
Dairy products
25 packs
699 packs
Long life milk
21,402 litres
32,574 litres
Powdered milk
4,998 kg
20,183 kg
2,398 kg
9,917 kg
7,349 boxes
25,594 boxes
Mate cocido (tea)
3,159 boxes
17,207 boxes
Hierba mate (tea)
1,600 kg
8,935 kg
55 units
854 units
681 packs
6,152 packs
449 packs
8,094 packs
241 boxes
502 boxes
Fruit juice
3,367 units
3,367 units
Mineral water
3,674 units
72,622 units
266 packs
535 packs
1,079 litres
4,268 litres
3,377 sacks
20,497 sacks
373 sacks
3,517 sacks
101,113 units
346,762 units
Toilet paper
2,558 units
9,328 packs
Bed sheets
140 units
1,038 pairs
335 units
8,303 units
298 units
5,306 units
1,863 boxes
4,654 boxes
1,430 units
7,148 units
1,327 units
4,197 units
4,448 units
15,462 units
133 units
2,233 units
692 litres
815 litres
12 units
89 sacks
55 packs
Camp lamps
15 units
133 units
190 units

As of 5 September, ARC volunteers had distributed the following kits:

Within the appeal
Bilateral - public donations outside the appeal
Quantity distributed
(3.7 -5.9. 2003)
Total Quantity distributed
Quantity distributed
(3.7 -5.9. 2003)
Total Quantity distributed
Family food packages
(8 persons/1 month)
320 units in Santa Fe
540 units in Monte Vera
2,131 units
Kitchen sets
319 units
2 units
36 units
Personal hygiene sets
319 units
1,321 units
Feminine hygiene kits
6,501 units
16,879 units
Cleaning kits
816 units
1,179 units
509 units


Delivery activities had to be interrupted during the last week of the elections, but they were resumed after the elections and continued without problems.

(pdf* format - 127 KB)