Argentina: Landslide DREF Operation No. MDRAR004 Final Report

Situation Report
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Glide no. MS-2009-000041-ARG

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 164,000 (USD 141,205 or EUR 109,808) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 18 February 2009 to support the Argentine Red Cross in delivering immediate assistance to 1,000 families (5,000 beneficiaries).

The Argentine Red Cross completed the objective of providing 1,000 families (approximately 5,000 people) with relief items and health services including psychosocial support and dengue prevention measures.

During this emergency there were a significant amount of bilateral contributions from partners in-country. In addition, thanks to the assistance of humanitarian organizations and contributions from the general public, an additional objective for dengue prevention was included in light of the current outbreak experienced in the affected province. There was an increase of target beneficiaries from 600 to 1,000 families who received direct help from this project. In total 50,100 people have been reached considering the indirect outreach programming. This objective did not result in an increase in the budget given that the Argentine Red Cross received discounts on relief items from local suppliers and also received many bilateral contributions from partners in-country.

The situation

On 9 February 2009, heavy rainfall in the northern Argentine province of Salta caused a landslide of water, mud and wood remains. The landslide swept through the western mountains in the region closest to the Tartagal River into Tartagal city. The city is located in the north-eastern region of the province of Salta, approximately 369 km from the capital city of Salta in north-west Argentina. Additionally, a 50 metre long railroad bridge fell into the river aggravating the situation more since it created a dike in the Tartagal River. This accumulation of water caused flooding in the city of Tartagal, affecting several peripheral neighbourhoods.

Tartagal has an approximate population of 60,000 inhabitants, of which 20,000 people were directly affected according to official reports. Argentine authorities indicated that 742 people were evacuated and placed in four temporary shelters, while another 1,200 people self evacuated. The landslide took the life of four people. The most heavily impacted neighbourhoods were Santa Maria and a settlement located west of the railroad bridge, known as Barrio Punta Saavedra. In addition, a major part of the urban area of the city was covered by mud, reaching in places a depth of up to 1.5 metres. Information on infrastructural damage indicated that 30 houses were destroyed and 300 more damaged, along with other reported losses of personal and commercial property. The majority of the houses damaged or destroyed were located in settlements near the Tartagal River and the houses were made of ceramic and reinforced cement blocks. These homes were damaged by mud and debris brought in by the landslide. Families lost their personal possessions including electrical appliances and furniture. The Provincial Housing Institute (Instituto de la Vivienda Provincial) initiated the reconstruction of the affected houses. The Tartagal municipality provided USD 4,000 to those families who lost everything and were in temporary shelters. This stipend is for the affected families to pay for rent for an alternative home. Most of the families returned to their previous affected homes and installed tents which were provided by the provincial government. The municipality installed bathrooms in the affected area since the sewer system was not working properly as a result of blockages of mud and debris.