Argentina + 10 more

Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) Programme Update No. 01/2007


This report covers the period of 01/01/2007 to 30/06/2007. In a world of global challenges, continued poverty, inequity, and increasing vulnerability to disasters and disease, the International Federation with its global network, works to accomplish its Global Agenda, partnering with local community and civil society to prevent and alleviate human suffering from disasters, diseases and public health emergencies.

In brief

Programme Summary: Developing countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean remain vulnerable to the impact of natural and man-made disasters. In this context, the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) has provided operational, logistics and preparedness support to the region's National Societies during the first six months of 2007 in response to five flooding emergencies, one devastating fire, a dengue outbreak and a cold wave in an effective and efficient manner according to the needs. A total of CHF 858,900 was allocated during the first six month of 2007 through the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support operations in Argentina, Brazil, Haiti, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. One emergency appeal was launched for CHF 904,100in response to the severe flooding in Bolivia.

In addition to disaster response support to National Societies, PADRU continued to support disaster preparedness for response by organizing two RIT trainings, eight RIT deployments and 13 internships. Better- coordinated regional collaboration allowed for an increase in availability of pre-positioned stock, pre-disaster agreements and the organization of several disaster preparedness meetings - such as the pre-hurricane and shelter meetings.

During recent years PADRU has developed systems and deployed resources, both in response to emergencies and in support to capacity building initiatives in disaster preparedness for response. It has also ensured overall coordination of disaster response - both within the Movement and with non-Movement agencies - assisted in the development of disaster response policies, ensured adherence to international standards for disaster relief operations, and built and sustained operational links with key strategic partners.

Through the capacities described above, PADRU ensures continuity to disaster response in the Americas, thereby enabling the Regional Delegations, other Federation offices and National Societies to focus on their regional and local longer term programmes even in times of disaster.

Overall Programme Goal: Red Cross National Societies in the Americas are receiving significant benefits through support, services, coordination, resources and training from an efficient and effective disaster management unit that contributes to increasing the capacity to successfully help people reduce risk, respond to and recover from disasters, thus alleviating human suffering.

Needs: Total 2006-2007 budget: CHF 4,778,190 (USD 4,002,242 or EUR 3,036,270); of which 68% is covered. The Appeal target for 2006 2,687,331 of which 60% was covered. The Appeal target for 2007 2,090,859 of which 74% is covered.

No. of people we help: A total of 128,480 persons (25,651 families) were assisted through Red Cross disaster response operations supported by PADRU in the first months of 2007.

When not responding to disasters, PADRU contributes to the strengthening of local and regional disaster response capacity of National Societies while continuously increasing the overall quality of existing tools, mechanisms and procedures. Due to the emergency related character of the services of PADRU, estimations on the quantity of people in the future who will benefit from activities of PADRU are not possible. Through the Regional Logistics Unit (RLU), PADRU currently has a preparedness stock level to assist 125,000 persons.

Our Partners: During emergency operations and in preparation activities such as coordination meetings and trainings, PADRU closely coordinates with governmental and/or non-governmental organizations present at the place of the emergency, such as United Nations (UN) agencies, Ericsson Response, Oxfam, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Partner and Operating National Societies and other humanitarian organizations. Furthermore, through regular participation in regional and international coordination meetings with international agencies, useful information, best practices and available resources are shared in order to reduce duplication of efforts and ensure effective operational inter-agency coordination during disasters.

Current context

The changing climate conditions, the degradation of the environment, the rapid increase of population, immigration and disorganized urbanization are some of the problems that increasingly evidence the vulnerability of the Americas and the Caribbean to natural and man-made disasters. The resulting social problems worsen the effects of the disasters in the Americas, demanding a greater number of better quality technical, human and financial resources to adequately meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

The excessive rainfall that marked 2006 throughout the region was also seen during the first months of 2007. The resulting floods required relief operations of varying sizes in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Haiti and Uruguay. The Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) responded swiftly to these disasters as well as to fires in Panama, a dengue outbreak in Paraguay and a cold wave in Peru.

PADRU's response entailed providing support, services, coordination, deployment of delegates and Regional Intervention Team (RIT) members, relief supplies and training of National Societies in the Americas. Such support has always been provided in coordination with the Panama, Port of Spain and Lima Regional Representations, strengthening and enhancing the response and rehabilitation capacities of the National Societies in the Americas. In addition, as a focal point for disaster response in the Americas, PADRU coordinates globally and constantly strives to enhance the ability of the Red Cross to respond rapidly and effectively to the disasters in the Americas, thereby contributing to a core element of the Federation's Strategy 2010 and Global Agenda.