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West and Central Africa: Early Warning/Early Action Emergency Appeal No. MDR61005 Operations Update No. 1


Period covered by this Ops Update: 6 August - 7 October 2009.

Appeal target (current): CHF 918,517 (USD 896,114 or EUR 605,283)

Appeal coverage: 91%;

Appeal history:

- This Emergency Appeal was initially launched on 6 August 2009 for CHF 918,517 for 9 months to assist 25,000 beneficiaries.

- Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF): CHF 200,000 was allocated from the Federation's DREF to support this Appeal and related action.

Summary: Despite the effectiveness of this early warning and early action initiative and the related activities carried out, the flood occurrence in many countries has been very severe due to the fact that the heavy precipitation came at the end of the rainy season often after two months of normal rainy conditions. The location of these rains (in areas with poor urbanization policies) exacerbated an already difficult situation. Based on ongoing updated meteorological reports from the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) highlighting heavy precipitations, other countries were included in this appeal. Therefore, some 51 climate risk bulletins for the humanitarian community in West Africa have been disseminated to the National Societies within the zone through the Disaster Management volunteer's network (93 members of RDRT, 600 members of CDRT and 240 members of NDRT) as early warning for appropriate actions.

So far fourteen (14) countries (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Benin, Gambia, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Togo and Guinea) have been flooded in West Africa. Early response conducted by National Societies supported by the Zone office and other movement partners (Spanish Red Cross and AECID, Danish Red Cross and Finish Red Cross) have been implemented to assist at least 738,664 most vulnerable people with stocks available in Dakar and Accra regional warehouses and transported to the countries. Some affected countries, have been supported with agricultural tools, seeds, fish nets and shelter kits to mitigate the impact of the disaster and restore their livelihoods and coping mechanisms.

The situation

In line with the ACMAD forecast for the 2009 floods season in West and Central Africa, the monthly updates and the short term forecast sent by the IFRC/WCAZ focal point based in ACMAD, the West and Central Africa Zone has been systematically monitoring climate information on all timescales, linking information to action. The Early Warning and Early Action (EW/EA) framework has been implemented using different tools and different source of funding. The contingency stocks which have been constituted in 2008 through EW/EA 2 appeal with support from Participating National Societies (PNSs), stand alone DREF of CHF 200,000 made available in early September 2009 provided cash to cover the operational costs of the early response in terms of Non-food items (NFI) distribution, transport cost and operational costs related to NFIs distribution, health sensitization, hygiene promotion and other concerned costs as well as annual appeal funds. These annual appeal funds have been used to train National Disaster Response Teams (NDRTs), Communitybased Disaster Response Teams (CDRTs) and Regional Disaster Response Teams (RDRTs) which have been extensively used during the early response to floods. Thanks to the regular support provided by the Department for International Development (DfID), the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID)/Spanish Red Cross, Irish Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross and Swedish Red Cross.The severity of some of the floods is attributed to the fact that the rains in many areas arrived at the end of the season (after two months of precipitation under normal conditions), and the poor urbanization policies exacerbated the floods in many densely population areas.