Chile: Floods DREF Bulletin No. MDRCL01

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 183 countries.
In Brief

This DREF Bulletin is being issued based on the situation described below reflecting the information available at this time. CHF 130,000 (USD 105,284.47 or EUR 83,215.79) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to respond to the needs in this operation. The duration of this operation is yet to be defined and it depends on whether the situation worsens. Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

This operation is aligned with the International Federation's Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

Background and current situation

The south-central part of Chile has been affected by strong rains and gusty winds since last Tuesday 11 July.

According to the National Emergency Office (ONEMI) the situation nationwide is as follows:

  • 95,862 people have been affected by the floods, 28,177 of them are severely affected.
  • 3,679 people are in temporary shelters.
  • 25,343 people have been forced out of their homes due to the threat of rivers bursting their banks.
  • 682 homes have sustained major damage.
  • 13,267 homes have incurred minor damage.
  • 75 homes have been destroyed.
  • 1 person is missing, a police officer who has working on the search and rescue operation.
  • 17 people have died.

According to official sources, more than 24,000 of the affected individuals are located in the southern region of Bío Bío, 500 kilometres from Santiago, which was declared "a disaster zone" on Tuesday, 11 July by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

The bad weather spans more than 1,300 kilometres of Chilean territory, from the Coquimbo region in the North, to the Los Lagos region in the south.

The National Emergency Committee (COE) has been activated and the following levels of alert have been declared:

  • Regions I - II - III - XI - XII: Early warning systems are being monitored
  • Regions IV - V - VI - IX , X and Metropolitan: Yellow alert
  • Regions VII - VIII: Red alert

Region VIII, 540 kilometres from the capital, is the most affected area, especially the communities of Hualqui and Tihuayante, which have had landslides, trees uprooted, roads obstructed, bridges collapsed and drinking water supply interrupted since Monday 10 July in several communities. There are reports of mild flooding in the IX Region as well. Schools have been closed in the VIII Region entirely and in some sectors of the VI and VII Regions.

According to official sources the government has sent to the most affected communities a total of three airplanes and several trucks containing approximately 100 tons of food, foam mattresses, zinc sheeting, disposable diapers, blankets, and other necessary items. Civil protection continues to be in the field evaluating damages and needs of the affected populations.

Red Cross Actions

The Chilean Red Cross is actively participating in COE meetings and has been appointed by the Chilean Government as in charge of the distribution of relief items and the provision of health care to those affected, in coordination with the Chilean army. The CRC launched a national appeal since the onset of this emergency and has received a large number of contributions, both financial and in-kind. To date, four tons of humanitarian aid was sent to the VIII Region of Bío Bío, mainly clothing, diapers, shoes and food. This has already been distributed to the communities; however, there are outstanding needs for children's winter clothing in good condition, blankets, hygiene items, shoes in good condition and medications. Contributions to this effect are being received in the CRC warehouse located on Seminario 973, Ñuñoa, from 7:00 hours until 21:00 hours local time. Financial contributions can be deposited in Banco Estado account number 29 22 22. Two telephone lines have also been enabled: 700 03 90 in Santiago and 70 03 90 in the Regions.

More than 300 volunteers within the affected regions have been mobilized, and 10 volunteers from other regions in the country specialized in education, health, shelters and damage assessment will be deployed to the VIII Region within the next hours in order to support and strengthen the response actions in the field.

The CRC plans to distribute food parcels and hygiene kits to 2,000 families in the VIII and IX Regions with the allocated DREF funding. The mobilization of health teams is also being considered and would be covered with these funds. Part of the DREF allocation will also go to cover the costs of a chartered airplane which will be leaving the Federation's Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) headquarters on Monday, 17 July containing the 2,000 hygiene kits to be distributed by CRC. The contents of the food parcels will be procured locally. Also on this flight will be Red Cross visibility items such as 900 stickers of various sizes, 25 Red Cross tshirts, 8 survey booklets and 8 distribution booklets to cover 2,000 families and 2,000 relief item control vouchers. A warehouse assistant from the Regional Logistics Unit (RLU) will be deployed to the field and will travel on the chartered airplane.

One Regional Intervention Team (RIT) member from Argentina - who is currently in PADRU finishing RITs logistics training - will be deployed to the field with clearance of the Argentine Red Cross. This RIT member will travel to the field on Sunday, 16 July and will be equipped with a RIT kit: a lap top, standard forms and visibility items. PADRU will also deploy a Disaster Management Delegate to the field on Sunday, 16 July to support the work of the National Society and to assess the situation with the CRC in view of the possibility of the launch of an appeal.

Information and Coordination

The Chilean Red Cross is in permanent contact with, and is coordinating the actions of, all government and nongovernment institutions concerned that have already begun to carry out activities to support the affected families.

The National Relief Director of the CRC is in regular contact with the Lima Regional Delegation and with the Pan American Disaster Response Unit for coordination of actions.

Map: Chile: Floods - Situation map

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Chile: Miguel Angel Cabrera, National Relief Director, Chilean Red Cross, Santiago, email , phone (562)777-1216, fax (562)737-0270, mobile ( 568)549-8475

In Lima: Susana Arroyo, Acting Head of Lima Regional Delegation, email, phone (511)221-8151, fax (511)441-3607.

In Panama: Stephen McAndrew, Coordinator, Federation Pan American Disaster Response Unit, Panama, email, phone (507)316-1001, fax (507)316-1082.

In Geneva: Olaug Bergseth, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, email, phone (41)22-730-4535, fax (41)22-733-0395.

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federationìs Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federationìs website at