Supporting efforts for the recovery process in Northern Chile

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) approved emergency funds for the implementation of an emergency action plan designed by the Chilean Red Cross, which will support response and recovery actions in Northern Chile. Since the 23rd of March this region has suffered the consequences of a rare hydro-meteorological event that increased river levels and caused the flooding of different waterways, affecting the regions of Antofagasta, Atacama and Coquimbo.

To date, 26 people have died as a result of this emergency (according to figures from the Forensic Medicine Service), 150 people have been reported missing (according to reports from the Chilean Police Investigations Unit) and according to the ONEMI (National Emergency Office) 29,741 people have been affected, of which 2,532 are currently staying in 28 emergency accommodation shelters. The Atacama region has been hit hardest by the emergency, with nearly half of the total number of people affected living in this area.

During the first hours of the emergency the Chilean Red Cross formed a Technical Committee at its Head Office to coordinate the efforts of Affiliates and the Regional Committees in the affected zones. Staff were sent to the emergency zone to evaluate and analyse the needs of the affected population and have provided psychosocial support, first aid, health and hygiene assistance and reestablishment of contact with relatives

The Chilean Red Cross has promoted its recommendations for potable water and sanitation management through media outlets (television, radio and print media) and social networks. A fundraising strategy was also implemented, involving a bank account that can receive donations from anywhere in Chile. In addition, response and recovery actions were coordinated with humanitarian authorities and organizations in the field and at a national level.

The Chilean Red Cross decided not to receive donations of clothing, bedding, food items or toys from the general public, given that the immediate priority is to collect funds that will help meet the particular needs of those affected by the emergency. This led to the design and implementation of the “Everyone for the NORTH and their people” campaign that accepts funds deposited in the Checking Account 29-22-22 of the Banco Estado (RUT: 70.512.100-1, an account that was opened especially for this emergency.

On the 29th of March a multidisciplinary team from the National Society, accompanied by integrated logistics support from IFRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the American Red Cross, carried out an assessment in the Atacama-Coquimbo region. The Regional Committees and Affiliates conducted assessments and implemented initial response actions in the Tarapacá-Antofagasta zone.

The objective of this funding request for the emergency action plan in Northern Chile is to reduce the effects of heavy rain and flooding in the Chañaral and Copiapó provinces. This will reach 1,300 families in the affected communities through the provision of first aid, water and sanitation actions, health and hygiene promotion, psychosocial support, housing support, a cash transfer program and the re-establishment of contact with relatives.

The strategic operations plan will support 1,300 families in the Copiapó and Chañaral provinces and includes the following actions:

  1. Health actions in emergencies

a. Provide first aid assistance to the Red Cross Brigades.

b. Health promotion and prevention.

  1. Water and sanitation actions

    a. Distribution of cleaning kits for homes.

b. Promotion of potable water and hygiene management during community visits.

  1. Psychosocial support actions

a. Emotional support for humanitarian staff.

b. Psychosocial assistance to the population.

c. Psychosocial awareness raising campaign.

  1. Housing actions

a. Cash transfer program for 680 families based on assessments in the province of Chañaral. Conditional cash transfers are planned for some special cases. These transfers need to be flexible so that the funds can be used to repair housing and purchase domestic items that have been damaged.

b. 120 families will receive kitchen kits and tarpaulins.

c. Cleaning kits will be distributed, along with tools for the community to support clean-up activities and remove waste and debris from houses.

d. The offices of four affected Affiliates that were damaged during the emergency will be repaired.

  1. Actions to re-establish family contact

a. Re-establishment of communication between the affected population and their relatives.

b. Assistance in locating missing persons.

The actions to re-establish family contact are being developed with joint support from ICRC.

The Chilean Red Cross is working in the emergency zone to mobilize aid and resources to provide assistance to the affected population. Regional level volunteers are supporting these actions. It has been predicted that there will be an increase in the number of people volunteering to support humanitarian assistance efforts due to the magnitude of the emergency. For this reason a Volunteer Management Program will be implemented that includes the provision of technical and material support to volunteers.

For more information:

Chilean Red Cross | Facebook | Twitter:@CruzRojaChilena @CruzRojaInforma

@CruzRojaIntervencion | Youtube

Regional Office for the Americas of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Twitter: @IFRC_es | Instagram: @IFRC_es |