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 95,700 (USD 87,477 or EUR 60,955) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 24 October 2008 to support the Colombian Red Cross Society in delivering assistance to 1,000 families.
Throughout the month of September 2008, hundreds of communities in 27 departments of Colombia were deeply affected by floods caused by the year's second rainy season. This DREF operation provided 1,000 families with food and non-food items and basic medical assistance. All objectives foreseen were successfully completed by the Colombian Red Cross Society.
The second rainy season that started in September 2008 brought heavy floods, mudslides and landslides in 428 municipalities in 27 of the 32 departments of Colombia. The constant rain, especially in the department of Cordoba, increased the water levels of the Sinu and San Jorge Rivers and overflowed the water drainage systems of several municipalities.
After several days of rain, overflowing rivers and drainage systems flooded several sectors in Bolivar, Choco, Magdalena, Sucre and Cordoba, located in the Colombian Caribbean Region. The Ministry of the Interior's Secretariat of Disaster Prevention and Response (Direccion de Prevencion y Atencion de Desastres), estimated that throughout the entire rainy season a total of 1,225,325 people were affected, 68 people died and 18 people remain missing. The affected residents took refuge in improvised shelters such as schools, colleges and local warehouses, while others stayed with friends and families. There were 40 shelters opened, housing approximately 1,765 people.