This Emergency Appeal seeks a total of 2.4 million Swiss francs to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Comoros Red Crescent Society (CoRC) to deliver assistance to some 20,000 people for 12 months, in Grande Comore, Moheli, and Anjouan Islands with a focus on Shelter and Household items (HH items); Community Based Health and First aid (CBHFA); Health, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Protection and Gender and Inclusion (PGI). Across all these interventions, IFRC will work closely with CoRC towards achieving cohesive National Society capacity strengthening in emergencies. The planned response reflects the current situation and information available at this time of the evolving operation.
The Operational Strategy
Summary of Red Crescent response to date
The initial CoRC response and early actions include the following:
The National Society volunteers conducted awareness activities targeting households at risk, to help them strengthen the roofs of their houses and provided early warning for appropriate preventive measures as the Tropical Cyclone Kenneth moved toward the Comoros. While the cyclone was making landfall, the following activities were conducted: ▪ Participation in the coordination meetings with Direction Générale de la Sécurité Civile (DGSC, exCOSEP), OCHA and partners, with support from the IFRC and Plateforme d’Intervention Regional de l’Ocean Indien Croix Rouge Francaise (PIROI/CRF). ▪ Mobilization of 100 volunteers amongst whom 40 focusing in the north of Grande Comore and 10 in Moheli to provide early warning messaging for preparedness measures and safe evacuation. ▪ In Anjouan, the Secretary General of the CoRC branch participated in the local governorate crisis unit. ▪ Rapid needs assessments have been implemented by volunteers during the first week to ascertain the scale of the needs on the ground. The assessment team is compiling data and will inform the operational strategy, to allow the CoRC to position itself in the overall response to the current disaster.
The initial response includes emergency shelter and HH items distribution for the most vulnerable affected people in the three islands. During the initial phase shelter(two tarpaulins/households and tool kits) and HH items have been distributed to 500 households or 2,500 people. About 500 households kits have been distributed in the priority areas, identified through the multi sector assessment.
Needs assessment and targeted communities
The rapid multisector assessments indicate that approximately 325,000 people have been affected. Grande Comore, Moheli, and Anjouan Islands have been impacted, with some flooded areas. Seventeen communes have been highly affected, counting 185,000 people.
According to the needs assessment, 19,372 houses have reportedly been affected by winds or flooded, respectively 14,790 partially damaged, and 4,582 destroyed. Prior to landfall of cyclones, most of households at risk have been evacuated (moved out) to evacuation centres such as schools and sheltered within host families. These households are likely to stay in the evacuation centres and with host families while more durable early recovery and return strategies are put in place.
There is a need for provision of emergency shelter construction materials and alternative housing solutions, especially for families whose houses have been completely destroyed. It is also necessary to provide support, in the form of cash and or materials to improve the shelters of those whose houses have been partially destroyed. This support will be done through distribution of emergency shelter tools kits, tarpaulins and other items needed to build back better.
In addition, to the emergency shelter needs, affected families whose houses have been completely destroyed will require essential HH items, including kitchen sets, sleeping mats, lanterns, stoves etc., to ensure that at least their immediate needs are met.
Focus will be on recovery phase, proposing integrated resilience project, including Build Back Better and Safer as well as Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA) to improve construction practices, in accordance with related Ministry and partners such as UN-habitat, Good practice for safer environment is considered.
During evacuation, many people who were injured need first aid and medical care. Infectious diseases are already increasing in the aftermath of the disaster. Due to the flooding, congregation and unhygienic conditions in the shelters and in damaged houses, there is an increased risk of other outbreaks such as malaria and other diarrheal diseases. Outbreak of respiratory infections and vaccine-preventable diseases is a risk among affected people with an insufficient vaccination coverage. Psychosocial support is also needed especially for children to overcome trauma.
While the emergency response phase is ongoing, a detailed assessment will be carried out to develop a recovery strategy to restore and rehabilitate community water and sanitation facilities. At this stage, a tentative target of 1,000 households or 5,000 people will be supported with sanitation facilities at household level linked to the shelter plans and integrated among sectors. A low-cost latrine for rural and/or urban areas is to be designed with local technicians. Poor hygiene and sanitation conditions are likely to spread vector borne diseases. The operation includes hygiene promotion and distribution of mosquito nets for vector control.
In addition, 20 public schools will be supported with sanitation facilities and water tanks, teacher training, tools and materials, and awareness of children on WASH good practices. This will be done with a specific attention given to girls and ensuring child protection standards.
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
People living in islands don’t have access to lead time cyclone warning to undertake preparedness actions. If there had been a community-based early warning system in place, the risk of damage to lives and belongings could have been reduced significantly. The assessment has identified needs for community-based cyclone preparedness, including an early warning and dissemination system.
Targeting of affected people The operation will establish inclusive criteria to mitigate the risk of discrimination in the selection process. The Shelter, Health and WASH interventions focus on consideration of privacy and dignity of women, children, elderly, person with disability including appropriate design of latrines and ensuing that women and girls are engaged during assessment and programme development. Cash support will target women and child heading households to increase their self-recovery efforts and mitigate risk of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
Coordination and partnerships
Response coordination has been set up according to the National contingency plan with a co-lead by DGSC and OCHA. Necessary sectors have been established as per follow: Health/Nutrition, Education/Protection, Food security/Agriculture, WASH, Shelter, Logistics. Among those, three sectors have been defined has a priority: Food security/Agriculture, Health/Nutrition, Shelter/HH items. IFRC and CoRC are active in the coordination and co-lead the Shelter/HH items cluster.
CoRC is solicited by partners to implement distributions, such as food parcels (WFP), WASH items (UNICEF) and shelter (UNDP). Discussions are ongoing.
IFRC provides support to CoRC through its Indian Ocean Islands and Djibouti Country Cluster Support Team (IOID CCST) office based in Antananarivo, Madagascar. IFRC supports organizational development and coordination between International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Movement) partners, UN organizations, International NGOs and Government disaster management authorities. IFRC is in contact with the UN coordination country team to ensure coordination and synergies.
IFRC Regional Office for Africa is providing strategic guidance and technical support in developing response strategies and coordination with Movement and non-Movement partners.