From 20 – 25 April 2012, the three islands of the Union of Comoros – Grande-Comore, Anjouan and Moheli - were hit by extremely high levels of torrential rains: 1,738 mm - almost seven times the average of 267 mm for the same month from 1971 to 2000 and representing 72 % of the total annual average of 1971-2000. On 25 April, a “State of National Disaster” was declared by the President of the Union of Comoros, followed by a request for international assistance.
The torrential rains caused substantial damage across all sectors of the economy, with total material damage directly related to the floods estimated at 20 million USD. They also affected 64,987 persons directly.
The rains caused rivers to overflow and change their natural beds, resulted in massive flooding, mudslides and rockslides, destroyed agricultural lands, loss of farm animals, damage to roads and other infrastructure, and caused extensive damage to housing and community assets.
Overflowing of latrines and water tanks exposed the affected population to risks of water-borne diseases and outbreaks of epidemics.
The Government of the Union of Comoros, with support from the UN System and the international community, responded quickly with an initial UNDAC mission undertaken in early May and deployment of staff by several agencies. A CERF allocation of USD 2,522,639 was approved in early May, complemented by a number of additional donor allocations of approximately USD 5.6 million.
The present plan outlines priorities and strategic responses for continued humanitarian needs and recovery from the emergency for the directly affected communities. At the same time, given the weaknesses and gaps in disaster risk reduction (DRR) capacity observed during the response to the flood disaster, and the Comoros’ vulnerability to a wide array of natural disasters of increasing frequency and severity, the Plan proposes priority measures for reinforcing national disaster preparedness across all sectors and from national to community levels.