Republic of Congo: Floods in Brazzaville DREF operation n° MDRCG013

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CHF 187,950 has been allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the National Society in delivering immediate assistance to 2,500 beneficiaries.Un-earmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

Summary: After the flooding in the city of Pointe-Noire in November 2012, torrential rains hit Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo between 8 and 9 December 2012, causing material damages and casualties. A rapid assessment conducted by Congolese Red Cross (CRC) volunteers indicated that there are 14 fatalities, dozens of people injured and several persons missing. In addition, more than 1,000 houses have been completely or partially destroyed leaving about 1,500 families (around 7,500 persons)homeless.

The flood affected families initially sought refuge in makeshift sites like schools, sports centres and cultural centres. However, the schools had to be evacuated so as not to disrupt schooling and as the floodwaters recede, those displaced have been asked to return to their respective neighbourhoods. On return the displaced families are either staying in badly damaged homes or being hosted by neighbours within the disaster zone whose houses were not destroyed and still intact. Those living in their partially destroyed houses are living in very precarious conditions with high exposure to epidemics and have lost all of their belongings and means of livelihood.

CRC volunteers deployed to the field have supported those affected through evacuation to safer areas, and conducted sensitizations on the risks of a cholera epidemic targeting the affected families. Further assessments are being undertaken by the volunteers in the affected areas in order to determine the needs of those affected. Initial consultations with local leaders and heads of affected households indicate that those affected by the floods are in dire need of temporary shelters (tarpaulins) and basic household items. Furthermore, there is a need for water and sanitation activities as the risk of epidemic outbreaks are high due to water contamination, flooded latrines and disrupted water supplies.

The CRC would like to immediately carry out an awareness raising campaign on water-borne diseases focussing mainly on cholera, conduct hygiene and sanitation promotion campaigns including disinfection of contaminated areas and purification of drinking water in order to decrease the risk of epidemic outbreaks as well as provide emergency shelter and basic household items to the most vulnerable families.

The proposed DREF operation implemented by CRC will consist of the following components:

1) An in-depth assessment of the scope and needs of the affected population in order to inform on any revisions needed on the assistance provided as well as inform plans for a sustainable response to reduce risk relating to floods.

2) Emergency shelter and basic household items provided to the most vulnerable families affected by the disaster, in order to respond to their urgent needs.

3) Immediate intervention to reduce the risk for waterborne and water related diseases in the two targeted evacuation sites, through water, sanitation and hygiene interventions.

4) Review of the intervention in the end of the DREF operation, in order to assess achievements, review lessons learned, and provide recommendations for future similar operations.

This operation is expected to be implemented over 3 months, and will therefore be completed by 18 March, 2013; a Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by 18 June 2013).