A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
In the northern part of the Republic of Congo, heavy rainfall has been observed since September 2021, when the rainy season had just begun. According to the Government's satellite data, the rains of 29 November 2021 caused a significant rise of the water level of the river by 2.4m above the riverbed and led to the total or partial flooding of several villages, neighbourhoods and districts. The departments most affected were Likouala (Bétou, Epéna and Dongou districts), Sangha, Cuvette and Plateaux.
In addition to these affected localities in the countryside, several neighbourhoods in the cities of Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville were affected, where several thousand people were forced to leave their homes and lost their livelihoods. In response to this disaster, the Congolese government declared a state of emergency by letter No. 210844/PM/CAB of 29 November 2021.
According to preliminary reports from the Government coordination meetings, it is estimated that more than 46,652 people have been affected by the floods in the departments along the main rivers including Likouala, Sangha, Cuvette and the Plateaux. The department of Likouala has approximately 34,543 people affected (Bétou, Epéna and Dongou districts). According to Red Cross reports, people are missing in the two target departments: 15 people drowned by surprise with the sudden rise in water, 06 bodies were taken to Tchikapika and buried with the assistance of CRC volunteers while 9 people have been declared missing. To date, the data collected from the government and CRC agents show that 1,721 houses have been damaged or destroyed in the Cuvette and the Plateaux; and equipment and people reported missing in all localities. Fifteen (15) villages were flooded in the district of Pikounda in the department of Sangha. The Cuvette department has around 4,909 people affected, including 1,341 displaced people and 933 homeless people. The district of Bokoma in the Cuvette has 2,635 people affected. The district of Oyo, in Tchikapika and Loboko, bordering respectively the large rivers Alima and Kouyou, are the most affected.
The Plateaux department has around 7,200 people affected, including 3,890 homeless people in the localities of Moyi forêt, Moyi fleuve and Mopongo. These homeless people are the ones who were the most affected because they were completely flooded by the waters that washed away their belongings and the surrounding crops. The affected population is exposed to bad weather, poor hygiene and waterborne diseases due to the lack of clean water. Heavy flooding has destroyed fields and livestock, drastically reducing livelihoods. Disaster-affected families are being accommodated in a few host families living on farmland, schools and religious sites on high ground. According to the Government, for the two affected departments, about 6,552 people have been relocated (source: Government). The Red Cross has mobilised in the four affected departments to provide first aid support.
Given the above, the current situation requires a thorough multi-sectoral assessment that will enable the Congolese Red Cross to organise effective assistance in the targeted areas, with the support of Red Cross Movement partners.
The affected areas are landlocked and difficult to access, in addition to the weak presence of the Red Cross.
Summary of the current response
Overview of the Host National Society's response
From the beginning of the disaster, the two CRC departmental branches deployed 300 volunteers in all affected areas to carry out emergency relief activities and 100 in the affected localities of the Cuvette and Plateaux.
In coordination with CRC headquarters, the following activities were undertaken:
First aid and evacuation of the injured, with 78 people rescued and transported to the almost non-existent health centres in Makotimpoko and the transport of 54 seriously injured people from Loboko to the health centres in Tchikapika and Oyo, which were themselves overwhelmed and affected.
The search of missing persons and management of mortal remains in Cuvette and Plateaux – indeed,15 people drowned by surprise with the sudden rise in water levels, 06 bodies were taken to Tchikapika and buried with the assistance of CRC volunteers and 9 people reported missing.
A team of 7 volunteers in the Cuvette department and 5 volunteers in the Plateaux department trained in basic knowledge of Restoring Family Links (RFL) as part of the RFL/CRC-ICR programme. They oversee RFL issues, particularly in the search for missing persons and the psychosocial care of abandoned elderly people. These 2 RFL teams work under the supervision of the NS RFL Coordinator;
A group of 20 volunteers in each department has been deployed to search for cases of diarrhoeal diseases in the communities.
Participation in the various crisis committee meetings organised by the local authorities in the 2 target departments.
In some localities, CRC volunteers contributed to the distribution of some donations (rice, oil, tins of food, spaghetti, salt, bars of soap, etc.) offered to the affected by some public officials or local notables, such as in Oyo and Tchikapika in the Cuvette.
As part of the implementation of the Population Movement DREF operation in Yumbi (2019), volunteers in the departments of Cuvette and Plateaux acquired basic experience in the concepts of psychosocial support for victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The CRC branches in the targeted departments have also gained capacity building as part of the 2020 EVD Preparedness DREF Operation, which could be put to good use in responding to this emergency.
However, taking the above into account, the CRC branches in the affected departments do not have sufficient capacities to respond to the needs identified in Tchikapika, Oyo, Loboko, Bokoma in the Cuvette and Makotimpko,
Mopongo, Moyi forêt and Moyi fleuve in the Plateaux following the floods. Volunteers in the Cuvette and Plateaux departments have very limited experience in carrying out initial assessment activities, assistance to disaster-affected communities, CASH (cash transfer) activities and post-operation monitoring.