Congo

Republic of Congo: Floods in Pointe Noire - DREF operation n° MDRCG012 Update n°1

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Period covered by this update: 30 November to 31 December, 2012.

Summary: CHF 111,738 was initially allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 30 November, 2012 to support the National Society in delivering assistance to some 405 families, i.e. 2,025 beneficiaries. With this operations update a second allocation of CHF 156,252 from the DREF will be made to support additional beneficiaries, making the total allocation from the DREF to the operation CHF 267,990. This revised Plan of Action intends to assist a total of 1,181 families (5,875 beneficiaries).

On 17 to 18 November 2012, heavy rains hit Pointe Noire, the second largest city in the Republic of Congo, causing severe flooding of unprecedented magnitude in about ten years. Hundreds of families had to flee and many got stranded on rooftops, when water poured into their homes and flooded their houses. Roads were cut off by rushing waters and landslides. People were injured and there were cases of drowning and death.

The Congolese Red Cross (CRC) immediately mobilized its volunteers for search and rescue activities and tried to get an overview of the situation in and around the city. CRC identified 405 displaced families (2,025 persons), in need of emergency assistance. These families were relocated into two evacuation centres set up by the Congolese Government. CRC has so far been supporting the families to arrange for their lodging in the evacuation centres and providing them with basic household items.
CRC has also assisted the government to distribute food to the affected families. In addition, CRC has purified water wells, disinfected latrines and organized awareness-raising on water, sanitation and hygiene, reaching nearly 5,000 persons.

Widespread destruction of the drainage system, overflowed wells and latrines as well as stagnant water, caused concern, and a few weeks after the flooding, the first cholera case was recorded. To date, 59 cholera cases have been recorded and the infected persons are being treated in hospitals.
At the end of December, the government closed the two evacuation sites and the displaced families had to start moving back to their houses or find host families to lodge them, with their situation still being precarious.

CRC undertook a needs assessment in areas affected by the flooding in and around Pointe Noire.
Families still vulnerable due to displacement and exposed to increased health risks due to the flooding and heavy rain were identified. The assessment also identified 3,825 affected persons in the city of Pointe-Noire and 2,050 in Kouilou Division, making a total of 1,181 families (5,875 persons) affected. Out of these, 398 families (some 1,990 persons) have already been assisted through this DREF operation.

The revised DREF operation will therefore provide emergency shelter and basic household items for 578 families that have had to move back to their destroyed houses. Water, sanitation and hygiene activities will be targeting the affected 1,181 families in Pointe Noire and Kouilou Division, including health education, disease prevention and hygiene promotion, water purification, providing family latrines and Watsan and hygiene related NFIs. Cholera prevention awareness-raising will be provided to a wider population in the affected community, through awareness raising campaigns, radio messages, education meetings, referral of cases to health facilities, aiming to prevent cholera outbreak in the affected communities through provision of knowledge of early signs of cholera and where to seek help.
This DREF Operations Update No 1 is revising the plan of action and budget, as well as extending the timeframe from one (1) to four (4) months; i.e. until 31st March 2013. In line with Federation reporting standards, the final report (narrative and financial) is due 90 days after the end of the operation (by 31st May, 2013).

The major donors and partners of the DREF include the Red Cross Societies and governments of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the USA, as well as DG ECHO, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) the Medtronic, Z Zurich and Coca Cola Foundations and other corporate and private donors. Details of DREF contributions can be found on: http://www.ifrc.org/docs/appeals/Active/MAA00010_2012.pdf.