Djibouti: Floods - Information Bulletin n° 3

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In Brief

This Information Bulletin (no. 3/2004) is being issued based on the needs described below reflecting the information available at this time. CHF 30,000 has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). The Federatio n does not anticipate further needs. Un-earmarked funds to repay the DREF are needed. No further Information Bulletins will be issued for this event.

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at

The Situation

Heavy storm from torrential rains and high winds in Djibouti town between Sunday 11 April and Tuesday 13 April caused structural damage and flash flooding in Djibouti town, washing away many homes between Djibouti town and Balbala. The Ambouli Quarter of Djibouti town was the most seriously affected. Official figures now confirm 53 people to have died in the flooding.

The Government has been focusing efforts on clearing up the flooded areas. U.S. military forces stationed in Djibouti assisted in pumping water back into the river while the national army cleared schools to get them back into operation. USAID provided the Ministry of Health with USD 300,000 for cholera kits, public information efforts, etc.

Overall, the current situation seems well in hand. The Federation Regional Disaster Management Coordinator arrived in Djibouti and from 19-22 April undertook an assessment of the damage from the flooding together with the Red Crescent Society of Djibouti. Their assessment confirmed that the situation is under control. (Assessment report available on request).

A plan of action drawn from the assessment stipulates the Red Crescent of Djibouti to be mainly involved in assisting the District authorities, civil society organizations and the national army in a clean up campaign and in providing water storage facility for flood victims. The Federation will support costs for per diems, transportation, drinking water and essential equipment (hats, face masks, gloves, bum boots and T shirts) for volunteers participating in the clean up. The Federation Regional Logistics Unit (Nairobi) has already procured and delivered 50 pairs of gum boots towards this.

The government has identified around 3,000 people or 500 families who are most affected. Their immediate needs for food and non food material will be met through distributions by three local organisations and new shipments from Dubai and Iran. As a result, the Federation will not be involved in the provision of non food items.

Most of the 1,500 people evacuated to Balbala 1 and Cheik Osman schools have returned to their homes and only 100 people are left. Only 450 people have been registered so far; the Red Crescent of Djibouti has offered 400 tarpaulins donated by ICRC and if necessary, will also provide wooden pole s and ropes. Consequently, initial plans by the Federation to procure additional tents have been suspended since the 100 family tents donated by UNHCR will be sufficient.

Water and sanitation supplies are available from UNICEF and WHO. Following a specific request from the government to the Red Crescent of Djibouti for the provision of essential drinking water supply at the proposed resettlement site of PK12 near Balbala, two 1,000 litre plastic tanks have been purchased and handed over to the government for installation. The Federation may also support the procurement and distribution of water chlorination tablets.

The health needs of the flood victims are being met by the Ministry of Health supported by WHO, UNICEF and USAID and so no Federation support is required in the area. Save for some cases of diarrhoea, no major disease outbreaks including cholera have been reported to date. Other donors are available to assist if necessary.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The Red Crescent of Djibouti has been coordinating with the Government and attending inter-agency meetings to agree its role as defined by the Government. The national society has previously assisted with non-food item distributions for displaced people and fire victims, with the assistance of ICRC/Djibouti; they recently recruited a disaster management officer and an information officer.

Red Crescent of Djibouti mobilized 40 volunteers immediately following the floods and dispatched them to their dispensary in Balbala. These volunteers are currently assisting in the clean up of garbage in the flood affected areas.

The Federation allocated CHF 30,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) which has been used to cover the assessment costs, to purchase equipment for use by volunteers in the clean up campaign, and to procure the two 1,000 litre plastic tanks which have been handed over to the government.

Coordination is strong between the Red Crescent of Djibouti, the Federation and ICRC; this is also the case with the key organisations in this response, most notably the Djibouti District Administration, Ministry of Health, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO and USAID.

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal for Djibouti, no. 01.02/2004.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Djibouti: Abdi Kaireh Bouh, Secretary General, Red Crescent Society of Djibouti, Djibouti; Email; Phone 253.352.270; Fax 25. 352.451

In Kenya: Susanna Cunningham, Federation Focal Person, East Africa Regional Delegation, Nairobi; Email; Phone; Fax

In Kenya: Steve Penny, Federation Disaster Management Coordinator, East Africa Regional Delegation, Nairobi; Email; Phone; Fax

In Geneva: Josse Gillijns, Federation Regional Officer for East Africa, Africa Regional Department Geneva; Email; Phone 41.22.730.42.24; Fax 41.22.733.03.95