Dominican Rep. + 1 more

Caribbean Region Appeal No. 01.51/2004 Programme Update No. 1


The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries. For more information:
In Brief

Appeal No. 01.51/2004; Programme Update no. 01, Period covered: 01 January to 31 May 2004; Appeal coverage: 22.4%; Outstanding needs: CHF 1,259,446 (USD 1,005,138 or EUR 826,177).

Appeal target: CHF 1,622,161 (USD 1,282,518 or EUR 1,046,612)

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Caribbean Annual Appeal (01.52/2004), Central America Annual Appeal (01.53/2004), South America Annual Appeal (01.54/2004), Haiti Social Unrest Emergency Appeal (07/2004), Dominican Republic & Haiti Floods Emergency Appeal (13/2004). Programme summary: Programmes and projects in the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) during the first four months of the year have been seriously hampered by a lack of funding which has been extremely low during this period. This has seriously restricted PADRU's ability to run and manage disaster preparedness and response projects. An evaluation of PADRU is being carried out in late May/June, at which time the funding situation is expected to improve as many donors have chosen to await the outcome of the evaluation before making contributions; however, during the first part of 2004 activities had to be scaled back significantly.

During the first four months of the year, PADRU focused its activities on preparations for the Unit's evaluation, which will be carried out in June. The evaluation will examine the function of PADRU within the regional and global context, the perception of the Unit, its compatibility within the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, and the Unit's place within the Federation's change process.

Another focus for PADRU during this period was the X Meeting of Presidents and Technical Seminars for South America, held in Montevideo, Uruguay. The meeting served to raise awareness and knowledge of the Plan of Action of the Inter American Conference which was used as the main tool in all working groups throughout the meeting. PADRU facilitated the discussion on disaster management, guided by the Americas disaster strategy, which also came out of the Inter American Conference.

In disaster response, much of the work of PADRU was ce ntred on following up on the relief operations that were started at the end of 2003, such as the flood operations in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In February, an emergency operation began in Haiti to respond to the social unrest in that country. In May, serious flooding occurred in Haiti and the Dominican Republic for which PADRU provided response. Therelief operations in the Dominican Republic and Haiti are ongoing. In addition, PADRU responded to flooding and an outbreak of yellow fever in Colombia during the period covered by this report.

Much attention was also focused on the five countries in the Andean region of South America where PADRU and the disaster management delegate from the Lima Regional Delegation were working with the Pan American Health Organizations (PAHO) to formulate the Andean Disaster Plan. This collaboration also included the members of the Federation's regional health team.

In telecommunications, PADRU has made considerable changes in the telecommunications structure in Haiti through activities that were developed jointly with the ICRC and the Haitian National Red Cross Society. PADRU also successfully completed a disaster simulation carried out in Colombia with the Ericsson Response programme.

Operational developments

In South America, the early part of 2004 has been characterized by a general situation of instability and social tension in several parts of the region. Mass demonstrations occurred in a number of countries, such as Venezuela, which is divided among supporters of President Hugo Chavez and those who are struggling for a referendum to end his mandate. In countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, there were demonstrations by the indigenous populations and coca farmers. Many of the demonstrations ended in violent clashes between the police and civilians, causing injuries and increased insecurity among the general population.

Seasonal rains and droughts affected Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, which caused some minor emergencies that were managed by the respective National Societies. Information bulletins were issued on the Federation's webpage. In April, the rains in Colombia intensified, causing the flooding of several main rivers and resulting in emergency situations throughout the country, including in the capital city, Bogotá. Funds from the Federation's disaster response emergency (DREF) Fund were allocated for the relief operations implemented by the Colombian Red Cross Society.

The precarious situation in Haiti, which is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, degenerated significantly in February as rebel groups clashed with government supporters and the country suffered increasing degrees of violence and insecurity. By the end of February, rebel factions held large portions of the country, including the second largest town, Cap-Haitien. The crisis culminated on 29 February as President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled the country. A transition government was formed on 17 March and, although the situation has gradually improved since then, the context remains difficult. The Federation launched an emergency appeal for the Haiti Social Unrest on 5 March (Appeal 07/04) that is attempting to address the acute needs of the population. The situation in Haiti was compounded in late May by severe flooding that affected the border region between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The flooding in Haiti and the Dominican Republic caused serious damage and heavy loss of life in both countries. Media reports from 27 May place the death toll in the two countries between 500 and 2,000 people. In the Haitian community of Mapou, 300 bodies have been counted thus far, but Haiti's Civil Protection Agency fears that that figure could be as high as 1,000. The mortality figure continues to rise as more areas are reached by assessment teams. In the Dominican Republic, the worst flooding has occurred in the south, northwest and northeast parts of the country and in districts close to the capital city of Santo Domingo. The flooding has caused hundreds of deaths and destroyed thousands of homes. In Jimaní, in the Province of Independencia , which is located on the border with Haiti, some 300 bodies have been recovered and another 361 people are still reported missing. The Federation launched an emergency appeal for the flooding in the Dominican Republic and Haiti on 28 May (Appeal 13/2004) and more information is available on the Federation's webpage (

In May, a red alert was declared in the Caribbean region of Costa Rica due to flooding after heavy rains. The rains began on 6 May and caused flooding in Sarapiqui, Pococi, Siquirres, Matina and Limón on the Caribbean coast. Swelled river levels were also reported in Turrialba, closer inland to the capital city of San Jose. The rains caused two deaths and forced 2,056 persons out of their homes and into the 24 shelters located in the region.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Panama: Nelson Castaño, Head of Pan American Disaster Response Unit, Panama; email, phone (507) 316-1001, fax (507) 316-1082

In Geneva: Iain Logan, Operations Manager for the Americas, Geneva; email, phone (41 22) 730-4984, fax (41 22) 733-0395

In Geneva: Olaug Bergseth, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, Geneva; email, phone (41 22) 730-4535, fax (41 22) 733-0395

This Programme Update reflects activities to be implemented over a one-year period. This forms part of, and is based on, longer-term, multi-year planning (refer below to access the detailed logframe documents). 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

(pdf* format - 275 KB)