Dominican Republic and Haiti: Floods Appeal No. 13/2004 Operations Update No. 9

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In Brief

Period covered: 15 - 29 July, 2004

Appeal coverage: 118.3%;

Appeal history:

- Launched on 28 May 2004 for CHF 912,248 (USD 717,176 or EUR 592,446) for 3 months to assist 10,000 beneficiaries (2,000 families).

- Budget revised and increased to CHF 2,433,000 and the number of beneficiaries increased to 25,000 (5,000 families). The operation was extended by 3 months to 28 November 2004; Final Report is therefore due on 28 February 2005.

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 100,000

Outstanding needs: None

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Caribbean Annual Appeal 01.51/2004; Haiti Social Unrest Appeal 07/2004

Operational Summary: Rains have intensified over the island of Hispaniola in recent days. In the Bajo Yuna region of the Dominican Republic the rains are complicating the process of the distribution of relief items to those affected by the floods; however, additional measures have been taken to ensure that these distributions are carried out as planned.

On 29 July the first meeting was held in the Dominican Republic to address the transition from the emergency response phase of the relief operation to the rehabilitation and development phase. The meeting was led by the Dominican Red Cross (DRC), in coordination with the Federation. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , the Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), ECHO, USAID, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), OXFAM, the Spanish Society for Public Health and Sanitation Administration (SESPAS), the Dominican Centre for Emergency Operations (COE), and the Red Cross Societies of Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States. The Dominican Red Cross and the PNSs working in the country confirmed their support for the cooperation model coordinated by the Federation during the response phase, and expressed their desire to continue working in a coordinated way during the rehabilitation and development phase. The international organizations also shared information regarding their plans and expressed interest in coordinating efforts with the Red Cross. The information gathered during this meeting will be used to finalize the plans for the development phase of the operation.

In Haiti, no food distributions took place during the reporting period. However, a full survey was carried out by Haitian National Red Cross Society (HNRCS) volunteers. Based on the findings of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) working in Mapou, there are curre ntly no signs of malnutrition, and the WFP has decided to limit future distribution of food to the most vulnerable. Measures to enable people to grow their own food in the future , such as distributing seeds, will be required to ensure long-term food security in the region.

Haitian government agencies and other humanitarian actors will be responsible for this.

Background

Several days of heavy rains in late May brought devastating floods to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, causing several rivers to overflow. The majority of the damage was concentrated around the southern border region between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The latest available figures indicate that there are around 2,000 dead. Hundreds of people are still missing and are presumed dead. In addition, thousands more have been displaced by the flooding, which destroyed homes and crops throughout the affected areas.

In Haiti, the worst affected regions are the South, West and South East Departments. In the area surrounding the town of Mapou, in the South East Department, hundreds of homes in the area have been destroyed and the local water source has been contaminated by thousands of human and animal corpses. The villages of Barois (Bawa), Nan Galette, Na Roche and Saint Michel are in particular danger of further flooding should heavy rainfall in the region continue. In the West Department, at least 237 people died in the border town of Fonds Verrettes when a flash flood swept through the area. Relief operations in Haiti have been slowed as, until recently, many of the affected areas were only accessible by helicopter.

In the Dominican Republic, the hardest-hit areas are the Provinces of Independencia (the town of Jimaní, located on the border with Haiti), Elias Piña, Duarte and Sanchez Ramirez (the Bajo Yuna region). In Jimaní alone there are 393 dead and another 274 are missing. Throughout the country, 414 people lost their lives, more than 15,000 people and 3,000 homes have been affected by the floods, and 1,600 families are currently homeless. Many of the affected persons in the border region of the Dominican Republic are Haitian migrants, most undocumented. Access to these regions is improving slowly as roads are being repaired.

Operational developments

Rains have intensified in the region during the period covered by this report. Some areas of the Bajo Yuna region of the Dominican Republic have been recording rising river levels as a result of these increased rains. The Dominican Red Cross branches in the Dominican province of Duarte have maintained an alert in order to be able to respond quickly to any emergency that may arise. Red Cross branches in the Central District of Santo Domingo, such as the branches in Barahona Bay, have also been on alert for changing weather conditions and further flooding.

In the Dominican Republic, the distributions of kitchen kits, hygiene kits and mosquito nets will be finalized in the following days. Distributions of food items will begin again on 30 July.

In Haiti, as of the end of the reporting period, a total of 1,337 families had received plastic sheeting for the construction of temporary shelters. To date, 725 temporary shelters have been completed and another 528 are in construction and awaiting tarpaulin.

The water and sanitation situation in Mapou remains under control and the chlorination of water cisterns in the affected area has been completed. Although there is no sign of malnutrit ion at present, there is still a lack of basic food items in the region, as well as the means to produce food, which could pose a problem in the future.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In the Dominican Republic: Dominican Red Cross, Ligia Leroux, President; email cruz.roja@codetel.net.do, phone 1-809-238-5312, 1-809- 238-5252, fax 1-809-221-6716

In Haiti: Haitian National Red Cross Society, Michaèle Amédée Gédéon, President; email croroha@haitiworld.com, phone 509-510-9813, fax 509223-1054

In Panama: Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU), Nelson Castaño, Head of PADRU; email ifrcpa07@ifrc.org, phone 507-316-1001, fax 507-316-1082

In Geneva: Luis Luna, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department; email luis.luna@ifrc.org, phone 41-22-730-4274, fax 41-22-733-0395

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 http://www.ifrc.org

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