OCHA - Geneva Natural Disasters Highlights No. 1

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 02 Jun 2005


SNAPSHOT

UNDAC Teams deployment since 01 Jan. 2005 - to date:

- Sri Lanka-Earthquake/Tsunami

- Maldives-Earthquake/Tsunami

- Thailand-Earthquake/Tsunami

- Indonesia-Earthquake/Tsunami

- Seychelles-Earthquake/Tsunami

- Guyana - Floods

- Tokelau - Cyclone Percy

- Cook Islands- Cyclone Percy

- Dominican Republic. - Floods

- Indonesia - Earthquake

ASSISTANT EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR AND DIRECTOR OF OCHA GENEVA, MISSIONS TO:

- Abu Dhabi - ODSG Meeting, 7-10 May 2005

- Tenerife - High Level Seminar on Africa, 10-13 May 2005

- Stockholm - ODSG Meeting, 25-27 May 2005

- Central African Republic, 26 June-3 July2005

- Thailand - Donor Meeting, 8-11 June 2005

- Medan, Indonesia - Regional Workshop on Tsunami Lessons Learned, 13-14 June 2005

Flash Appeal – Niger



19 May 2005: The United Nations issued a Flash Appeal for Niger, asking for USD$16,191,000 to combat the severe food crisis threatening the country. Immediate needs include food aid for some 3.6 million people in 3,815 villages. A total of 800,000 children under 5 are now suffering from hunger, including 150,000 who are suffering from severe malnutrition. The Appeal covers the lean season, until the end of September. Affected areas include: Tillabéri, Tahoua, Maradi, Diffa, Agadez, and Zinder. The food crisis is compounded by the locust infestation of 2004 and drought. In 2004, Niger was severely hit by the worst desert locust invasion in 15 years.

Indonesia Flash Floods, April 2005:

Two days of torrential rains caused the Lawe Alas River to overflow on 26 April triggering flash floods in Aceh Tenggara District, Badar Sub-District. The flash floods killed 15 people and injured 18 others. Twenty-nine people are still reported missing. OCHA Indonesia continues to be in close contact with relevant government institutions at the central, provincial and district levels, as well as with IFRC/PMI to monitor the situation.

Ethiopia Floods, April 2005:

The number of confirmed dead and missing in Ethiopia continues to rise following the devastating floods that have submerged parts of Somali Region after the Wabe Shebelle river burst its banks overnight on 23 April. Thousands more remain homeless and emergency relief teams are hampered in their efforts to provide assistance, as many areas remain inaccessible, communication is poor. OCHA is coordinating the UN interventions with the local authorities and the Federal Disaster Prevention & Preparedness Commission (DPPC), identifying priority areas and needs.

Karthala Volcano, April 2005:

The activity of the Karthala Volcano in Comoros has receded over the past week. On Saturday 23 April 2005, the National Documentation and Scientific Research Centre organised a press conference, during which the team of vulcanologists from La Réunion (France) indicated that the eruption is over, but that the possibility of a new eruption in the coming weeks or months cannot be excluded. OCHA Regional Office is maintaining regular contact with the Resident Coordinator in order to determine additional coordination support needs.

The 2005 Joint humanitarian Appeal for Ethiopia: (4 May 2005) The Ethiopian Government and humanitarian partners issued a Flash Update to the 2005 Joint Humanitarian Appeal for Ethiopia, asking for US$320 million, of which 47 percent has been secured, to urgently address the deteriorating humanitarian conditions that are threatening the country. The original appeal for Ethiopia sought US$272 million.

Tsunami and environmental issues, April 2005: The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit conducted Rapid Environmental Assessments in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives to identify any acute environmental impacts with immediate relevance to human life and response efforts. These efforts were carried out in collaboration with UNDAC teams.

Various agencies and mechanisms (UNDAC, Joint Unit, UNDP, UNEP) contributed to the development of specific pilot projects to manage emergency waste.

Serbia and Montenegro Floods, May 2005: Given the extent of damage caused by several days of torrential rains and subsequent failure of dams in Eastern Serbia, particularly in the Municipalities of Secanj, Zitiste, Bela Crkva and Plandiste, the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Council of Ministers of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro have appealed for international solidarity to assist thousands of families rendered homeless and deprived of their possession. OCHA is releasing a USD 30,000 emergency cash grant through UNDP.

Romania Floods, May 2005:

During the first two weeks of May 2005, floods struck the western region of Romania, mainly affecting 3 counties: Arad, Caras-Severin and Timis . About 4400 houses have been flooded and damaged, with 650 houses completely destroyed. The total number of outbuildings (mainly stables) flooded is around 5000. 113,000 ha of land for agriculture have been inundated and the estimated amount of water covering the region is 200 million cubic metres. 3400 people have been evacuated with the majority of people housed in different shelters (ranging from tents to schools gyms). 47 public buildings (churches, health clinics, town halls) were also flooded. OCHA has agreed to provide the Government of Romania with an Emergency Grant of 30,000 USD to be channelled through the UNDP in Romania.

Havana, Cuba, June 2005: The Association of Caribbean States (ACS) has convened the 10th Meeting of its Special Committee on Natural Disasters. UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland will give the opening statement. Three following days after the Special Committee session will be dedicated to the ACS "Seminar for National Authorities: Risk Management Policies, Systems and Successful Experiences in the Caribbean", 1-3 June 2005, with support from UNDP, UN OCHA and Cuban Civil Defence

From 5-9 June 2005, OCHA is organizing the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) OSOCC training course in Montserrat, in the Caribbean region, and collaborating in a disaster simulation exercise organised by the Emergency Department of Montserrat. (5 -9 June 2005).

HUMANITARIAN AGENDA

This section is composed of events related to humanitarian affairs taking place in Geneva:

- ILO - General Conference, 93rd session (31 May - 16 June)

- ESIL Research Forum on International Law: Contemporary Issues - 26 May 2005

- " De la première guerre mondiale au tsunami: rétablissement des liens familiaux et de l'espoir par le CICRC ", 2 June 2005, ICRC

- HELP. Profession: Humanitarian Worker, 22 Sept-17 July 2005, ICRC Museum

For information contact:

Advocacy & External Relations Section OCHA-Geneva (AERS):
Elizabeth Byrs
P.I and Spokesperson
AERS OCHA Geneva
Tel. +41 22 917 26 53
Fax: +41 22 917 00 20
E-mail: byrs@un.org

More information can be found on Relief web and OCHA on line websites:

- www.reliefweb.int

- http://ochaonline.un.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.