Red Cross responds as flooding worsens in Africa

Report
from American Red Cross
Published on 06 Dec 2006
American Red Cross supports International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's relief efforts in the Horn of Africa

Karen Louise Boothe , Special to RedCross.org

A humanitarian response is building to support hundreds of thousands affected by floods that are ravaging the Horn of Africa, affecting people living in major geographical areas of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Conditions Worsen

The Horn of Africa is experiencing torrential rains that are causing widespread flooding. A regional drought in the spring of this year left parched land susceptible to devastating floods. Weather forecasts predict rain for several more weeks in parts of the region, which are likely to worsen flood conditions.

"The situation right now is that logistics of the humanitarian response project are hampered," says Tracy Reines, American Red Cross Senior Advisor for Relief in the International Disaster Response. "Those assisting with relief efforts are still assessing logistic conditions from the air. In some cases only helicopters can move commodities around due to impassable ground conditions. People also are cut off from their homes, communities and assistance distribution sites."

There remain shortages of food and clean drinking water. Access to medical care and basic social services is limited. Outbreaks of cholera have been detected, and there are concerns over malaria, typhoid, malnutrition and respiratory infections. There also are shortages of non-food items such as blankets, plastic sheeting and household goods.

Red Cross Assistance

The American Red Cross is supporting the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's (Movement) ongoing flood relief activities in the Horn of Africa. On Nov. 17, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Federation) issued a preliminary emergency appeal for $7.8 million to assist with flood relief in Kenya. In response, the American Red Cross is contributing $30,000 to the response. In addition, the American Red Cross is supporting the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) by contributing 20,000 mosquito nets and financial support for their mobilization. These insecticide-treated nets, distributed for the prevention of malaria, have been pre-positioned at the Federation's regional logistics unit warehouse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Previously, the American Red Cross has supported the KRCS by contributing $650,000 to the Federation's appeal in response to the regional drought in March of this year. The American Red Cross and the KRCS also have collaborated on food assistance, water and sanitation and primary health projects in recent years.

Additionally, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is supporting relief efforts in flood-affected areas of Somalia with approximately $2 million to be used for essential household items as well as seed distribution, fertilizers and agricultural tools. The American Red Cross is contributing $100,000 to the ICRC's response in Somalia.

In recent months, the American Red Cross also supported the Movement's response to flooding in the Horn of Africa region. In August of this year, the American Red Cross contributed to the Federation's emergency appeal following flooding in Ethiopia with a total of $85,000 for non-food relief items and two relief delegates for eight week deployments. In Sudan, the American Red Cross provided and funded the transport of 10,000 insecticide-treated nets from the regional logistics unit in Dubai to Khartoum, Sudan, in response to floods.

The American Red Cross has maintained a longstanding presence in the region and continues monitoring the situation through its International Disaster Response Unit at National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., as well as through its Kenya-based regional delegation. Over the coming weeks, the American Red Cross may engage in additional response activities, as more information becomes available.

To learn more about the American Red Cross and its role in international emergency response operations, visit the "International Services" section of RedCross.org.

You can help those affected by countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. Call 1-800-RED CROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation.

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