The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of National Societies to respond to disasters.
Summary: CHF 58,070 was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 20 April, 2009 to support the Gabonese Red Cross Society in delivering assistance to some 800 beneficiaries.
Serious violent winds occurred in the Mouila Council (chief place of the Ngounie Region of Gabon) and in Libreville, the capital of the country in April 2009, causing considerable material damages that required immediate action to help and protect affected people. The International Federation allocated funds from its DREF. These funds have been used to distribute blankets, mosquito nets, tarpaulins, soap and cooking kits to about 160 affected families, i.e. 800 people reached. These people reached also received financial support to rebuild their houses that had been destroyed by the violent winds. This operation contributed to enhancing the operation capacities of the Gabonese Red Cross Society as the volunteers who were involved seized the opportunity to learn by doing along side with the Federation-sent Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) members.
The major donors to the DREF are the Irish, Italian, Netherlands and Norwegian governments and ECHO. Details of all donors can be found on http://www.ifrc.org/what/disasters/responding/drs/tools/dref/donors.asp
Since the end of February 2009, Gabon was exposed to torrential rains accompanied by floods and violent winds, particularly in the Nyanga region, precisely in the Moulengui Bindza division, a bordering city with the Republic of Congo located over 600 km from Libreville. In April, the situation worsened as strong winds occurred in Libreville and in the Mouila region, causing serious material damages and leaving many homeless people.
The Red Cross identified 160 most affected families, i.e. 800 people needing immediate assistance, and DREF funds were allocated to facilitate the operation. The proposed plan of action was implemented as planned. Non-food items were distributed, and sensitization sessions were carried out to help reduce the risks of violent winds. However, it should be noted that the Red Cross only assisted the must vulnerable people affected. There are many more affected people awaiting relief assistance, and Gabon Red Cross authorities were pursuing their advocacy activities before Government to make sure that the other vulnerable people are assisted.