Haiti: Floods Appeal No. 22/04 Interim Final Report

Situation Report
Originally published


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In Brief

Appeal No. 22/2004; Interim Final Report; Period covered: September 2004 to March 2005; Final appeal coverage: 88.1%.

Appeal history:

- Launched on 22 September 2004 for CHF 4,246,000 for 6 months to assist 40,000 beneficiaries.

- Budget revised and increased to CHF 11,673,000 (USD 9,246,529 or EUR 7,515,212) to assist 50,000 beneficiaries for 6 months

- Plan of action revised and timeframe extended until 22 September 2005

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 150,000

- Outstanding Needs: CHF 1,391,825

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Caribbean Annual Appeal(01.51/2004); Caribbean Annual Appeal 2005(05AA041); Haiti Annual Appe al 2005 (05AA042); Haiti: Social Unrest Emergency Appeal (07/2004) and Dominican Republic & Haiti: Floods Appeal (13/2004)

Background and Summary

This interim final report on the Haiti floods relief operation following Hurricane Jeanne is accompanied by an interim final financial report to be attached shortly. The operation has been extended to 22 September 2005 and the final narrative and financial reports will therefore be issued in December 2005.

On 18 September 2004, heavy rains brought by the passage of Tropical Storm Jeanne caused violent flash floods in north-western Haiti. The official death toll stands at 1,800, while more than 800 remain unaccounted for. Deforestation, poverty and a lack of preparedness were the major causes of the disproportionately high loss of life as high waters drowned hundreds of people and buried a large region in mud. An estimated 300,000 people in at least eight communes in the region have been affected as a result of these devastating floods. The vulnerable, overcrowded town of Gonaïves and its environs, which has a popula tion of approximately 200,000, has been hardest hit. Homes and possessions were swept away in the floods, sewers and latrines overflowed and vast areas of economically vital agricultural land were destroyed. Estimates are that at least half the population in Gonaïves was severely affected. Flooded latrines and sewers contaminated the few available sources of fresh water. In addition, Gonaïves' main hospital as well as over 90 percent of the private clinics sustained considerable damage due to the flooding. A high water table and fragile organization have stymied efforts to remove the remaining stagnant water from the streets and vacant lots which are still covered in mud and debris. Many of Gonaïves' water channels and aqueducts are still clogged with mud and refuse.

The Federation's revised Emergency Appeal, launched on 5 October 2004, is based on the plan of action designed by the joint Haitian National Red Cross Society (HNRCS) / Federation Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT) which conducted a four-day assessment of the affected regions. The plan of action prioritizes emergency relief distributions of food and non-food items in addition to shelter, health and water and sanitation interventions. The plan also includes activities to strengthen the capacity of the HNRCS, which is now facing the third consecutive catastrophe in Haiti in only one year.

At the beginning of 2005 a temporary funding shortage was lifted and allowed the Federation to fully initiate the implementation of the relief programmes. Simultaneously, the Federation, in cooperation with the HNRCS, revised the overall appeal and worked on a detailed revised plan of action with a view to enhancing the objectives set out in the Emergency Appeal and to redirect efforts from relief to rehabilitation. The HNRCS and the Federation have drawn up a new timeframe, and implementation of the operation is scheduled for completion by 22 September 2005. The revised plan of action continues to target the most vulnerable communities in urban and rural sectors affected by the floods. It includes additional activities within the area of water and sanitation, disaster management and health and an innovative pilot project in the field of reconstruction-action research. It is anticipated that this six months' extension of the operation will provide a timeframe so that all the objectives of the appeal can be met and the projects be completed, thereby leaving the HNRCS well equipped to respond to future events.

During the course of the operation to date, several external factors hampered the relief activities of the appeal, the most severe of which are the precarious security situation, social tension and the absence of community structures. During the first months of the operation in particular, every distribution of relief aid was a major risk: trucks were looted or hijacked by armed persons when entering Gonaïves, leaving the warehouse or approaching a distribution point; food and non-food rations were reportedly being stolen from beneficiaries and armed gang members intimidated people heading home from distributions. As a consequence, each distribution of relief goods had to be carefully planned with the ICRC and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to guarantee an adequate level of security for the Red Cross and the beneficiaries, before, during and after distributions. However, the capacity of MINUSTAH soon became stretched to the limit and a rotation schedule for humanitarian organizations distributing relief aid was set up, thus restricting the number of weekly distributions for the Red Cross. In addition, despite preventive measures taken, relief items disappeared during transportation from the Federation warehouse to distribution points and at distributions.

Other challenges were presented by the short term deployment of members of the logistics Emergency Response Unit (ERU), who at times remained for less than two weeks. However, the most serious issue was the constant lack of delegates in the field as a result of which the implementation of some activities were delayed while others were postponed to the recovery and rehabilitation phase. In addition, the availability and quality of trucks together with truck owners' lack of respect of agreements added to the aforementioned difficulties in distributing relief aid to beneficiaries as planned.


The Federation and Partner National Societies in Haiti continue to coordinate their support to the Haitian National Red Cross Society in order to ensure adherence to the framework for the operation and to avoid duplication of efforts. In Port-au-Prince, the ICRC is consulted daily in connection with the security situation. At the field level, a close working relationship with the ICRC, which has supported the Federation in the design of security and evacuation plans, has been established. In addition, the Federation is ensuring close cooperation with UN agencies and other external partners in its effort to make the best use of available resources.

From the onset of the disaster, the Panama Regional Delegation and the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) have been working closely with the Federation delegation in Port au Prince and the Gonaïves Floods response office. The Federation Secretariat deployed a Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT) consisting of a team leader supported by technical delegates. As an example of cooperation with external actors, MSF/Belgium supplied the Federation with three bladders of 15,000 litres which were transported to Gonaïves by the French Red Cross. CARE and Action against Hunger assisted the Federation-deployed mass water team with the provision of water for distribution until the French Red Cross mass water and sanitation ERU was able to produce sufficient potable water. As a result of coordination with the World Food Programme, maximization of resources was ensured

with regard to the distribution of food parcels. In the field, the French Red Cross mass water and sanitation ERU participated in coordination meetings with other water and sanitation actors, such as OXFAM, Action against Hunger, CARE and the local water agency (SNEP). In addition, the field hospital's Norwegian Red Cross administrative staff were accommodated at the Federation's flood response office, while the ICRC delegate deployed to Gonaïves and French Red Cross delegates have frequently used the Federation's office facilities. In addition, close cooperation continues with the UN agencies and other humanitarian actors in the field.

The ICRC and partner National Society delegates in Gonaïves continue to participate in the daily meeting chaired by the Federation. During the entire operation this forum has proved to be an important tool for planning, coordination and information sharing.

Analysis of the operation - objectives, achievements, impact

This interim final report analyzes the objectives and activities set for the first six months of the Emergency Appeal.

Until February 2005 objectives had to be significantly reduced in terms of beneficiaries as a result of a temporary funding shortage and a lack of human resources in the field. The availability of new funds and delegates then allowed the Federation and the HNRCS to expand the areas of intervention as envisaged in the Emergency Appeal. Direct assistance activities carried out within the Appeal include the provision of food and non-food aid and shelter material to beneficiaries. An important health component was the establishment of a fully equipped 100-bed field hospital, jointly sponsored by the Canadian and Norwegian Red Cross Societies, and the rehabilitation of some of the buildings at La Providence, the region's main referral hospital, which was severely damaged by the floods. Other activities include water and sanitation initiatives, such as the provision of drinking water to the population of Gonaïves for three months and the start of rehabilitation of latrines.

HNRCS branch volunteers, themselves affected by the floods, played a key role in relief activities such as conducting surveys and distributing food and non-food aid. Volunteers will continue to be actively involved in the implementation of community based rehabilitation and recovery efforts.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Haiti: Haitian National Red Cross Society, Dr. Michaèle Amédée Gédéon, President, Port-au-Prince; email croroha@haitworld.com, phone (509) 510-9813, fax (509) 223-1054

In Haiti: Hans Havik, Federation Representative, Haiti Country Office, Port-au-Prince; email ifrcht03@ifrc.org, phone (509) 513-5067, fax (509) 221-8633

In Panama: Gilberto Guevara, Head of Regional Delegation, Panama; email ifrcpa51@ifrc.org, phone (507) 317-1300, fax (507) 317-1304

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

In Geneva: Luis Luna, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, Geneva; email luis.luna@ifrc.org, phone (41 22) 730-4273, 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

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.

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