Haiti + 1 more

Haiti: Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 5

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2004/0083
OCHA Situation Report No. 5
Floods - Haiti/Dominican Republic
28 May 2004
This report is based on information provided by the UN Country Team in Haiti.

1. The delivery of food, water, non-food items and medical supplies is continuing.

2. However, the final delivery of yesterday to Fonds Verrettes led to some disturbances during which some medical supplies were stolen, including chlorine. Intitial reports suggest that this was due to a lack of communications and therefore lack of preparation on the ground for the immediate distribution. The Department of Civil Protection of the Haitian Home Ministry has been informed, and measures are being planned to improve both communications and to strengthen the Haitian Police presence in Fonds Verrrettes. While there are no reports of injuries in the incident, it is possible that deliveries may be reduced to allow the situation to be clarified and preventative measures to be put in place to avoid repetition.

3. Yesterday an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.4 occurred in the flood affected areas (according to the Dominican Seismology Institute). There has been no report on damage relating to this earthquake.

Mapou/ Belle Anse (South-East Department)

4. ICRC reports that around Mapou, some 175 bodies have already been recovered and buried but there is still an estimated 1,500 missing, some of whom are feared dead. There are only a small number of injured people in and around Mapou.

5. The situation in the southern area of Mapou and surrounding areas continues to be of great concern even though there are reports that the flooding has gone down by around a metre over the last day. Those who dealt with previous emergency in the Mapou area report that after hurricane Georges in 1998, there was standing water in the Mapou area for some two years due to its position in a basin, with clay soil and no drainage available.

6. A Zodiac small boat has been delivered to Mapou, providing the only possibility of transport and communication. The boat is being used as a priority to recover the bodies in the water.

7. There are now sufficient medical staff in Mapou including a doctor from the French Red Cross, a nurse from Médecins du Monde, and two Cuban doctors who walked from Thiottes to Mapou. A small field medical post has been set up with 10 beds. Most of those being treated are for non-crisis related medical problems.

8. A major concern around Mapou is the burial of dead livestock. There is an urgent need for 500 kilogrammes of quick lime.

Other Areas

9. According to ICRC, there were 65 dead in the village of Barois alone and a further 32 missing. The villages of Barois, Nan Galettes and Goulout will be at risk if there is further rain, particularly in terms of landslides and rock falls. ICRC will discuss the possibility of temporary relocation of these populations with the Government through Civil Protection. In Marigot, on the South coast, the water system has been washed away.

In-country and International Response

- Coordination/ Needs Assessment

10. The 4-member United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team has now been constituted in Port-au-Prince. After consultations with most stakeholders, the team has deployed to the affected areas in order to coordinate the ongoing evaluations and deliveries. The team is at the same time running an operations room in the UN offices in the capital to consolidate information and improve communications and coordination.

11. In all the affected areas, teams organized by the Department of Civil Protection are continuing to gather information on the affected population and coordinating support for distributions.

12. A Haitian police helicopter yesterday provided transport for NGOs to carry out assessments in the area between Jacmel and the frontier with the Dominican Republic. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) was amongst the NGOs taking part along with local leaders.

- Activities by Sectors

13. HEALTH: Over the last 24 hours there have been three medical evacuations by the Multinational Interim Force (MIF) in coordination with Médecins sans frontières (MSF) and WHO/PAHO with the victims being treated at the St. Francois De Salles private hospital in Port-au-Prince. MSF report that they are attempting to deploy a psychiatrist to the effected areas.

14. FOOD: WFP reported that 20 tons of food was distributed on 29 May in Mapou to 889 families and the remaining 600 families should receive assistance by helicopter on Sunday 30 May. Meanwhile, 40 tons of food were delivered to 2,000 families in Fonds Verrettes. The distributions in both locations went without incident. CRS has sent from Marigot two lorries of food for 450 families for two weeks in the flood area.

15. LOGISTICS: WFP reported that the first 4x4 vehicles arrived by land at Fonds Verrettes. As the roads are severely damaged, the vehicles will require major repairs before they are passable.

16. WATER: Oxfam plans to send 28 metric tons of water in the coming days to Fonds Verrettes when helicopter support is available. MIF intends to transport 500 gallons daily in a mobile cistern.

17. EDUCATION: In cooperation with NGO partners, UNICEF has begun to draw up a short and medium-term plan centred on measures to allow the completion of the current school year. This will probably require the establishment of temporary school units while the damaged schools are repaired, and it is anticipated that the temporary schools will continue to operate into the start of the next school year in September.

18. PROTECTION/UNIFICATION OF FAMILIES: UNICEF has drawn up a questionnaire to identify separated children. They will be assisted in this by Action Aid, Concern and other NGOs. They expressed the need for psychiatrists to attend to children suffering from trauma. L'Union des Médecins Haïtiens, one of the associations of Haitian doctors, offered their support in this effort.

19. AGRICULTURE: FAO has held initial discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture and NGO partners such as Oxfam and Agro Action Allemande (AAA), and intends to initiate an evaluation of the damage and urgent needs in the sector early this week. AAA has made available EUR 5,000 (USD 5,900) for the agricultural sector.

Financial contribution

20. The United States has provided USD 300,000 for emergency non-food relief to the victims of the floods. This will be channeled through CRS (USD 140,000), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (USD 150,000) with a further USD 10,000 for fuel for emergency road repairs.

21. UNDP has allocated USD 100,000 for immediate relief efforts by the UN Country office.

22. OCHA is prepared to serve as a channel for cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. For banking details please contact the desk officers indicated below. OCHA provides donor governments with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.

23. OCHA is in close contact with the Offices of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti and will revert with further information, as it becomes available.

24. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
E-mail: ochagva@un.org

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officer:
Mr. Erik Haegglund, Direct Tel. +41-22-917 3299

Press contact:
(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-212-963 87 40

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