Iran

Iran: Cyclone Gonu - Information Bulletin n° 1

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The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 185 countries.

In Brief

This Bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the situation and the information available at this time. The Federation is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation at this time.

The International Federation undertakes activities that are aligned with its Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to achieve the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

The Situation

The cyclone Gonu, the strongest tropical storm ever recorded in the Persian Gulf region since 1945, started lashing the islands and coastal cities in Hormozgan and Sistan-Baluchistan Provinces in southeast of Iran as of Wednesday afternoon, 6 June 2007. Early Wednesday evening strong winds snapped tree branches, thunder storm lashed, and torrential rain poured over Iran's farthest southeastern coastal cities including Chabahar, Jask, Konarak and Bandar Abbas. According to storm experts in the region, they have never witnessed such a strong storm in Chabahar and Konarak port cities for the past 30 years. The violent winds, with varying speeds from 60 to 200 kilometers per hour, destroyed things on the way, breaking tall trees, cutting off electricity poles and causing fires in some city locations. Also the level of sea water kept rising as the storm got momentum.

The strong winds and floods are causing damages to cities and villages in Hormozgan, Sistan-Baluchistan and Kerman Provinces. Houses, roads and electricity networks are destroyed by the winds and floods. However, details of casualties and damages are not available yet as the assessment has not begun because the areas are still affected by the cyclone.

The local authorities and the Iranian Red Crescent Society gave early warning to the residents living in the areas to be hit by the cyclone and arranged for a total of 40,000 people to move to safe higher areas before the arrival of the storm.

Some preparedness measures were also taken in advance. The Iranian Government set up the special emergency task forces at the central and provincial levels to coordinate the response to the cyclone. The country's Natural Disasters Commission arranged for the transportation of bottled drinking water and medicines to the regions to be affected by the storm and took various measures to deal with the disaster. The Ministry of Health put the entire hospitals, health and medical centers in Sistan-Baluchistan and Hormozgan Provinces on red alert in order to provide medical services to the cyclone victims if needed.

The provincial emergency task forces began distributing bread and water to disaster victims and working on repairing damaged roads, electricity networks and telecommunication systems.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

With the national mandate of emergency response, the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) is taking lead in disaster preparedness and disaster response. The Deputy Head of the IRCS' Relief and Rescue Organization, as the IRCS' representative to the emergency task force of the Government, closely coordinates with the authorities to provide timely and effective disaster response.

Through its branches and volunteers, the IRCS gave early warnings to the residents living in disaster-prone areas and assisted them in moving to safe areas before the cyclone landed on the coast.

Having checked the pre-positioned emergency response stocks in the provinces to be hit by the cyclone, the IRCS has sent the following additional emergency stocks to the areas from neighboring branches and Tehran:

- 22,000 cans of tuna fish

- 2,220 pieces of moquette (carpet)

- 700 cans of beans

- 5,000 clothes

- 600 pairs of gloves

- 107 picks

- 200 shovels

- 804 water containers

- 1,000 kerosene heaters

- 2,000 blankets

- 1,000 lanterns

- 130 tents

- 5 tons of sugar

- 5 tons of beans

- 10,000 kg of rice

The IRCS has dispatched two helicopters to the areas and placed the following people and equipment/vehicles on stand-by in Chabahar City, Sistan Baluchistan Province, for immediate intervention in case of need:

- 528 relief workers

- 43 IRCS staff

- 25 sets of motor pumps

- 15 sets of pick-ups

- 13 sets of ambulances.

The IRCS relief and rescue teams are now distributing relief items to cyclone victims in disaster-affected areas and are involved in assessment of damages. The Federation Delegation, in close contact with the IRCS, is monitoring the situation to see whether the needs of the disaster victims are being met.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Iran: Seyed Hadi Samaei, Director General of International Affairs Department, Iranian Red Crescent Society; email: intdep@rcs.ir; mobile: 98. 912 384 7050; phone: 98.21.88662618-19; fax: 98 .21. 88662652

In Iran: Chang Hun Choe, Federation Representative, Country Delegation; email: ch.choe@ifrc.org; mobile: 98 .912. 2172507; phone: 98.21.88672424-28; fax: 98.21.88672429

In Geneva: Evgeni Parfenov, Regional Officer, MENA Regional Department; email: evgeni.parfenov@ifrc.org; phone: 41.22.730 4325; fax: 41.22.733 0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org