Laos: DREF operation - Floods (MDRLA003)

Situation Report
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The IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) has allocated CHF 292,168 to support Lao Red Cross (LRC) in delivering immediate assistance to 10,000 beneficiaries (2,000 families) for six months and to further assess needs. Un-earmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

Summary: Unusually heavy monsoon rains, exacerbated by tropical storms, have caused widespread flooding in more than 60 per cent of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) from late June through August. In mid-September, a tropical depression brought further heavy rainfall in the southern provinces, causing the worst flooding in that area for 35 years. On 30 September, Typhoon Wutip hit Viet Nam and moved in over central Lao PDR. While the typhoon did bring rainfall to the whole region, so far there are no indications of a major new impact on the already flooded areas in Laos. However, the monsoon season is not yet over and more rainfall in the coming weeks can still have an impact on the situation.

The focus of this DREF operation is in the southern provinces. The areas are remote and the full extent of the situation became clear only a week after the peak of the passing tropical depression. On 25 September the government called an urgent meeting to discuss the response operation. By that time, LRC, through its immediate response and also response to earlier events in the north had exhausted their in-country resources and requested support through the DREF.

Northern and Central Provinces Seven provinces in north and central Lao PDR were the most affected by rain and flooding in July and August with more than 20 people reported killed and over 200,000 others affected. Lao Red Cross (LRC) has been supporting those affected in the Vientiane, Oudomxay, Xayabuly, and Luang Namtha provinces, using pre-positioned stocks and supplies, providing non-food items to the most affected.

Southern Provinces

While the country underwent the customary monsoon rains throughout August, 13-17 September saw a tropical depression from the South China Sea pass through Lao PDR, causing heavy rain which has severely affected the southern provinces of Salavan, Champasak, Attapeu and Xekong.

LRC immediately prepared to provide assistance to the most vulnerable in affected provinces. As the severity of the situation became clear, LRC was already coming close to exhausting in-country resources, especially due to the extensive response in the north over the past months. Currently, detailed assessment is being undertaken by LRC, supported by French Red Cross, in the provinces of Champasak and Salavan to determine the most affected communities and needs arising from this flood situation.

This operation is expected to be implemented over six months, including follow-up visits to the villages as well as a lessons learnt workshop, and will therefore be completed by the end of March 2014. The timeframe is informed by local context and anticipated logistical constraints. The areas of the operation are remote and delivery to 20 different locations, once the procurement has been done, will be challenging, especially if the monsoon withdrawal is late. A final report will be made available three months after the end of the operation, by the end of June 2014.