Liberia

Liberia: Montserrado & Margibi Floods Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) Operation Update - DREF Operation n°MDRLR004

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Operational progress and request for time extension

This DREF operation of CHF 127,086 was launched on 11th October 2017 to support the LNRCS in meeting the shelter and non-food item needs of 2,500 people or 500 families, who were the most affected by heavy flooding in September 2017. The flooding left 42 communities inundated with water in lower Margibi and Montserrado counties of Liberia.

Approximately 70% of the DREF amount of CHF 127,086 is for relief items, construction supplies and training materials amounting to CHF 87,248. The bulk of these items are expected to arrive in Monrovia on 29th December 2017, and will only be cleared through customs in early January 2018. Training and distribution can then proceed in full in January 2018 once these procured items arrive.

As a consequence of the above delayed procurement, only limited funds have been spent so far amounting to CHF 15,823 being 12.4% of the DREF Budget. This will rise sharply once payment is made for the items currently being procured. The significant delay is caused due to long exemption procedures. It took eight weeks for the exemption clearances. Items were not sent to country until exemption was granted.

Liberia is in the top 15 poorest countries in the world and the 500 families targeted by this DREF who lost some or all of their possessions and tools of trade and also had their livelihoods impaired by an almost complete loss of farming crops will be pushed into a cycle of poverty if this DREF, despite its delay, is not completed. Many of these families are still in displacement centers waiting to return home. The rains were also unseasonably long in Liberia this year and the dry season started only in December 2017.

An extension of this DREF operation is therefore sought until 6th February 2018.

Description of the disaster

The incessant torrential rains during third-fourth week of September 2017 left 42 communities inundated with water in Lower Margibi and Montserrado Counties of Liberia. According to rapid assessments by the local Red Cross branch and the office of the City Mayor of Unification City along with local community leaders there were 21 villages/communities and close to 10,000 people or 2,000 families affected by rainfall. Around 1,500 families' homes and livelihood security were affected by the floods. water sources were contaminated as a result of the floods in the vulnerable communities. Flooded latrines, factories, graves and water sources put the community at risk of water and vector borne diseases.

Liberia is amongst the world most wet countries and has a record number of floods in the last ten years. Lower Margibi has a history of recurring floods in the last 4 years where communities remain at risk of flooding especially in the peak of the rainy season. In late June and early July 2016, the National Disaster Management Agency reported that over 15,000 persons were affected by floods in 49 communities of Lower Margibi. In Montserrado, urban communities are among the most affected with over 45% of the affected population.

Once again, the Du River joining the Atlantic Ocean in Lower Margibi overflowed its banks thereby leaving people in their communities at risk. The main road to International Airport was rendered impassable due to the flood waters, heavily constraining vehicle traffic and those travelling by air as road traffic have to find alternative routes. The rains hampered ability of those marooned in their villages for return to safety.