Micronesia

Micronesia - Tropical Storm Chata'an OCHA Situation Report No. 2

OCHA/GVA - 2002/0138
OCHA Situation Report No. 2
Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) - Tropical Storm CHATA'AN
1-2 July 2002

This situation report is based on information provided by the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team with contributions from the UNICEF staff member on Weno Island, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent delegate, the FSM Red Cross Society, and the Chuuk State Government.

Situation

1. A strong Tropical Storm CHATA'AN, which hit Chuuk State of FSM on 1 and 2 July 2002, caused more than 60 landslides on the lagoon islands. The worst affected islands are Weno, the state capital, Tonoas, Fefan, Udot, Uman and Siis.

2. According to the State Government, 47 people were killed, although not all bodies have been recovered, 109 people were injured, and 39 people were hospitalised. Between 120 and 170 families (900-1,300 people) are estimated to have been directly affected, in that they suffered the loss or injury of a family member, and/or the partial or total destruction of their home. It is estimated that a similar number have abandoned their homes, though basically undamaged, because of fear of further landslides in the same or adjacent areas. They may be displaced for several months before a full geo-technical survey assures that there will be no further landslides.

3. Under current conditions, with damaged water supply systems, reduced availability of locally-grown food and relatively large numbers of people crowded into relatives' homes or in communal buildings, the most likely secondary threats are from epidemics. So far there has been no noticeable increase in the incidence of infectious diseases. There is also the threat of cholera, since outbreaks occurred in FSM in 1982/3, 1986, 1992, and 2000.

National Response

4. The government immediately established the Chuuk State Task Force (TF) on Tropical Storm Chata'an, headed by the Director of Municipal Affairs, to coordinate the assessment process and manage the response activities.

5. The state government has been engaged in the following operations: public awareness of health and safety threats; appealing to unharmed local communities for donations; provision of 2 parcels of medical supplies to each island dispensary; provision of a limited locally-generated food, chlorine, and clothing; and, provision of the state's one old freighter to conduct assessment and deliver relief in the Mortlocks.

6. The President of FSM responded to Chuuk's disaster declaration, and declared that it was in a state of emergency. This released federal funding (so far USD 200,000) to the state, despite of a serious budgetary crisis, to assist the immediate response.

7. The initial response was hampered by the lack of financial and material resources of the state in terms of transportation of people and goods, and resources such as bulldozers to clear landslide debris. Moreover, due to the lack of management and resources, the TF has not finished to assess the situation and needs.

International response

8. In response to the Government's request for international assistance, the US Government has agreed to provide federal aid to FSM. An 8 member Disaster Response Team from the US Government's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) arrived on 13 July for a 7-10 day mission. 35 more FEMA personnel arrived on 15 July. This team is evaluating both short and longer-term needs as well as providing immediate relief. In addition, the US Government is providing relief materials such as chainsaws, shovels, tents, camp beds, blankets, wash kits, foods and water.

9. The Australian Government has agreed to restock the FSM Red Cross disaster preparedness container pre-positioned in the federal capital in Pohnpei. The value of this assistance is approximately USD 10,000.

10. The Japanese Government has delivered the relief materials of tents, blankets, jerry cans and generators to the approximate value of USD 87,000.

11. The Israeli Government has sent a shipment of medication worth USD 5,000.

12. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released CHF 30,000 (USD 20,259) to provide immediate assistance for the affected people.

13. A United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team, despatched by OCHA, has conducted a mission to the disaster sites and is compiling an assessment report.

14. OCHA is providing a cash grant of USD 20,000, of which USD 10,000 will be drawn from the pre-positioned funds of the Government of Denmark and USD 10,000 from OCHA's funds to purchase water tanks. UNICEF Suva supplied 20 kg of medicines and medical supplies, to the value of approximately USD 1,000. This was delivered by the UNDAC team directly to the Chuuk Health Department.

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

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

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Mr. R. Mueller / Ms. S. Desouza / Mr. S. Nakajima
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 31 31 / 16 36 / 40 34

Press contact:
(in GVA) - Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(in N.Y.) - Ms. Phyllis Lee, direct Tel. +1-212-963 48 32

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