Namibia: Mariental Floods DREF Bulletin no. MDRNA001 Final Report

Situation Report
Originally published


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 over 185 countries.

In Brief

Period covered by this Final Report: 3 March to 31 May, 2006.

History of this Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)-funded operation:

- CHF 90,000 was allocated from the Federation's DREF on 3 March, 2006 to respond to the needs of this operation, or to replenish disaster preparedness stocks distributed to the affected population. Refer to for the DREF Bulletin.

- An interim final report was issued on 12 September 2006.

This operation is aligned with the International Federation's Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet 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.

Background and Summary

On 22 and 23 February 2006, heavy rains in central Namibia caused three rivers to swell in the Mariental constituency's catchment areas, raising the water levels of Hardap Dam beyond its capacity. Due to the risk of the dam collapsing because of the increased water pressure, Namibia Water - a local water supply parastatal - opened the gates of the dam and released its water into the 'Fish River' situated between the dam and Mariental town, located 273 km south of Namibia's capital, Windhoek.

The river flooded Mariental town, which has a total population of 14,000 residents, displacing 2,100 people (330 households) and submerging 122 houses, 80 small businesses properties, destroying 30 irrigation schemes as well as damaging water and sanitation (WatSan) systems. Over 300 households needed urgent shelter and were hosted at community halls which some found shelter from relatives and friends on the upper land in the outskirts of the town. Water sources were contaminated while stagnant water presented mosquito breeding sites.

Following a joint assessment by the government of Namibia and Namibia Red Cross (NRC), an alert was issued 24 hours after the emergency. The NRC supported 330 of the most affected households through the provision of health services, shelter, WatSan facilities and other non-food items (NFIs). The Ministry of Agriculture, Hardap Regional Council and Mariental Municipality coordinated the response operation. The government provided food aid to over 2,000 people for a period of three months. Military and police teams conducted search and rescue operations and facilitated the evacuation process.

In order to enable the NRC to respond to the needs of those affected by floods, the Federation allocated CHF 90,000 from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) towards the emergency operation. Within one week of the emergency, the Federation Regional delegation in Harare deployed a regional disaster response team (RDRT) member from Zambia Red Cross Society and a regional WatSan officer to provide technical support to the NRC for one month. The RDRT member assisted in the distribution of relief items such as tents, jerry cans and blankets from the Federation regional warehouse relief stock.

For further information please contact:

In Namibia: Razia Essack-Kauaria, Secretary General, Namibia Red Cross, Windhoek; Email:; Phone +; Fax +

In Zimbabwe: Françoise Le Goff, Federation Head of Southern Africa Regional Delegation, Harare; Email:; Phone: + 55;; Fax: +

In Geneva: John Roche, Federation Regional Officer for Southern Africa, Africa Dept., Geneva; Email:; Phone: +41.22.730.44.40, Fax: +41.22.733.03.95.

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