Panama: Floods DREF Operation Update No.1 MDRPA004

Situation Report
Originally published
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Glide No. FL-2008-000158-PAN

The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

Period covered by this update: 13 September to 7 November 2008.

Summary: CHF 120,000 (USD 109,090 or EUR 74,303) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 13 September 2008 to support the National Society of Panama in delivering immediate assistance to some 2,500 beneficiaries.

On 3 September 2008 heavy rain caused flash floods in the province of Chiriqui affecting several hundred people.

This operation is expected to be implemented over four months, and will therefore be completed by 12 January, 2008; a Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by 12 April, 2009).

The situation

On 3 September 2008 the province of Chiriqui, in particular the region of Ngöbe Buglé in the district of Besiko, was affected by a low pressure system in the central mountain range, producing heavy rain and floods. Eight rural communities were affected by the overflowed rivers of Fonseca and Boca de Soloy in the region Ngöbe Buglé mainly because seven suspension bridges were destroyed. 50 houses were affected and 28 were completely destroyed. The Civil Protection reported approximately 545 affected people, 11 missing, and five casualties. Two emergency shelters were opened in the district of Soloy, providing shelter for a total of 293 people. The government through the office of the Civil Protection distributed water, blankets, food items and clothes to the most affected areas.

The region of Ngöbe Buglé is located in the western part of the country. Its total population is 122,423 and their main occupation is agriculture and elaboration of craftwork.

Additionally, tropical depression number 16 caused severe rains in other parts of the country. The district of Tocumen in the province of Panama was also affected by floods and it is consequently included in this DREF operation.

Coordination and partnerships

The International Federation through the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) and the Regional Representation Office for Central America and Mexico in Panama have been coordinating relief activities with the Red Cross Society of Panama. The Civil Protection National System (Sistema Nacional de Proteccion Civil - SINAPROC) has also been providing assistance to the Red Cross Society of Panama.

The National Society formed alliances with local non-governmental organizations (NGO) present in the area. NGOs such as Nutre Hogar provided assistance to temporary shelters, while private companies have provided food items.