Period covered by this update: November 2010 to June 2011.
Summary: From early November to mid December 2010, Panama experienced a series of unusually strong rains and floods that affected 8 of the 9 provinces in the country as well as 2 autochthonous indigenous territories. In response to the emergency situation, the RCSP mobilized some 200 volunteers, 32 administrative staff and 22 National Intervention Team members to implement activities of their Plan of Action. In support of the National Society’s efforts, the current Emergency Appeal assisted 1,545 families with relief items such as blankets, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, food parcels, mosquito nets, jerry cans and cleaning kits. In addition, a water treatment plant was mobilized and safe drinking water was distributed to more than 400 families in Colón, Darién and Panamá provinces. To complement the distribution of safe water, educational talks on prevention of diarrheic diseases were carried out with some 1,922 persons, which were also accompanied by radio spots carrying the same message. The RCSP also reached some 394 families (1,970 persons) through the distribution of 49 family tents and the management of 2 collective centres in Darién province and Embera-Wounnan autochthonous indigenous territory. Finally, 353 persons were trained in community-based disaster preparedness and risk reduction.
Partner National Societies (PNS) and governments which have made contributions to this Emergency Appeal include: American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, German Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross Society, Netherlands Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross, Red Cross of Monaco, Swedish Red Cross and the Swedish government. On behalf of the RCSP, the IFRC would like to thank all donors and partners for their generous support to this appeal.
Lessons learned: Although it was not possible to complete a formal evaluation of the operation, a series of conversation with actors involved in the emergency response have highlighted some important elements:
· The RCSP has intensified its efforts to promote its work with the general public and government institutions in an effort to improve the visibility of the organization. In this regard, a meeting organized with the First Lady of Panama and government officials represented a significant step forward in this direction. However, it was also acknowledged that advocacy activities should avoid creating expectations that it may not be possible to achieve.
· It is important to ensure that families assisted by the Red Cross are reached with a comprehensive plan of action beyond the distribution of relief items, as it is considered by affected families to be one of the strengths of the Red Cross’ approach and one of the organization’s assets. As such, future operations should try to secure funding for activities on early recovery of livelihoods.
· The operation had a successful experience of multilateral coordination, particularly at the time of designing the plan of action, ensuring less duplication of efforts. On the other hand, and in order to improve coordination, the IFRC needs to ensure that there is clarity and consistency with their point of contact for the National Society. Changes of personnel coordinating the operation alongside the National Society can cause confusion and hinder the efficient development of agreed plans. In this regard, it is also important that all parties are clear on the agreed responsibilities.
· The methodology employed for selecting, ticketing and distribution of relief items was successful and well received, and increased the credibility of the Red Cross in the affected communities. However, there is a need to improve the tracking and monitoring systems from the point of dispatch to selected beneficiaries.
Financial situation: Due to some unavoidable administrative delays, the current narrative report is accompanied by an interim financial report. A final financial report will be available in January 2012.