A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
In December 2015, heavy precipitation (rain and hail) in the northern and eastern regions of Paraguay caused the increase of hydrometric levels of major river basins, causing flooding in several parts of the country. Reports indicated that 10 of the 27 departments in the country were affected. According to the 28 December 2015 report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), at least 130,000 people across the country were evacuated from their homes. On 23 December 2015, a state of emergency (Act 5561) was declared for municipalities in the departments of Concepción, San Pedro, Misiones, Ñeembucú, Amambay, Presidente Hayes and Central.
At the request of the Paraguayan Red Cross, the IFRC on 28 December 2015 allocated CHF 155,097 of its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to respond to the emergency, particularly focusing its actions on at least 1,045 families in the San Pedro department where the Paraguay River had overflowed. On 27 January 2016, the DREF operation was amplified and modified to become an international appeal to better respond to the humanitarian needs. The PRC-led Appeal operation focused on the departments of San Pedro, Asuncion and Ñeembucú.
On 8 July 2016, the President of Paraguay approved the start of Operation Return, which provided assistance to 13,000 families for the return to their homes following the flooding caused by the increased water levels of the Paraguay River. Operation Return responded to the needs of families that had been displaced due to flooding and settled in public areas such as fields, parks and collective centres.
The Paraguayan Red Cross participated in this State-led multi-institutional operation alongside the National Emergency Secretariat (SEN), Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare (MSPBS), General Directorate for Environmental Health (DIGESA), National Service for Environmental Sanitation (SENASA), National Service for the Elimination of Malaria (SENAPA), Coordination for Health Relief in Emergencies and Disasters (ASANED), Asunción municipality, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Social Pastoral, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Cooperazione Internazionale (Coopi) and Oxfam Paraguay. These institutions coordinated actions to ensure the safe and smooth return of families to their homes.
Moreover, the return process led to a modification of the National Society’s response actions. As part of these changes, a feasibility study for the implementation of a cash transfer programme (CTP) was undertaken in San Pedro and Ñeembucú to support livelihoods recovery. A water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion assessment was also conducted. This assessment indicated the need to implement these actions in San Pedro, as well as those previously planned for Ñeembucú and Asunción. Increased coverage to 1,214 additional families in Asunción in the areas of psychosocial support, emergency health and water, sanitation and hygiene promotion.
On 22 September 2016, a revised appeal was issued to strengthen the transition of response actions to communitybased preparedness and training sessions for the affected community to return to their homes in conditions of safety and increase resilience.