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 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.
Summary: CHF 56,605 (USD 53,910 or EUR 34,620) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 20 August 2008, to support the Paraguayan Red Cross (PRC) in delivering assistance to 106 families dedicated to agricultural labour from the district of Concepción, as well as 169 families with food parcels and 63 families with seedling kits in the district of Horqueta.
On 7 August 2008, the northern part of Paraguay was severely affected by a series of storms combined with wind gusts from 40 km to 80 and in some areas reaching up to 200 km. in other areas. According to the National Meteorology Department, the storms were accompanied by heavy hail weighing approximately 450 to 1,000 grams.
A state of emergency was declared on 8 August 2008 by the central government for the northern areas of Conception and San Pedro, where winds up to 200km per hour had affected these areas on the night of 7 August.. The storm lasted approximately 15 minutes and was accompanied by heavy winds and hailstones weighing up to one kg. The most affected departments were Presidente Hayes, San Pedro and Concepción. The hailstones and winds damaged infrastructure and four electricity towers that caused power outages and affected 600,000 people during 72 hours. Over 1,800 hectares of agricultural crops were destroyed, including corn, tomatoes, beans, carrots and bananas plantations.
A total of 9,531 families (5,976 families in Concepción, 3,515 families in San Pedro and 40 families in Presidente Hayes) were severely affected by the hail and windstorm, in addition to losing the agricultural crops, their homes were damaged, as roofs were blown off of their houses making them even more vulnerable to the storm.
The National Emergency Secretary (Secretaría de Emergencia Nacional - SEN) reported other affected departments such as Paraguari, Amambay, Alto Paraguay, Boquerón, Canindeyu and Caazapa. Staple crops in the department of Paraguari sustained damages, while in Amambay trade was affected due to an electricity black-out. In Alto Paraguay, Boquerón, Canindeyu the hail and windstorm affected livelihoods, crops, houses, and livestock. At the beginning of the emergency, SEN provided emergency relief assistance to 2,767 families with relief items such as food parcels, roof panels, mattresses, plastic tarps and blankets