Russia

Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Russian Federation: Flood relief and rehabilitation Situation Report No. 8

The strong donor support for the Yakutia flood relief operation has provided the needed funds to cover the basic requirements of the flood stricken population. The last (second) phase of the programme is now in progress with 22 containers of assistance arriving in Ust-Kut, and the final
distribution by barge to 12 uluses (regions) underway.
appeal no. 18/98
period covered: 11 May - 21 June 1999

The context

Unusually low temperatures produced up to twice the normal amount of snowfall and a two metre deep ice layer, followed by a sudden rise in temperature and an extremely rapid snowmelt which caused severe flooding in May, 1998 along the Lena and Aldan Rivers in the north-eastern Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Over 135 settlements were directly affected, with 13 people killed, 51,000 homeless, and another 47,326 partially afflicted by the damage. The top layer of fertile soil of an area covering a total of 38,780 hectares of arable land was washed away, and 1,327 tons of seed potatoes were destroyed. The initial estimates of the total damage caused reached CHF 300,000,000.

To respond to the disaster, the Russian Red Cross (RRC)/Federation initiated a programme to:

  • provide relief to 20,000 of the most vulnerable persons;
  • improve health and hygiene conditions;
  • help people return home; and
  • assist them during the prolonged winter period.

The climate as well as transportation to and within the region poses significant constraints. The Sakha Republic has an arctic climate during several months of the year with permafrost conditions where temperatures often drop to as low as -60 C. Access at the best of times is difficult. The river navigation period usually lasts from 15 May to 15 October depending on weather conditions, and the so-called 'winter roads' (over ice) normally open from 10 December.

Latest events

The economic crisis that hit Russia in August, 1998 has had a particularly devastating impact on Yakutia, already suffering severe socio-economic constraints. Monthly salaries have not been paid since 1995, and there is simply little available cash with which to buy food. The variety of goods available in shops is very poor, and the prices for basic items are twice as high as those in Moscow.

The new spring flooding which had been predicted by EMERCOM occurred in five uluses (regions), but did not exceed the norm for the spring season period.

Red Cross/Red Crescent action

The second phase of the programme, intended to continue support to 20,000 Yakutia residents and to assist another 10,000 beneficiaries (2,000 families), started at the end of April. The remaining 80% of assistance (400 MT of food and non-food relief) was sent to Yakutia in 22 containers at the end of May. The cargo consists of food parcels, stoves, felt-boots, warm clothes for adults and children, thermal underwear sets, heavy duty warm gloves, blankets, shampoo, and hygiene items. Nineteen containers have already arrived in Ust-Kut, and three more are expected to be received in the near future.

Half of the cargo is already loaded on a barge for further distribution to flood stricken uluses (regions). The planned distribution of goods and locations is shown in the attached table. Some 44,744 hygiene items donated by Johnson & Johnson to the Federation (consisting of 750,000 items with a total sales value of more than USD 1 million) were sent to Yakutia. The Delegation's relief co-ordinator conducted a trip to Ust-Kut to monitor the results of implementation and to meet with local authorities and Red Cross committee representatives.

Outstanding needs

The Yakutia relief operation has been fully covered and implemented as planned, and therefore there are no outstanding needs at this time. External relations - Government/UN/NGOs/Media
The RRC, Yakutia Red Cross Committee, and the Moscow Federation Delegation are continuing to work together, receiving effective support from the Government of the Sakha Republic.

The climate as well as transportation to and within the region poses significant constraints. The Sakha Republic has an arctic climate during several months of the year with permafrost conditions where temperatures often drop to as low as -60 C. Access at the best of times is difficult. The river navigation period usually lasts from 15 May to 15 October depending on weather conditions, and the so-called 'winter roads' (over ice) normally open from 10 December.

Latest events

The economic crisis that hit Russia in August, 1998 has had a particularly devastating impact on Yakutia, already suffering severe socio-economic constraints. Monthly salaries have not been paid since 1995, and there is simply little available cash with which to buy food. The variety of goods available in shops is very poor, and the prices for basic items are twice as high as those in Moscow.

The new spring flooding which had been predicted by EMERCOM occurred in five uluses (regions), but did not exceed the norm for the spring season period.

Red Cross/Red Crescent action

The second phase of the programme, intended to continue support to 20,000 Yakutia residents
and to assist another 10,000 beneficiaries (2,000 families), started at the end of April. The remaining 80% of assistance (400 MT of food and non-food relief) was sent to Yakutia in 22 containers at the end of May. The cargo consists of food parcels, stoves, felt-boots, warm clothes for adults and children, thermal underwear sets, heavy duty warm gloves, blankets, shampoo, and hygiene items. Nineteen containers have already arrived in Ust-Kut, and three more are expected to be received in the near future.

Half of the cargo is already loaded on a barge for further distribution to flood stricken uluses (regions). The planned distribution of goods and locations is shown in the attached table. Some 44,744 hygiene items donated by Johnson & Johnson to the Federation (consisting of 750,000 items with a total sales value of more than USD 1 million) were sent to Yakutia. The Delegation's relief co-ordinator conducted a trip to Ust-Kut to monitor the results of implementation and to meet with local authorities and Red Cross committee representatives.

Outstanding needs

The Yakutia relief operation has been fully covered and implemented as planned, and therefore there are no outstanding needs at this time. External relations - Government/UN/NGOs/Media
The RRC, Yakutia Red Cross Committee, and the Moscow Federation Delegation are continuing to work together, receiving effective support from the Government of the Sakha Republic.