Humanitarian aid for people affected by floods in Suriname

Location of operation: SURINAME
Amount of Decision: EUR 700,000
Decision reference number: ECHO/SUR/EDF/2006/01000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population.

1.1. - Rationale :

The Republic of Suriname is on the North-east coast of South America, with an area of 164,000 square kilometres and a population of approximately 493,000 people, mainly living in the coastal areas. Since the first week of May 2006, Suriname has been affected by exceptional floods. The season of heavy rains began earlier than usual, with rivers rising higher than usual. The inhabitants of Suriname are accustomed to flooding, but not on this scale. Torrential rain submerged many schools, clinics and homes. Displaced people sought refuge with those living in higher areas, stayed in their boats (pirogues) or slept in the open. The most affected areas are in the Southern, Eastern and Central regions. Some people living on small islands in Suriname's Eastern Rivers region had nowhere to go. The President of the Republic of Suriname declared the affected areas disaster areas on 8 May, establishing a crisis team of five ministries(1) and requesting international assistance. An expert from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid - ECHO undertook an assessment mission from 13-17 May, in co-ordination with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Co-ordination team (UNDAC). A number of humanitarian organisations sent teams to the flooded area, both for assessment and for delivery of aid. The Government of Suriname facilitated the work of relief agencies, via its national army and police corps. It also appealed for logistic support, fuel, drinking water, replacement of damaged food stocks, disease surveillance, cleaning kits and agricultural recovery.

As a first rapid response, food parcels and 4,000 hygiene kits, of which 2,000 were funded by the European Union's budget line for humanitarian aid as pre-positioned stock, were sent from PADRU (Pan American Disaster Response Unit of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent) in Panama to Suriname on 14 May. The hygiene kits contain washing powder, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, disposable razors and sanitary pads, and were distributed in partnership with the Suriname Red Cross in order to assist 20,000 people with immediate hygiene needs. However, the vulnerability of the country's population has increased greatly and the current precarious situation could deteriorate, without additional help.


(1) Regional development; Defence; Justice and peace; Health; Finance