Suriname: Floods Appeal No. MDRSR001 Final Report

Situation Report
Originally published


The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 185 countries.

In Brief

Final Report; Period covered: 15 May 2006 - 30 November 2006; Appeal target: CHF 854,305 (USD 706,309 or EUR 550,346); Appeal coverage: 105.8%; Outstanding needs: None

Appeal history:

- Launched on 15 May 2006 for CHF 854,305 (USD 706,309 or EUR 550,346) for 5 months to assist 4,000 families (20,000 beneficiaries).

- Operation extended until 30 November 2006

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 100,000 (USD 82,713 or EUR 64,433). This has been reimbursed by the Netherlands Red Cross under the Appeal.

Summary: Distribution to over 4,000 families (20,000 beneficiaries) of food parcels, rice and hygiene kits was completed by 24 July 2006, in accordance with the Plan of Action. This followed an initial distribution of food parcels to 5,000 families (25,000 beneficiaries), carried out by the Suriname Red Cross (SRC) in the days following the flooding, and procured locally through the National Society's own emergency funds. In addition, distribution of 2,840 pieces of plastic sheeting and of 133 family tool kits took place; however, distribution of the balance of shelter materials was delayed, mainly as a result of the post-emergency rise in transportation costs to remote parts of the country which were most affected by the flooding. It was therefore decided that these materials would be transferred to the SRC in preparation for future emergencies.

The Suriname Red Cross also focused on water and sanitation and hygiene promotion activities - and was the only organization doing so in the flood affected areas. Hygiene promotion was carried out in the worst affected areas of East Suriname, the Upper Suriname River and South Suriname. Follow-up training and monitoring of impact was undertaken, after the initial training activities. A total of 2,270 persons from the affected villages have been trained in water and sanitation and hygiene by the 20 newly trained volunteers of the SRC; these people have disseminated the information within their own communities and to surrounding villages. Hygiene promotion activities were received enthusiastically by the communities - especially information on how to purify residual water, particularly relevant given that the dry season has begun. During the field monitoring visits to the affected areas it was evident that water and sanitation and health promotion activities had a significant impact on the local communities.

The operational review meeting was deferred until 18-19 November so that the maximum number of board members, staff and volunteers of the Suriname Red Cross and external partners would be available to participate. From this operational review meeting, held in Paramaribo on 18 November 2006, the clear indicators were that the Suriname Red Cross needs to develop some structures at community level revolving around Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP). From this experience certain elements of the 'lessons learned' can be addressed through National Intervention Team (NIT) and Regional Intervention Team (RIT) training, internships and further development of protocols and operational procedures. In addition, further dissemination of standard Federation disaster response systems and tools is required particularly for National Society senior management and governance.

This operation is aligned with the International Federation's Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.


Torrential rainfall in Suriname at the beginning of May 2006 resulted in serious flooding in the country, affecting approximately 25,000-30,000 square kilometres. It was estimated that some 25,000 people were affected by the rising water levels, with the most severe damage concentrated along the riverbanks in the south and southeast of the country, as well as in 157 villages in the remote lowlands, where most families live in thatch-roofed houses. Immediate threats included insufficient nutritional food, the need for hygiene items and shelter, health issues, the psychosocial and economic impact of the disaster, the lack of functioning schools and considerable damage to the transportation network. Furthermore, there was widespread damage to local infrastructure, houses, property, personal belongings and loss of animals and crops.

The Government declared the affected areas (mainly the southern lowlands) a disaster zone on 8 May 2006, and the Suriname military was called in to evacuate people to higher ground.

Because the rainy season in Suriname usually lasts until the end of July, contingency plans were developed under the aegis of the especially created National Coordination Centre for Disasters (NCCR), in order to prepare for the possibility of further flooding. The major concerns centred around health risks, the economic impact of the flooding - particularly as regards the effects of water saturation on the year's crops, and the considerable damage sustained by the transportation network and infrastructure.

By the end of July 2006, water levels had considerably receded and villagers were gradually returning to their normal lives and seasonal activities. On 19 June, the Central Coordinating Committee was disbanded; however, food distributions continued on a more restricted scale between mid August and the end of 2006. On 19 August the NCCR held a meeting with stakeholders in this emergency operation and, at that time, the President of Suriname stated that the emergency phase of the response had concluded.

In relation to food security, the floods and excessive rainfall severely affected people living in the interior of Suriname, substantially increasing the food insecurity of the poorest population groups. Shortly after the declaration of an emergency, the World Food Programme (WFP) carried out an initial rapid food security assessment of the affected communities, recommending the deployment of a food security expert to assist the national entities in the identification and the design of appropriate food/non food response and rehabilitation interventions based on the needs of the affected populations as well as the setting up a food security/nutrition surveillance system.

In September, the WFP participated in a Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping of affected areas to determine the impact of the emergency food distributions and to monitor the continued food security threat. The findings, which are still to be officially published, indicate that food insecurity will be officially published, indicate that food insecurity will continue to be an issue well into the first quarter of 2007 and possibly beyond. The situation has been exacerbated by the delayed planting of seasonal crops after the May floods and the early arrival of rains in October 2006. Seasonal planting has not yielded sufficient food quantities and families and communities are being forced to find supplementary means to secure minimum food requirements. These include planting of small crops in higher ground away from their usual planting areas, seeking employment in the capital Paramaribo, planting crops for sale and pooling of food resources at community level. This developing situation will need to be monitored over the coming four to six months before the onset of the traditional rainy season which usually begins in May each year.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Suriname: Mr. Glenn Wijngaarde, Director General, Suriname Red Cross,, +597 498 410, fax +597 464 780

In Trinidad: Thomas Doyle, Disaster Management Delegate, Pan American Disaster Response Unit, Port of Spain, , +1 868 798 9493, fax +1 868 627 9627

In Geneva: Luis Luna, Regional Officer, Americas Department, , +41 22 733 0396, fax: +41 22 730 4274

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.