Suriname: Floods Appeal No. MDRSR001 Operations Update No. 3

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 over 181 countries.
In Brief

Period covered: 6 June to 6 August 2006

Appeal target: CHF 854,305 (USD 706,309 or EUR 550,346)

Appeal coverage: 71.6%

Outstanding needs: CHF 242,355 (USD 195,129 or EUR 153,295)

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).

Final Report is therefore due on 15 January 2007.

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.

Operational 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 Appeal-related 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. All stocks held by the SRC have now been depleted. Distribution of plastic sheeting and family tool kits is on-going and has been somewhat delayed. This is primarily due to the postemergency rise in transportation costs to the more remote parts of the country, which were most affected by the flooding.

The Suriname Red Cross has also been focusing much of its activities on water and sanitation and hygiene promotion - and is the only organization doing so in the flood affected areas. Hygiene promotion has been completed in the worst affected areas of East Suriname and Upper Suriname River, and plans are underway to pursue these activities in South Suriname. Follow-up training and monitoring of impact will be undertaken in all areas, two months after the initial training activities. To date, 20 SRC volunteers, trained in water and sanitation and health promotion have in turn trained 186 persons from 79 villages in the remote 'interior' in hygiene promotion; these people will in turn disseminate the information within their own communities and to surrounding villages. Hygiene promotion activities have been enthusiastically received by the communities - especially information on how to purify residual water, particularly relevant now that the dry season has begun. A number of participants have expressed the desire to pursue further training.

The Suriname Red Cross is currently investigating the most cost-effective ways in which to distribute the remaining plastic sheeting and tool kits, and is planning for the second round of hygiene awareness raising and monitoring activities. Operations related to this Appeal are expected to be completed by 15 October 2006. Should further funding become available, the Suriname Red Cross remains interested in undertaking additional disaster management capacity building interventions as part of the Flood Operation - particularly National Intervention Team (NIT) training and Vulnerability & Capacity Assessment. In addition, the SRC is looking to replenish its 'Disaster Emergency Fund' - which was utilized to locallyprocure food parcels for 5,000 families as part of the National Society's own initial emergency response.

The International Federation undertakes activities that are aligned with its 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 interior of the country, covering approximately 25,000-30,000 square kilometres. It has been 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.

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 recently created National Coordination Centre for Disasters, in order to prepare for various scenarios should flooding continue. The major concerns centred around health risks, the economic impact of the flooding - particularly with regard to the effects of water saturation on the current year's crops, and the considerable damage sustained by the transportation network and infrastructure.

In the event, by the end of July 2006, water levels had considerably receded and villagers have been gradually returning to their normal lives and seasonal activities. On 19 June, the Central Coordinating Committee was disbanded, although food distributions are on-going. The Government of Suriname has announced that it will pursue food distribution - albeit on a more restricted scale - until the end of the current year.

Operational developments

The Suriname Red Cross, with on-going support from the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) and a Regional Intervention Team (RIT) member from the Guyana Red Cross Society, has completed the initial round of emergency relief distribution under the Appeal - following on an initial National Society-funded food distribution undertaken some weeks earlier. SRC has been working in close collaboration with governmental and local authorities to provide food parcels and hygiene kits to the most affected - in a timely and efficient manner. SRC acted in partnership with local NGOs and networks in the remote 'interior' parts of the country, in identifying beneficiaries and assessing needs, as flood waters have continued to subside.

Hygiene promotion activities got underway during the reporting period, with key support from the French Red Cross's Regional Intervention Platform for the Americas /Caribbean (PIRAC). These have now been completed in two of the most affected areas in the country. The SRC is also taking advantage of these activities to continue to monitor the condition of household dwellings and to identify areas requiring shelter assistance.

The emergency operation has been marked by exemplary collaboration between regional and international partners within the Red Cross Movement and has provided clear opportunities to strengthen SRC capacity, most particularly in the areas of water and sanitation, and hygiene promotion.

The International Federation, through its Pan American Disaster Response Unit has provided logistical, technical and financial support throughout the operation, and has been coordinating the participation of regional resources, in particular through the deployment of Regional Intervention Team members.

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: Olaug Bergseth, Regional Officer, Americas Department, , +41 22 733 0396, fax: +41 22 733 0395

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 (NGO's) 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

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