Suriname: Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 4

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2006/0077

OCHA Situation Report No. 4
Suriname - Floods

This situation report is based on information provided by the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team and WHO/PAHO.


1. The situation in the interior of Suriname is stabilizing. The floods have had significant, yet not immediately life threatening, consequences on the affected region. Water levels in the Upper Suriname region have receded. High water levels do continue to affect populations in the Eastern region. The water level in the Saramacca River is high and still rising. The road near that river has been damaged by flooding. The risk of new and more flooding later in the season should not be disregarded with more rain expected.

2. Food, water, and shelter needs are generally being met through a good coordination between governmental, non-governmental and local actors and deployed representatives of the international community; however there are pockets of vulnerability in some areas. The majority of the needs -such as water and sanitation- are actually more chronic than flood-related.

3. There is no need for additional international coordination capacity as slowly the transition from the relief phase to the rehabilitation phase is being made.

4. The risk for outbreaks of malaria and diarrhea remains and the lack of access to clean drinking water is concerning.


5. Due to bad road conditions distribution of food parcels to Pokigron, near Brokopondo Lake, was delayed. Out of 500 only a mere 150 parcels were delivered.

6. Some estimates put flood-damaged crops at 70%; however, WFP reports that reliable estimates are not yet available. According to some NGOs, the harvest of rice (one of the main staples) will be delayed until December 2006 or January 2007. However, the other products (beans, vegetables) can be recovered sooner. A period of decreased food access is expected during the period leading up to the harvest.

7. Teachers that had left the disaster area for Paramaribo are starting to plan their return to the region, and will receive assistance with transportation from the Government's Crisis Team starting Sunday, 21 May.

8. The first cases of watery diarrhea have been confirmed, but according to the Health Crisis Team of the Ministry of Health (MoH), which is monitoring the situation, there is no outbreak at this moment.

9. A small Malaria outbreak has been detected in Asigron, near Brokopondo Lake. However, this outbreak seems not directly related to the flooding. However, the risk of an outbreak is real.

10. Priority needs remain fuel, clean drinking water, sanitation, replacement of damaged foodstocks, disease surveillance, house cleaning kits, school materials, repair of generators, replacement of hand tools for woodworking (for home repair), and agricultural recovery.

National response

11. The National Coordination Centre for Disaster Control (NCCR), with technical assistance from the UNDAC team, has established a plan to execute relief delivery using logistical assets provided by international partners, including Brazil, the Netherlands and Venezuela.

12. The NCCR has established 5 hubs at Lange Tabbetje, Stoelmanseiland, Dritabiki, Djumu and Kwamalasamutu from where they continue to distribute food packages and hygiene packages. Purified water is also distributed, but not in large quantities. The hubs will also have refueling facilities for helicopters to enable these to deliver goods closer to affected villages. In each hub, coordination teams composed of staff from the police, Ministry of Defense, fire fighters, and local NGOs are present to supervise distribution of relief items.

13. All 52 MM centres are operational again. The Medical Mission (MM) has requested the NCCR, with the aid of the police and the military, to assist in the transport of sick people to medical centres.

14. The Ministry of Health (MoH) has finalized an assessment of medical supplies on stock and is preparing an associated request for needed supplies. The MoH has further requested to vet all medical supplies that are to enter the country.

15. All volunteers, military staff and police going into the field are first vaccinated for hepatitis B and yellow fever. They also receive an impregnated bed net and malaria prophylaxis. First aid responders are supplied with the necessary kits.

16. The Shelter Group recommends using plastic sheeting for provisional shelter. Shelter kits serving 5 families and including reinforced plastic sheets, nylon rope, nails, a hammer, a machete with wet stone and one shovel will be provided. Common assessment forms for shelter needs analysis will be used by the Suriname Red Cross (SRC) and local NGOs. The SRC will deliver plastic sheeting for 2,500 families, pending further needs assessments. The NCCR will initially purchase 5% of required tools, ropes, and nails. Additional NCCR assistance is depending on further assessments. Shelter kits will be transported to the main logistical hubs for distribution purposes.

17. It is expected that the Ministry of Regional Development will provide leadership for the recovery of the region, with technical support from UNDP. Agricultural recovery will be an important and urgent area in which the international community can invest; a Dutch expert is looking at ways in which Netherlands could support the Ministry of Agriculture.

18. Hydrology assessments have been conducted by the University of Suriname's hydrologists, assisted by students; three stations were established at Djumu, Debike, and Pokigron. The stations are monitored twice a day, and reports sent to Paramaribo. Sampling of the soil's absorptive capacity is also being done.

19. Solid waste from the distribution of relief packages is being collected to prevent pollution of the environment.

International Response

20. Sectoral coordination mechanisms/groups have been set up as follows:

HEALTH (this group also deals with water quality, sanitation, providing medicines, prevention and secondary problems):

Ministry of Health; Bureau of Public Health Care; MM;
University of Suriname - Medical Department; UNDAC team; WHO/PAHO; Red Cross (SRC/IFRC).
A sub-group on Trauma Assistance is being formed.


Ministry of Education and Development; Evangelical Brotherhood City Suriname; Roman Catholic Special Education; Bahai; NGO Education Network.


Social Housing Network NGOs; Red Cross (SRC/IFRC); NCCR; UNDAC team; MapAction.


Ministry of Agriculture, Stockbreeding and Fishing
Dutch Mission
Red Cross (SRC/IFRC)


NCCR (with support from WHO/PAHO and NGOs).


NCCR (with support from WHO/PAHO and NGOs).


NCCR; Ministry of Regional Development; District Commissioner; UNDAC team; NGOs; Red Cross (SRC/IFRC).


University of Suriname; Dutch Mission.


Legal advisors; individual volunteers.


NCCR and the Ministry of Environment


Under development.

21. Contributions made thus far:

Amount / Commodity
(US dollars)
UN Agencies
$1,273,540 / Helicopters
Through the UN RC
Suriname Red Cross
Netherlands Red Cross
Suriname Red Cross
Government of Suriname
Organization of American States (OAS) + Pan American Development Foundation (PADF)

22. The UNDAC team has established an On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) next to the national crisis centre in Paramaribo. It is providing support to the Suriname authorities and international responders in the area of assessment coordination and consolidation of findings on emergency needs and priorities for assistance. The team is also initiating discussions on transition issues in order to ensure continuity of coordination structures into the early recovery phase. The UNDAC Team focuses on the following areas of coordination: Assessment coordination; OSOCC management; Reporting; Liaison with the national authorities; Liaison with all humanitarian partners; Donor relations; Public information; Environmental issues.

23. A MapAction staff member attached to the UNDAC team participated in an aerial survey of the Dritabiki / Stoelmanseiland / Langa Tibiki area. A map showing the water status in this area was developed and was made available on the Virtual OSOCC, showing that eleven villages were dry, 17 were partially flooded, and 13 completely flooded.

24. The Dutch Navy ship with five helicopters (four from the Netherlands, one from Belgium) has arrived and operations have begun on 18 May. The helicopters moved from the ship to Zanderij, Langatabbetje, and Stoelmanseiland. Operations with the Brazilian helicopter continue. One UNDAC team member and one WFP staff participated in a Brazilian helicopter assessment of the Marowijne area (Stoelmanseiland, Anapaike, and Kumakapan). It has traveled on to Zorg and Hoop to Kwamala for a fuel drop and to start operations there. The deployment of the helicopters will last at least until the weekend of 26 May and possibly for 2 weeks.

25. Venezuela sent a team of experts on May 17 to assess the fuel situation.

26. IFRC will be distributing 4,000 hygiene kits. The IFRC has also dispatched a consignment of food parcels which will reach Suriname today, May 19, and help ensure food availability for 20,000 people until mid June.

27. WFP's initial recommendations regarding food and related needs include: deployment of additional food monitors, to better organize and supervise distributions, deployment of one to two food security/livelihoods experts, to advise the Suriname Government and NGOs on livelihoods interventions; assessments (under the lead of the Ministry of Agriculture) of the impact of the floods on livelihoods, including agricultural production and livestock; establishment of a nutritional monitoring system, through the Health Service system, to closely monitor the acute malnutrition levels; and provision of fuel for boats and other means of relief transportation systems.

28. With support from the Netherlands, WHO/PAHO will provide 70,000 water purification tablets, water tanks for the collection of rainwater as well as training to set up systems for an alternative water supply when rainwater is not available. Relief efforts will furthermore focus on doubling the percentage of households with access to systems for the collection of rainwater, from 5% to 10%. Education activities about the importance of safe drinking water, and the provision of alternative sources of it are being set up. The Suriname water company has distributed flyers on this topic, advising people to boil water before use. The IFRC has also initiated a hygiene awareness campaign.

29. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) made available 12 Nera satellite phones to the Government of Suriname on loan. An ITU delegate from South Africa has come to Suriname to train members of the police, army, fire brigade, and the Surinamese Telecommunication Company. The phones will be installed in the five main logistics hubs to support aid distribution, and for use by the local populations. The ITU will fund all communication costs. Telecommunications capacity for relief operations is thereby covered.

30. OCHA remains in close contact with the office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator and will continue reporting as further information is made available.

31. This situation report, together with the information on contributions and other ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officer:

Ms. Marie Spaak
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 21 63

Press contact:

(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, Direct Tel. + 41-22-917 2653
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Direct Tel. +1-917-367 51 26
Mr. Brian Grogan, Direct Tel. +1-212-963 11 43

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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