Venezuela - Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 2

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 99/0257
Venezuela - Floods
OCHA Situation Report No. 2
19 December 1999

The President has called the present emergency a national tragedy
Scale of the disaster is massive


1. The weather has considerably improved, but the massive scale of the disaster is becoming increasingly evident. The State of Vargas is the area most affected.

2. The number of people directly affected reported by the President of the country to be approximately 80,000. The overall population affected: 150,000 with many people missing. Ther death toll is at present indicated to be 2,000. (These figures are all preliminary. Unofficial accounts and press reports contain higher estimates of the impact).

National response

3. Civil and military resources are being used to carry out rescue and relief operations. National efforts to collect relief items are being organized with collection centres throughout the country.

Coordination of international response

4. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened a meeting with the international community to inform them about the situation and requirements for international assistance.

5. The Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator is holding daily meetings with the United Nations Disaster Management Team. In addition to the local UNDAC Team (operational since the onset of the disaster), OCHA's Regional Disaster Response Adviser (based in Quito, Ecuador) will join the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator on Monday 20 December to assist the Resident Coordinator particularly in the overall coordination of the response provided by the UN System and donor governments.

REQUIREMENTS for non-medical assistance

6. Although the following relief items have not been quantified, it may be assumed that as a large portion of the country is affected, a considerable amount of items is needed. The following items have been requested :

  • bedsheets, towels, mattresses, mats, clothing for children, hygenic napkins
  • food for children, emergency food rations, canned food
  • large tents to be used as field hospitals;
  • tents to be used as centres for those coordinating/carrying out relief operations;
  • generators;
  • water purification equipment, large water containers for transportation and stocking of water;
  • desalination equipment, water pumps;
  • portable latrines;
  • gas stoves, cooling boxes;
  • motor saws, shovels, pick axes, machetes, masks, wheelbarrows ;
  • equipment to light large areas at night, beacons for heliports, portable electrical lighting equipment, emergency flares;
  • torches, leather gloves, rubber boots, rain protection clothing, life-jackets;
  • portable communications equipment (HF-VHF) ;
  • weed killers ;
  • temporary housing ;
  • equipment for temporary bridges;
  • equipment for clearing of mud and debris ;
  • lifting equipment ;
  • equipment for solid waste treatment.

Requirements for medical assistance

7. A list of needs for medicines and other medical supplies has been established. Donors who wish to provide assistance in this area are recommended to address themselves to the Pan American Health Organization/Washington for further details : phone : +1 202 974 35 20 , fax : +1 202 775 45 78.

Channelling of in-kind assistance

8. Airport serving Caracas still closed to commercial trafic. Maiquetia airport receiving incoming flights from countries sending emergency assistance.

9. Collection point set up in Miami handled by the Venezuelan Airforce.

Contributions reported (since OCHA report no.1)

UN System

PAHO: $25,000 Emergency Grant
UNDP: $50,000 Emergency Grant.
UNHCR: $5,000 Emergency Grant
UNICEF: Specialist for psychological support
WFP: Fielding mission to evaluate food needs.


CUBA: Aircraft with specialized medical personnel and equipment.
ISRAEL: Medicines
MEXICO: Aircraft with specialized medical and search and rescue personnel and equipment.
PERU: Aircraft with relief supplies and personnel.
SPAIN: Cash Grant $ 25,000 (amount to be confirmed) for purchase emergency medical supplies plus advance of loan already approved for infrustructure repairs.
USA: $25,000 Cash Grant to Venezuelan Red Cross and three military helicopters and two Zodiac boats; OFDA specialists ; additional inputs of logistical and other material forthcoming.

10. Given that information on contributions reaches OCHA Geneva from multiple sources, donors are urged to verify this table and inform OCHA of corrections/additions/values, as required. Donors are requested to notify OCHA Geneva of any further contributions to this disaster using the "OCHA Standardized Contributions Recording Format", available electronically in the above mentioned Financial Tracking Website.

11. OCHA is prepared to serve as a channel for cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination/consultation with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. Funds should be transferred to OCHA account No. CO-590.160.0, Swift code: UBSWCHZ12A at the UBS AG, P.O. Box 2770, CH-1211 Geneva 2, with reference: OCHA - Venezuela - Floods. OCHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.

12. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies is available on the OCHA Internet Website at:

Telephone number: + 41-22-917-1234
In case of emergency only: + 41 22 917 2010

Desk Officers: Mr. Erik Haegglund, direct tel: + 41-22-917-3299 and
Mr. Carlos Monteiro-Pereira, direct tel: +41-22-9171383

Contact person for the media: Ms. Elena Ponomareva, direct tel: +41-22-917-2336

Telex 41 42 42 ocha ch
Fax: + 41 22 917 0023


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