Venezuela - Floods
OCHA Situation Report No. 3
21 December 1999
Government grateful for assistance rendered so far while underlining there is still a need for international assistance and for plans for rehabilitation/reconstruction
1. Weather conditions remain favorable with no major rainfall for the past 48 hours.
2. As the impact of this tragedy unfolds, the death toll continues to rise with an indefinite number of missing persons.
3. Some basic services such as electricity, telephone and water have been re-established in some areas. Caracas water supply reported to be normal. International airport serving Caracas remains closed ; Port of La Guaira expected to be reactivated within 3-4 weeks although several warehouses severely damaged. Roads continue to be blocked between Caracas and La Guaira for civilians and many roads have been wiped out within Vargas State.
4. FEDECAMARAS (the national federation of commerce) estimates that more than 200,000 jobs have been lost (15% in Vargas, and the rest in Falon, Tachira, Miranda, Nueva Esparta, Yaracuy and the Federal District of Caracas). Insurance company experts have put losses at over USD 2,000 million.
5. Military and civil defense personnel continue rescue operations. Several shelters in public and private facilities have been opened in Caracas and interior cities.
6. National solidarity with victims has been overwhelming with an outpouring of contributions in cash and in kind from unaffected population. However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has declared that the tragedy has overwhelmed the capacity of the Government and that international support continues to be necessary.
Coordination of international response
7. The United Nations Disaster Management Team (UNDP, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO/PAHO) meets regularly and include representatives of donor goverments (e.g UK) and the Corporacion Andina de Fomento (CAF).
PAHO will support the Government's efforts in managing the management of relief supplies (SUMA), as well as of medical and sanitation systems ;
UNICEF provides support in psychological counseling, particularly of children;
UNHCR is inquiring into the availability of supplies to set up temporary shelters for displaced population ;
UNESCO will participate in the evaluation of reconstruction of damaged educational system ;
UNDP will (in addition to providing day-to-day support to emergency efforts) reorient projects during the rehabilitation period ;
CAF has offered a rapid disbursement loan for the reconstruction of infrastructure.
OCHA provides support to coordination efforts with the UNDAC Team and the OCHA Regional Disaster Response Adviser.
8. The list included in OCHA situation report no.2 still stands. Field reports emphasise, amongst others, the need for water treatment/water supply equipment; psychological support to the disaster-affected population and material and supplies for temporary housing.
9. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an appeal for CHF 4,460,000 (approx. USD 2.8 million) to assist 50,000 people during three months.
10. The international assistance, which has been reported to OCHA as of today, may be found by clicking on Financial Tracking at the top of the page for this disaster on the OCHA Internet Website (http: //www.reliefweb.int).
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies is available on the OCHA Internet Website at: http://www.reliefweb.int
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: Mr. Donato Kiniger-Passigli, direct tel: +41-22-917-2653
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Fax: + 41 22 917 0023
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