Venezuela

Venezuela - Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 4

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OCHA/GVA-99/0260
Venezuela Floods
OCHA Situation Report No. 4
23 December 1999

Situation

1. While emergency relief operations are ongoing, President Hugo Chavez announced the initiation of the second phase of the emergency and on 21 December 1999 established a National Emergency Committee to be in charge of this phase of the government’s disaster recovery plan. The Committee will be coordinated by Dr. Gilberto Rodriguez Ochoa, Minister of Health and Social Development and will be sub-divided in 13 sectoral subcommittees (health, international cooperation, shelter, food, security, infrastructure, productivity, etc.) presided over by Ministers and high ranking officials.

2. The following chart summarizes information obtained from Civil Defense regarding the impact of the disaster distributed by affected States:

STATE
VARGAS
D.FEDERAL
MIRANDA
FALCON
N.ESPARTA
YARACUY
CARABOBO
ZULIA
SUCRE
Houses Affected
40.160
4.500
1.500
15.072
44
1.510
18
1.131
130
Houses Des-
troyed
20.000
1.545
790
80
280
Persons Indirec-
tly Affected
214.000
17.500
7.375
22.500
4.151
1.500
90
6.388
275
Persons Injured
2.700
Persons Directly Affected
54.392
10.000
5.236
9.500
329
80
3.162
Persons
Dead (*)
197
83
52
4
1
1
Missing Persons
1.650
220
670
5
Persons in Shelters
7.365
4.189
111
3.432
1
(*) These figures represent only dead persons that have been identified. According to local press and several other sources, the number of deaths might surpass 15,000.

3. According to UNICEF report some 38 schools were totally destroyed and the number of children unable to find their classroom on 10 January 2000 could be as high as 35,000.

National response

4. The Government continues providing basic emergency relief supplies to the affected population located in 77 temporary shelters as well as to persons that have not yet been evacuated from isolated areas. Relocation of the evacuated population to military and other facilities that offer better temporary shelter conditions has been initiated.

5. The Government has identified some 55,000 homes that will be distributed to affected families.

6. An initial damage assessment in the health, education, transportation and housing sectors has been undertaken by the Civil Defense with the support of the Andean Development Corporation (CAF).

7. According the Ministries of Health and Environment, and PAHO, medical attention is being provided to the affected population and epidemiological surveillance is being carried out. Areas exposed to outbreaks are being sprayed.

8. The Social Fund (Fondo de Fortalecimiento Social) is taking a socioeconomic census of the affected population in order to determine the profile of this population for future relocation plans and development of productive activities.

9. An official web site with current information on the disaster situation has been established at the following URL: www.dcnacional.reacciun.ve/

Coordination of international response

10. OCHA seeking funding for disaster management expert

Subject to availability of funds, OCHA plans to provide the services of a disaster management expert to assist the UN Resident Coordinator in Caracas in the relief phase and in the transition from relief to rehabilitation and in planning/reporting on the use of contributions. Requirements for a three-month period are estimated at USD 50,000, including travel and secretarial support.

11. OCHA organised on 23 December 1999 in Geneva, a working-level inter-agency meeting, in which participated representatives of FAO, UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). At this meeting there was an exchange of views/information on the activities carried out in response to this disaster, and further actions/assessments to be undertaken.

12. Coordination meetings have been held by members of the United Nations Disaster Management Team (UNDMT) and OCHA the Disaster Response Advisor with:

- The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
- The National Director of Civil Defence
- Representative from the United States Southern Command
- Central Bureau of Statistics and Information Technologies in Venezuela (OCEI)

13. The World Food Program was requested to assess emergency food aid requirements on 17 December 1999 by the Minister of Production and Commerce. A three-member mission arrived on 19 December 1999. In view of the magnitude of the calamity, WFP has authorized an initial Emergency Operation, which will last 15 days.

This operation will include 600,000 foods servings targeting an average of 20,000 people, the most needy, among the vulnerable groups (infants, children and women) located in the worst hit locations. Special food for small children such as high-energy biscuits will also be provided depending on availability.

14. UNICEF has considered as high-priority the full identification of children admitted to temporary shelters. Besides the component of psychosocial recovery of children and young people within the affected areas and additional actions on social mobilisation, UNICEF leads a comprehensive programme that conceives school reinsertion as key priority.

15. UNICEF/PAHO are leading significant efforts in epidemiological control as ARIs, diarrhoea and dermathological complications constitute the most worrying spreading deseases amongst children and women.

PAHO’s Mental Health Program is in the process of trying to organize representatives to evaluate needs of the affected people from a mental health perspective.

16. The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) is providing support in tracing activities, working in joint collaboration with the University of Caracas while the Venezuelan Red Cross will be supported by the Colombian Red Cross and other national societies in setting up a reinforced tracing service.

17. A number of societies (American Red Cross, Colombian Red Cross, Dominican Republic Red Cross, French Red Cross, German Red Cross and Spanish Red Cross) have been participating in rescue operations, first aid, shelter, and the provision of relief supplies.

Requirements

18. The list included in OCHA Situation Report no.2 still stands. Supply of drinkable water continues to be a priority action, especially in the Vargas region and the town of Cichiriviche, at Falcon. De-salinization plants are urgently required.

19. As mentioned in OCHA Situation Report No. 2, 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.

Contributions reported

20. 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).

21. 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.

22. 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.

23. 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

Telex 41 42 42 ocha ch
Fax: + 41 22 917 0023
E-mail: ochagva@un.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.