Venezuela - Floods
OCHA Situation Report No. 6
6 January 2000
· Government requests international assistance for equipment to handle chemical emergency
· Donors contributions up to USD 21million
1. The UN Resident Coordinator, assisted by the UNDAC team and the OCHA Regional Advisor, reports that persistent rains on 1 and 2 January 2000 in Vargas region have caused the collapse of two recently opened passes over the Macuto and Naiguata Rivers. The water pipe supplying Naiguata has also collapsed.
2. Rains have also caused flooding and landslides and interrupted transit in Tachira State.as well as in the neighbourhood of Gramoven, Federal District, causing 6,000 additional displaced persons..
3. A number of containers with potentially dangerous chemicals have been discovered in the Port of La Guaira, seriously affected by the floods. The national authorities have declared a part of the area as a Dangerous Chemical Zone to be handled by local expertise. Response advice is being provided by US and German experts. The National Emergency Committee has issued an appeal for urgent international assistance in terms of special equipment and products. The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit has approached a number of potential donors with a request to provide the required assistance
4. International airport Simon Bolivar serving the Caracas metropolitan area has been reopened but transit from Caracas to La Guaira and Maiquetia is still restricted and travellers may expect delays.
5. Although the official death toll (based on the body count) remains very low, the media, local authorities and other unofficial sources estimate that between 25,000 and 50,000 people died in the disaster and over 600,000 persons have been affected. Approximately 51,000 persons are still in some 107 temporary shelters.
6. Joint National Emergency Committee/Ministry of Foreign Affairs/UN System Information Web site is now operational and may be provisionally accessed through www.nu.org.ve/emergencia.
7. Government is proceeding with rehabilitation and reconstruction although several thousand people in shelters continue to receive emergency assistance. Furthermore the Venezuelan Civil Defense together with the Venezuelan Red Cross are completing a census of shelters.
Coordination of international response
8. The UN Country Team continues to meet regularly and is joined by interested donors, the Red Cross and NGOs.
WFP launches USD 5.1 Emergency Food Operation
9. The Executive Director of WFP approved on 30 December 1999 an Emergency Food Assistance Operation to flood victims with a total cost of USD 5.1 million (food cost USD 2.7 million) in support of 110, 000 people who are in need of food aid. Of these, 65 per cent are women and children less than 5 years old. The operation is for 5 months (January-May 2000).
10. The objective of this emergency operation is to provide relief food aid to the most affected and vulnerable population both in rural and urban areas, who have lost all their belongings and sources of income and have no means of acquiring food. Where possible, WFP will distribute food through food-for-work schemes aimed at reconstruction and agricultural rehabilitation activities.
11. In consultation with Venezuela water authorities, PAHO is preparing a comprehensive plan to ensure the availability, quality and distribution of potable water to affected areas.
12. On 5 January 2000, the OCHA Regional Advisor joined the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and UNDP/ERD teams on a evaluation mission to the areas affected, in particular the region of Vargas and the Federal District of Caracas.
13. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched a full appeal on 5 January 2000, which replaces the preliminary appeal launched on 20 December 1999 that has now been fully covered thanks to a Kuwait Red Crescent donation. This full appeal seeks CHF 13,298,000 (approximately USD 8.3 million) in cash, kind and services to assist 50,000 beneficiaries for 12 months. CHF 4,700,000 (approximately USD 2.9 million) has already been received or pledged.
14. Priority continues to be potable water, sanitation facilities, food distribution and epidemiological surveillance.
15. Concerning the specific request for assistance made by the Venezuelan authorities related to damaged containers, with chemical products, storage in the port of la Guaira, please refer to paragraph 3 above. A full list of requirements (in Spanish and English) is available upon request.
16. OCHA situation report number 5 of 27 December 1999 erroneously mentioned an amount of USD 800,000 being sought by UNICEF to implement an action plan (immediate and short-term) identifying five areas of support to complement the efforts of other national and international actors. The correct version should read as follows:
"UNICEF is seeking USD 650,000 to implement an action plan (immediate and short-term) that identifies five areas of support to complement the efforts of other national and international actors."
17 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 Webster (http: //www.reliefweb.int).
18 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 Standardised Contributions Recording Format, available electronically in the above mentioned Financial Tracking Website.
19 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.
20 This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies is available on the OCHA Internet Website at: http://www.reliefweb.int
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