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Cablegate: Togo's Flooding Situation: Togo and Partners Are

O 041734Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY LOME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8698
INFO AMEMBASSY ACCRA
AMEMBASSY COTONOU
AMEMBASSY DAKAR
AMEMBASSY PARIS
HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

UNCLAS LOME 000401


DEPT FOR AF
AID/W FOR OFDA
DAKAR FOR OFDA
ACCRA FOR USAID AND DATT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL SENV MASS TO GH FR
SUBJECT: TOGO'S FLOODING SITUATION: TOGO AND PARTNERS ARE
ACTIVE

REF: A. LOME 400
B. LOME 397
C. LOME 394
D. LOME 391
E. LOME 387

1. SUMMARY: Assessment teams, both national and
international, have begun to return to Lome and prepare their
initial analysis and suggested courses of action. Togolese
authorities have been present on the ground to distribute
supplies, meet the population, assess damage and organize
rescue efforts. The international community has also been
active, aiding victims and deciding what type of assistance
it may be able to provide Togo. END SUMMARY.

-----------------
TOGOLESE EFFORTS
-----------------

2. Togolese Ministers of Security, Territorial
Administration, Social Affairs, and Transportation have been
active in the flooded localities. Togo's disaster relief
committee (ORSEC plan) is now working and seeking to address
population needs, gathering resources from various ministries
and coordinating rescue operations. ORSEC president is
Minister of Security Titikpina. We have been pleasantly
surprised to see that Titikpina has been communicating
regularly and effectively with the Togolese, via radio and
television.

3. TOGOLESE RED CROSS: The CDA and MDRO called on the
president of the Red Cross, Mr. Gagno Paniah, to get his
assessment of the flooding situation. Present in Togo since
1959, the Red Cross is the oldest NGO in country and has a
substantial network of some 14,000 volunteers throughout the
country. Paniah has been involved in the organization for 30
years and started out himself as a volunteer. The
organization is starting to open offices in other cities in
Togo in order to respond more quickly to disasters. Its
mandate is to work in community health, vaccinations, and
women's health in particular, and to assist during times of
catastrophe and political violence.

4. The Red Cross has already been actively involved in
assisting the Togolese population, working through the
weekend to establish a plan. Volunteers are already present
in many of the affected areas. These volunteers are
conducting evaluations of the situation and sending their
reports back to Lome. Paniah said that the volunteers need
more training to deal adequately with the situation. They are
teaching villagers how to treat water to make it potable. The
biggest needs are for mosquito nets, water tablets, blankets
and mats. Paniah also cited potential health problems,
including cholera, malaria, and HIV. While the organizational
structure is in place to assist the victims, the Red Cross
lacks the resources needed to be more effective.

---------------------
INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS
----------------------

5. FRANCE: French Charge told us that the military
engineering team (present in Togo since July 31) has returned
to Cote d'Ivoire after surveying the bridge damage on
National Route One. Apparently, while the bridge furthest
north needs to be completely rebuilt, the other two bridges
can probably be repaired. The French Charge explained that
no decision has yet been made as to whether the French will,
or will not, pay for and rebuilt the washed out bridge, the
team report still being awaited. One French Puma helicopter
remains in Togo and continues to airlift supplies from Lome
to remote villages affected by the flooding. As waters begin
to recede, the French are increasingly focusing their
attention on the infrastructure damage to Route One.

6. GHANA: Ghanaian military assistance, perhaps the first
outside help to arrive here, has been receiving favorable
attention in Togo. Ghana has been providing a helicopter to
help the Togolese transport supplies into areas cut off by
the flooding. The helicopter will remain active here for at
least one more week. An engineering unit is also on the
ground and is expected to remain for as long as it is needed.
Part of the unit has been bringing flood victims out by
boat, and five of its engineers have spent all of their time
surveying the bridges, particularly along the main
North/South artery, Route One. The GOT is urging the
Ghanaians to erect a Bailey Bridge at the main bottleneck at
Amakpave, but Ghana does not have a spare one available. The
Ghanaians have asked if the U.S. could supply one. We
suggested waiting for the outcome of the French assessment
and subsequent decision before exploring the possibility on
our side.

7. UNDP: The UNDP returned from its second assessment
mission. It is expected to finalize its victim/damage report
by August 5. However, initial UNDP estimates tabulate:
30,000-40,000 people have been affected by the flooding in
one capacity of another, of which 20,000 people are direct
victims of the flood. 4,000 families have been displaced.
Six people have died, three are still missing and four are
seriously injured. The UNDP is hosting a donor community /
humanitarian roundtable on August 5.


TWINING

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