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Cablegate: Congo-Brazzaville - Apres Cette Mois, Le Deluge

P R 141126Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1199
INFO AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE

UNCLAS BRAZZAVILLE 000301

KINSHASA FOR USAID
NAIROBI FOR USAID/OFDA
DEPT FOR AF/C

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OFDA EAID AEMR SOCI CF
SUBJECT: CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE - APRES CETTE MOIS, LE DELUGE

1. Brazzaville is an unclassified post.

2. Summary. Torrential rains began in early November in
Congo-Brazzaville (RoC). The small rainy season, designated
October 1 through December 15, (Mid-Feb to May is the Big Rainy
Season), had a mild start this year, but the ferocity and volume
of rain that has fallen in the past week has made up for the
late start. The GRoC does not provide assistance to its flood
victims. This cable serves as a preliminary to a possible
request for assistance if the rain displaces Congolese residents
of Brazzaville. End Summary.

3. DCM met with Minister of Solidarity (MoS) to determine the
status of a national plan to address flooding, victims of
flooding, and the possibility of cholera. Minister Bawao
assured DCM that a plan has been put in place since last year,
that a copy of the plan would be sent to the Embassy (it has not
yet been received) and that the GRoC is working through several
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop assistance
programs. President Denis Sassou-Nguesso visited Brazzaville
suburbs - the first time he had ever set foot in many of the
neighborhoods - to view the rain damage. He announced that an
emergency committee would be established, but no further word
has been given about funds to address the victims of flooding or
an established national emergency plan.

4. On Monday, November 10 the local media reported that a
cemetery in a southern suburb of Brazzaville has begun to flood
and erosion is causing the coffins to be seen from the surface.
Four cases of cholera have been reported in the Kindamba region
south of Brazzaville. The main route leading out of Brazzaville
to the north has been cut in two by massive erosion. Paving of
main thoroughfares this past year has created an unforeseen
problem - the new roads and sidewalks are six inches above the
first floor of the homes lining the streets, and water is
pouring into homes that had not been previously affected by
flooding. The majority of food is brought to Brazzaville by
rail from Pointe Noire and the railway has already suffered
delays due to flooding. Should rain delay the train, food
prices will increase as food becomes scarce.

5. Post initiated an effort with various NGOs this past year to
develop an on-going sustainable plan, but without any financial
support, the Red Cross and other NGOs are not able to stockpile
assistance supplies or promote the cleaning of gutters that are
blocked with plastic and trash. In 2006-07, OFDA was able to
respond to Post's emergency request for funding to assist flood
victims, and this cable is provided as an alert to OFDA that
assistance may be required again.

EASTHAM

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