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Cablegate: Maldives - Earthquake and Tsunamis:

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 COLOMBO 001155

SIPDIS

STATE ALSO PASS TO USAID
USAID/W FOR A/AID ANDREW NATSIOS, JBRAUSE
DCHA/OFDA KISAACS, GGOTTLIEB, MMARX, RTHAYER, BDEEMER
AID/W FOR DCHA/OFDA
DCHA/FFP FOR LAUREN LANDIS
DCHA DEPUTY ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR WILLIAM GARVELINK
ANE DEPUTY ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR MARK WARD
BANGKOK FOR OFDA SENIOR REGIONAL ADVISOR TOM DOLAN
KATHMANDU FOR OFDA REGIONAL ADVISOR WILLIAM BERGER
GENEVA FOR USAID KYLOH
ROME PASS FODAG
NSC FOR MELINE
CDR USPACOM FOR J3/J4/POLAD
USEU PASS USEC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID AEMR PREL PGOV CE UNICEF
SUBJECT: Maldives - EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMIS:
USAID/DART SITREP #5

-------
Summary
-------

1. On June 4 and 5, the USAID/Disaster Assistance
Response Team (DART) Information Officer traveled to
the Republic of Maldives (ROM) to assess the recovery
efforts and monitor the USAID/Office of U.S. Foreign
Disaster Assistance (OFDA) funded tsunami recovery
activities. During the visit, the USAID/OFDA
representative met with the U.N. Children's Fund
(UNICEF) to discuss recovery activities and traveled
to the island of Guraidhoo Kandu in South Male' Atoll
to observe UNICEF's activities. Although difficulties
remain in waste management and water and sanitation,
USAID/OFDA funded activities appear to be progressing
successfully. End summary

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----------------------------------
UNICEF Programming in the Maldives
----------------------------------

2. On June 4 and 5, the USAID/DART Information
Officer traveled to the Maldives to assess the
recovery efforts and monitor the USAID/OFDA funded
tsunami recovery activities. USAID/OFDA provided $1.2

SIPDIS
million to UNICEF for water and sanitation, nutrition,
and health rehabilitation activities in the Maldives.
UNICEF allocated approximately 25 percent of the funds
to health, 25 percent to nutrition, and 50 percent to
water and sanitation activities.

--Water and Sanitation--

3. To assist with the rehabilitation of the water
supply, UNICEF procured 1,030 water tanks (880 of
2500-liters and 250 of 5000-liters) for rain water
harvesting with USAID/OFDA funding. In addition,
UNICEF provided Basic Family Water Kits to 14,540
families. These kits include water storage
containers, water purification tablets/powder and
instructions for usage.

--Nutrition--

4. Most of the Growth Monitoring Charts and Child
Health Cards were destroyed in the tsunami. In
partnership with the Department of Public Health,
UNICEF re-printed and distributed 5,000 of these cards
with USAID/OFDA funds. In addition, UNICEF will
provide 105 measuring boards to local health
facilities. These boards are used to measure the
height of children who are not old enough to stand.

5. The tsunami damaged most of the scales used to
weigh schoolchildren. UNICEF will replace and upgrade
scales in all the schools in order to have a uniform
scale. UNICEF has ordered 330 scales, one for each
school, with USAID/OFDA funds.

6. Since the initial food rations distributed by the
GORM and the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) did not
take into consideration the special requirements of
young children, UNICEF provided 17 metric tons of
locally procured cereal-based baby food to 1,250 of
the most affected children aged 6-24 months. The baby
food will cover the food needs of the children for six
months.

--Health Rehabilitation--

7. According to the GORM, health facilities in 127
out of the 200 inhabited islands were either damaged
or destroyed, including several regional hospitals and
atoll health centers. UNICEF has identified 10 health
facilities for reconstruction and rehabilitation with
USAID/OFDA funds.

8. In order to ensure the cold chain for
vaccinations, UNICEF utilized USAID/OFDA funding to
purchase ice-packs, refrigerators, and generators for
cold/freezer rooms.

------------------------------
Visit to Guraidhoo Kandu Island
------------------------------

9. On June 5, the USAID/OFDA representative traveled
to the island of Guraidhoo Kandu in South Male' Atoll
to observe UNICEF's activities. The tsunami killed
two children and two adults, and two children remain
missing in Guraidhoo Kandu. The tsunami destroyed 49
and damaged 197 homes on the island.

10. The UNICEF and USAID/OFDA representatives visited
the Guraidhoo Kandu health clinic. UNICEF used
USAID/OFDA funding to provide new health cards to
replace those destroyed in the tsunami. The health
cards record children's height, weight, vaccinations,
and general health history. In addition, the
measuring boards have been ordered and are scheduled
to arrive in July. The health clinic also had new
refrigerators, purchased with USAID/OFDA funding, in
order to ensure the cold chain for vaccinations.

11. The clinic collects drinking water with a rain-
harvesting system using water tanks provided by ECHO
and USAID. According to the UNICEF representatives,
the supply of drinking water is currently sufficient
in the islands because the rainy season has started.
Immediately following the tsunami, water was ferried
to the islands and five mobile osmosis units also
provided water. Some of the islands have aquifers and
this water can be used for washing etc, but is
generally not potable. UNICEF estimates that it would
cost approximately $100,000 to fix the water and
sanitation facilities in each island.

12. The UNICEF and USAID/DART visited a temporary
settlement of 14 families. These families have been
living in tents since the tsunami. The tents were
shaded with USAID plastic sheeting and the tents were
from the Governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Most
displaced families are residing with relatives or
friends.

--------------------------------------------
Coordination Government's Role is Positive
--------------------------------------------

13. According to the UNICEF country representative,
the GORM is doing a very capable job of managing and
coordinating the relief and recovery efforts.
(Comment: Unlike other tsunami-affected countries,
coordination does not seem to be a problem, perhaps
due to the small number of organizations involved in
the relief efforts.) UNICEF is responsible for
education, water and sanitation, vaccinations,
protection, and psychological and social support
activities for children. The U.N. World Health
Organization (WHO) is responsible for overall medical
needs. The U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) is
currently examining waste management issues. The U.N.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is looking at
agriculture, particularly pesticide use and the need
for alternative livelihoods. The U.N. Development
Program (UNDP) is examining reconstruction of jetties,
harbors, homes.

------------------------
Lessons Learned Workshop
------------------------

14. On May 17 and 18, the U.N. conducted a lessons
learned workshop, with cooperation from the GORM, and
the UNICEF country representative shared the results
of the workshop with the USAID/DART representative.
According to the UNICEF representative, participants
agreed that the main challenge will be to sustain the
level of commitment and motivation which characterized
the immediate relief phase through the recovery phase.

--Disaster Preparedness--

15. The key lessons learned regarding disaster
preparedness were 1) the need for a national and
regional tsunami warning system; 2) need for a
national institution/operations center; 3) need for
supportive, legal, policy, fiscal environment; 4) need
for a comprehensive national disaster management plan
linking the national level to the local level; 5)
emergency shelters (currently, these do not exist in
the islands); and 6) education and training for
swimming and first aid. (Note: the majority of the
population does not know how to swim, particularly
women).

--Response to the Tsunami--

16. Regarding the response, participants raised the
following issues: 1) not enough vessels with
sufficient heavy load capacity; 2) no clearly
designated authority for psychological and social
support; 3) no long-term maintenance of desalination
plants; 4) "thematic approach" to assistance by donors
led to a mismatch between demand and supply in some
sectors; 5) limited management and coordination of
international donor representatives, particularly for
assessments; 6) increased transport costs, caused in
part by international agencies working independently
from the GORM through local NGOs; 7) assessments were
frequently conducted without the involvement of
affected communities and as a result vulnerable groups
were sometimes left out; 8) information on decisions
was not always communicated to affected populations;
9) local NGOs were not represented in the national
disaster management structure; and 10) lack of
involvement by women in emergency management.

--Recommendations--

17. Included in the recommendations for future
preparedness were 1) preparation of a general list of
supplies needed in an emergency; 2) obtain vessels
capable carrying heavy loads and landing in the
islands; 3) establish disaster management policies to
ensure standardization; 4) make regional warehouses
permanent; 5) establish an emergency transport policy
to regulate pricing and designate delivery points.

-------------------
Remaining Concerns
-------------------

18. According to the UNICEF country representative,
the overall sanitation situation remains a key concern
for the islands. Prior to the tsunami, the sewage
system was weak and waste management had become a
problem and the tsunami highlighted these concerns.
The sanitation situation is exacerbated by the high
water table in the islands (approximately one meter).

19. According to UNEP, the tsunami created an
estimated 290,000 cubic meters of waste. While the
GORM and communities have cleared the debris, most of
it has only been pushed to the side of the islands.
For example at Guraidhoo, the shore of the island was
piled with the rubble from buildings.

-------
Comment
-------

20. Prior to the tsunami, UNICEF's annual budget for
the Maldives was approximately $700,000 and since the
tsunami, UNICEF has received $31 million for the

SIPDIS
Maldives. Although the meteoric increase in funding
and activities has been a challenge, the staff at
UNICEF appear to be rising to the occasion. UNICEF
has been careful to keep longer-term development needs
in mind during the relief phase by ensuring that
equipment is not just replaced but improved, for
example. The USAID/OFDA funded activities are
progressing efficiently and should be completed
successfully by the end of September.


LUNSTEAD

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