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Cablegate: Usaid/Ofda Field Report: Post-Flood Emergency Response

VZCZCXRO5991
OO RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOU #0753/01 2581330
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151330Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY OUAGADOUGOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5406
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0290
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0713
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 OUAGADOUGOU 000753

SIPDIS
AIDAC

AFR/WA FOR NFREEMAN, LDOORES-FENDELL, GBERTOLIN
OFDA/W FOR ACONVERY, CCHAN, LPOWERS, MSHIRLEY, JMCINTOSH
FFP/W FOR JBORNS, ASINK, TMCRAE
DAKAR FOR RDAVIS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
ROME FOR US MISSION RNEWBERG, HSPANOS
BRUSSELS FOR USAID PBROWN
NEW YORK FOR DMERCADO
NSC FOR CPRATT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EAGR PREL PHUM ZI UV
SUBJECT: USAID/OFDA FIELD REPORT: POST-FLOOD EMERGENCY RESPONSE
AND ONGOING CHALLENGES

REF: A) OUAGADOUGOU 694

OUAGADOUGO 00000753 001.2 OF 003


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. SUMMARY. On September 2, post declared a disaster due to the
effects of severe flooding in the capital, Ouagadougou (ref A),
following unusually heavy rain on September 1. In response, USAID's
Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) provided
$120,000 to support water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions.
Local, regional, and international response efforts appear at
present to be meeting the basic humanitarian needs of the
approximately 63,000 people displaced by the floods, although
assistance gaps remain. However, the transition from emergency to
recovery faces numerous challenges, including the logistical hurdle
of relocating displaced people from schools before the scheduled
start of the school year on October 1. Priorities for the
transition phase include assisting with humanitarian support at
relocation sites and helping flood-affected populations rebuild both
homes and livelihoods. END SUMMARY.

-------------------------------
POST-FLOOD CRISIS STABILIZATION
-------------------------------

2. Emergency assistance to date from the Government of Burkina Faso
(GoBF), donors, and international relief agencies appears to be
meeting the basic humanitarian needs of the approximately 63,800
people displaced by the floods in Ouagadougou. Displaced people are
currently sheltering in 88 temporary sites throughout the city,
including schools, churches, and public buildings. Initial press
and GoBF reports indicated that the floods had displaced
approximately 150,000 people. However, as of September 14, the
Burkinabe Red Cross Society (BRCS), the national Red Cross society,
reported approximately 63,000 displaced people, following surveys of
the temporary sites. The GoBF currently estimates approximately
70,000 displaced people. (NOTE: Relief agencies providing emergency
assistance report privately that even the BRCS figures may
overestimate the actual number of displaced people. END NOTE.)

3. Relief agencies continue to assess displacement, damage to
infrastructure and individual homes, and the humanitarian needs of
flood-affected populations. In addition to displaced in the 88
sites, other flood affected who are sheltering with friends and
relatives are more difficult to identify and are not included in the
63,000 estimate. The GoBF has diverted water from outside the
capital to ensure a sufficient water supply in Ouagadougou until two
flood-damaged generators can be repaired. The GoBF, U.N. agencies,
and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies (IFRC) have reported some flood damage outside
Ouagadougou, particularly in Bagre and Boulgou districts. However,
in discussions with USAID/OFDA staff, representatives of Save the
Children and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. (FAO)
have indicated relatively minor flood damage outside Ouagadougou
compared to conditions in the capital.

4. Should Burkina Faso experience normal rather than exceptional
rainfall in the coming months, prospects for continued post-disaster
stabilization and transition to recovery appear favorable.

-----------------
EMERGENCY REPONSE
-----------------

5. In addition to the prompt arrival in-country of U.N., donor, and
non-governmental organization (NGO) assessment and coordination
teams, the GoBF and the BRCS have responded proactively to emergency
needs. Within five days of the floods, the BRCS conducted a survey
of displacement in 86 of the 88 temporary relocation sites. The
survey findings provided initial planning figures for distribution
of emergency relief food and non-food supplies by humanitarian

OUAGADOUGO 00000753 002.2 OF 003


organizations. In addition, the GoBF Ministry of Health temporarily
waived treatment fees for malaria, diarrheal disease, and
respiratory infections in flood-affected neighborhoods. Finally,
the GoBF-organized Solidarity Week launched on September 7 raised
USD 4.8 million in cash and in-kind donations to assist in emergency
relief efforts.

6. Emergency relief supplies continue to arrive in Burkina Faso.
The U.N. and IFRC have both issued flash appeals to raise additional
support for flood relief and recovery to transition during the next
six months. Relief agencies are conducting disease prevention
campaigns. The U.N. World Food Program (WFP), Africare, and
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) are providing emergency food
assistance to displaced populations in all temporary sites through
the end of September. In addition, countries in the region,
including Morocco and Libya, have contributed emergency food
supplies, tents, and other commodities. Following visits to several
temporary sites, USAID/OFDA staff report calm and order among the
displaced populations.

---------------
ASSISTANCE GAPS
---------------

7. Current gaps in the humanitarian response include inadequate
efforts to address sanitation needs and insufficient efforts by both
the GoBF and international relief agencies to consider medium- to
long-term challenges for populations displaced by floods. A focus
on ensuring an orderly and equitable distribution of emergency
relief supplies in the short term has resulted in a lack of
attention to the resources and assistance displaced populations will
need to rebuild their livelihoods and their homes. An eventual
recovery will require that the GoBF and relief agencies recalibrate
relief efforts to help displaced populations return home and
reestablish livelihoods.

--------------------------------------------- ---
NEW SCHOOL YEAR HURDLE IN TRANSITION TO RECOVERY
--------------------------------------------- ---

8. A majority of the approximately 63,000 people displaced by
floods are currently sheltering in schools. The school year is
scheduled to start on October 1. In order to ensure a timely start
to the school year, the GoBF plans to relocate displaced populations
to other temporary sites. To date, however, the GoBF has not
presented a list of relocation sites, despite assurances given at
humanitarian coordination meetings. The delay will extend the
initial emergency phase of the humanitarian response, as relief
agencies will likely need to devote additional resources to help
relocate displaced populations quickly and to provide services at
new sites. On September 11, an IFRC emergency team arrived
in-country and is assessing the viability of potential relocation
sites. A team from the NGO MapAction, attached to the U.N. Disaster
Assessment and Coordination Team currently deployed to Burkina Faso,
accompanied the IFRC team to map potential locations in order to
facilitate humanitarian planning for the impending relocations.

9. It is unclear, however, how many displaced people will choose to
relocate to new temporary sites. Some may return to their damaged
homes, while others may squat in non-school public buildings or be
further absorbed into host communities. In addition, eventual
rebuilding efforts may be further complicated by the fact that most
people displaced by floods rented their homes and thus do not own
land on which to rebuild. Compounding the difficulties, the GoBF
has announced rebuilding restrictions in some flood zones without
providing information on potential sites for permanent
resettlement.

-----------------------------
USAID/ OFDA AND USG ASSISTANCE
-----------------------------


OUAGADOUGO 00000753 003.2 OF 003


10. In response to post's disaster declaration on September 2,
USAID/OFDA provided $50,000 for the procurement of 30 water storage
units for use in affected areas. Post consigned the water storage
units to CRS. In coordination with the GoBF and international
relief agencies, CRS is currently placing the tanks in temporary
displacement sites throughout the city. On September 17, U.S.
Embassy and USAID staff plan to monitor the placement of the water
storage units.

11. On September 11, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF),with $70,000
in funds from USAID/OFDA, provided supplies in water, sanitation,
and hygiene interventions throughout Ouagadougou.

12. USAID's Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) granted approval
to CRS and Africare to direct 10 percent (742.8 metric tons)of
current USAID/FFP-funded multi-year food assistance in Burkina Faso
to meet emergency needs over the first month. Total value of food
commodities provided is USD 752,000.

13. Since September 4, a USAID/OFDA acting Senior Program Officer
has been stationed in Burkina Faso to assess humanitarian needs and
closely monitor relief efforts, as well as USAID/OFDA's projects
under the Global Food Security Response (GFSR). USAID/OFDA staff
will continue to monitor the transition from emergency to recovery
in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou, USAID/West
Africa, USAID/FFP, and humanitarian partners.

LAEUCHLI

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