Revision of the Flash Appeal for Lao People's Democratic Republic 2009

18 November 2009

The Lao PDR Flash Appeal was launched on 22 October in response to the humanitarian needs caused by Typhoon Ketsana.  The typhoon resulted in flash flooding in the upland mountainous areas and severe river overflow onto land surrounding the Sekong river and many of its tributaries.  This was the first high-magnitude flood in the southern provinces of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) since 1968.  Many of the affected areas in the FIVE provinces of Attapeu, Sekong, Saravan, Savannakhet and Champassack are among the poorest and most vulnerable in the country, with high levels of food insecurity and up to 50% of children underweight. 

Although the physical damage incurred is not as extensive as originally feared, the impact on the affected people has been significant leaving many people vulnerable with their coping strategies severely impaired.  The recent Joint Assessment[1]conducted by the Government, international and national non-governmental organisations (I/NGOs) and UN partners confirms the preliminary data included in the initial Flash Appeal, and indicates that 180,674 people (approximately 28,678 households) have been affected, representing 18.8% of the total population of these five provinces, with 9,602 households displaced and 28 storm-related deaths reported. 

The recent findings reveal thataround 70% (approximately 126,000 people) of the affected people are in need of food assistance for three months in four of the five flood-affected provinces.  Some 72, 000 people will continue to require assistance for a further three months afterwards.  Farmers in the areas visited have very low expectations for this year’s harvest: approximately 28,500 hectares of rice and crop fields have been damaged resulting in a 70% production loss of harvest yields.

According to the latest assessment the confirmed damage to infrastructure includes 1,023 houses destroyed and 825 houses damaged.  A total of 136 schools were affected (including 23 destroyed and 113 severely damaged).  Nine hospitals were damaged (3 severely, 6 partially), leading to increased vulnerability for communities, especially children and women, due to the interruption of access to health care services, damage to infrastructure, and shortages of medical supplies in affected areas.  14 irrigation systems and 112 water systemswere destroyed.  Many access roads were also damaged.

Severe unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination still affects the five disaster-affected provinces.  It has been reported that a significant number of UXO were exposed or displaced by the flooding.  Due to the loss of livelihoods, there is an acute danger of UXO being sold as scrap for much needed income.  The threat of exploitation, most particularly trafficking, is likely to increase in the next six to twelve months as the impact of the loss of livelihoods and income begins to affect families.  Increased rural to urban population movements may lead young people and families to resort to increasingly desperate survival mechanisms. 

Within this context, the United Nations agencies, I/NGOs and the Lao Red Cross (LRC) have continued to support the Government’s response.  To date the Government has disbursed 111 billion LAK (approximately US$[2]13,058,823) to the affected provinces.  However, due to the severe impact on the lives and livelihoods of the affected people, further support is still needed by the international community.  The UN and I/NGOs also play a critical role in ensuring an equitable response for the flood victims.  Therefore the objectives of this revised Flash Appeal are to augment and complement the Government’s response by providing emergency relief to the affected populations. 

To support the Government’s relief actions, the international humanitarian community is seeking $12,808,836 to address the immediate needs of 180,674 people affected by Typhoon Ketsana over the next six months, until April 2010.  This amount is essential for providing life-saving emergency assistance as well as for ensuring minimum standards of adequate living conditions before the next agricultural cycle in order to prevent food insecurity. 

This revised appeal was developed in partnership with the Government of Lao PDR through the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) members including I/NGOs and provides the framework for a common inter-agency understanding of needs and priorities, based on the best information currently available.

As of 18 December, $4,720,975 or 47% of the Flash Appeal’s original requirements had been received.  Whilst this constitutes a significant level of funding, inequalities in funding levels across sectors can be seen in Table 1.  With almost 53% of the appeal’s budget still unfunded, serious challenges remain to respond to the most vulnerable groups and humanitarian needs.

[1]The assessment was conducted from 19 to 24 October with 17 assessment teams covering 16 of the total 26 administrative districts in the five most affected provinces.  This assessment was organised under the overall authority of the Government of Lao PDR in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), line ministries, UN agencies and I/NGOs

[2]As of 16 November.  All dollar signs in this document denote United States dollars.  Funding for this appeal should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS,, which will display its requirements and funding on the CAP 2009 page. 

Document History

18 November 2009

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