Uganda Floods Flash Appeal 2007
Unusually heavy rainfall since July 2007 has led to severe flooding and water-logging across many parts of eastern, central and northern Uganda. The flooding has affected an already highly vulnerable area of Uganda, where the majority of households are dependent on subsistence agriculture, and the basic services are already severely overstretched. In particular, the flooding has had a critical impact in the Teso sub-region due to its severity, and the relative lack of capacity amongst government and humanitarian actors to respond to needs. For this reason, the humanitarian response presented in this document will focus primarily on aid delivery and assistance activities in the districts of the Teso sub-region.
An estimated 50,000 households (300,000 people) have been affected by the flooding, and require various levels of humanitarian assistance. Most people face food insecurity due to the loss of their first season harvest (due in July/August) and the delay in second season planting. Whereas a two-month “hunger gap” is the norm, this year the gap is expected to extend up to 10 months. The next successful harvest is not expected before February 2008; if the heavy rainfall continues in the most affected areas, harvest will be further delayed. Moreover, it will take at least two harvests for affected households to fully to recover their losses.
In addition to damaged homes and health facilities – the traditional mud-brick architecture of the region is particularly susceptible to the wet conditions – water and sanitation facilities have been severely impacted by the flooding, and a large percentage of water sources have also been contaminated. In addition to the immediate threat posed by this situation, the Health cluster warns of an increased likelihood of waterborne disease outbreaks as flood waters recede. The incidence of malaria, diarrhoeal diseases and acute respiratory infections has already increased, reportedly by as much as 30%.
Complicating the ongoing humanitarian response is the fact that access to many areas has become increasingly difficult, as roads and bridges are damaged and washed away by the floodwaters. Indeed, the most affected communities are inaccessible by land, leaving those wishing to assist them dependent on air and boat transportation for both assessments and aid deliveries. Consequently, affected people in several areas have been cut off from accessing health and other social services, putting at risk all displaced persons, most acutely women (especially pregnant and lactating women) and children, who are particularly vulnerable.
The cluster leadership has thus jointly identified the following priorities for the emergency response to the floods:
- Stabilising the initial food security situation (Food Security cluster);
- Preventing disease outbreaks and ensuring capacity to respond to health emergencies (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene [WASH] and Health clusters);
- Re-opening schools and ensuring access to primary education (Education cluster);
- Responding to the urgent needs of the most vulnerable (Camp Coordination/Camp Management cluster, Non-food Items working group);
- Ensuring physical access to the most vulnerable, and continuing inter-cluster assessments (Logistics cluster);
- Understanding the early recovery needs of the affected population and prioritising recovery interventions (Early Recovery cluster).
Each cluster has held strategy-setting meetings with all available partners, including UN Agencies, NGOs, community-based organisations (CBOs) and the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) to determine the cluster strategy for the floods response. However, many of the cluster partners are not currently present in the flood-affected area, including most of the NGOs, who are currently focusing their humanitarian operations on the ongoing complex emergency situation in northern Uganda. In the interests of time, and while many NGOs are still assessing the possibility of deploying to the flood-affected areas, most clusters have decided to submit one main project for the Flash Appeal, with the cluster lead as appealing agency. Funding will then be passed on to all cluster partners who are able to respond to this emergency.
It should be noted that the response described in this document’s present iteration aims to meet the projected needs of the affected population over the next six months, the minimum duration of the emergency response, as the population relies on subsistence agriculture and cannot expect another successful harvest before February 2008. As such, this document is based on information and planning figures as of 19 September 2007. As the situation develops and new information comes to light, these planning figures may be expected to change, and the planning document to be updated accordingly. In this regard, it should be noted that a full inter-cluster assessment is planned for October 2007 in order to re-assess planning assumptions and re-evaluate the nature of the emergency response.
It should also be noted that the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS), with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), launched an appeal on 18 September for US $2.4 million for its emergency response in areas including water and sanitation, non-food items (NFI) and shelter (please see attachment). The agencies participating in the present appeal will work in coordination with the URCS/IFRC to meet needs in those areas.
At present, therefore, the Flash Appeal requests a total amount of $40,844,801 to address urgent humanitarian and some limited early recovery needs for 300,000 people affected by the flooding over the coming six months. The United Nations agencies participating in the Flash Appeal intend to apply to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for funding for their most urgent interventions in key sectors, which have been jointly agreed.
Uganda is a cluster leadership approach pilot country. Currently, there are eight clusters operating in the country and, therefore, in the response to the flooding:
1) Camp Coordination/Camp Management; 2) Early Recovery; 3) Education; 4) Food Security; 5) Health, Nutrition and HIV/AIDS; 6) Protection; 7) WASH, and 8) Logistics (which has been opened exclusively for the floods response).