10 May, 2006

Suriname Flooding: Details of Help Needed

The NCCR (National Coordination Center for Disaster Control) is operating from the Relief Crisis Center which has been set up at the Ministry of Defence in the capital of Suriname and currently the center is receiving hands-on support from representatives from the NGO Interior Network (NGOs working in the Interior) and the UNDP.

Disaster Relief Coordination meetings are held twice a day with all main coordinating and support organizations, including the Police Corps of Suriname, the Districts Commissioners for Sipaliwini and Brokopondo, the Ministry of Regional Development, UN organizations, the Suriname Red Cross and the NGO Interior Network. Extra phone lines and ADSL internet access have been established while a website for focal point of contact online is being built. As of now, the focal point for international assistance is being handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which is supported by the UNDP.

Transport is a major difficulty due to the terrible conditions (continued rainfall) of access only possible via gravel road to the affected areas (Brokopondo: Afobaka road; Sipaliwini: road to Atjoni; Marowijne: road to Langatabiki/Bakaaboto). Air transport is very restricted due to the unavailability of landing strips which have been submerged or are currently deteriorating rapidly mainly as a result of the frequent landings.

Helicopter transport is expected to be the only possible mode of transport to the Interior if weather conditions deteriorate futher. Water transport is available using boats of local residents; however, fuel is scarce, especially the transport of bulk fuel to flooded areas. It is expected that a surface area of 100 x 80 meters may have to be cleared for establishing one relief camp for 500 displaced persons. At least five cleared areas would be necessary if all ‘nominated’ persons for evacuation are to be housed.

Some of the issues which are hampering aid efforts include the lack of immediate funds, specifically for food, water, sanitation, emergency housing, transport, communication, the shortage of skilled personnel to coordinate security escorts for aid convoys in the relief crisis center, the unavailability of measurement equipment, satellite imaging and (hydrological) models alongside major delays in finalizing formal requests for urgent relief support to international non-governmental organizations


Some of the relief items needed immediately are (in order of priority):

o Food
o Water
o Sanitation Facilities/Equipment
o Emergency housing/Tents/Storage Facilities
o Transport
o Telecommunication facilities
o Volunteers
o Skilled personnel for crisis management in affected areas

Key Infrastructure that is not affected:

Airstrips that are functional:
Airstrips: Djumu, Palumeu, Godo-olo, Gaakaba

Telecommunication facilities that are operational:
a) Telesur connected areas: Pokigron, Abenaston, Guyaba, Asidonhopo, Djumu, Gunzi, Dritabiki
b) Two-way radios via 120 Telesur: Stonhuku, Palumeu, Wanapan.
c) Cellular (mobile) connection: Langatabiki (TDMA), Nyun Jakobkondre (TDMA), Apoera (GSM)

Assistance & items that are not needed are:

Unknown food items
Odd or old clothing
Disaster tourists (also known as inexperienced relief volunteers)

Donations on the ground are being managed by the NCCR, UNDP 7 the Suirname Red Cross. For information regarding donations, please get in touch with one of the following organizations:

Jerry Slijngard the Head Coordinator
Kwattaweg 29
Paramaribo, Suriname
Tel. +597 520840, 426416, 426522, 880 0168

Osian Jones (Programme Director) / Max Ooft (Assistant Resident Representative)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
Sub-Office Suriname/CO Trinidad and Tobago
Heerenstraat 17, Paramaribo
Tel. +597 420030, 421417
Fax +597 425136
E-mail: /

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