Central African Red Cross volunteers prepare for disasters
Every year during the rainy season, the Central African Republic experiences a series of floods. In the capital Bangui, this natural hazard particularly affects the districts along the Oubangui River. In 2019, floods caused significant material damage and displaced around 100,000 people. Some 10,000 houses were destroyed and more than 500 wells and 1,500 latrines were flooded. Numerous infrastructures and large agricultural areas were destroyed in eight prefectures and in Bangui. This disaster has further aggravated the already deplorable humanitarian situation and created additional needs. Humanitarians provided multisectoral assistance to the affected people, including emergency shelter, food, water, hygiene and sanitation.
Learning from past experience
The extensive impacts of the floods that occurred highlighted coordination problems in terms of standardising the data provided by different actors, the lack of people trained in post-disaster assessments and missing assessment guidelines. The lack of a common data storage and management platforms, including for example mapping, was also noticed.
In response, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in collaboration with the NGO REACH and the International Federation of the Red Cross, reinforced from 29 June to 3 July the capacity of 20 volunteers from the Central African Red Cross and the Directorate General of Civil Protection on post-disaster assessment. In the Central African Republic, these volunteers are considered first responders in the community for various emergency situations, including disasters, and have excellent knowledge of the local context.
Participants of the training discussed the rationale behind the methodology and results of humanitarian assessments, the design of questionnaires and the guiding principles of humanitarian action. Afterwards, participants will learn how to use the interviewers' guide and simplified data collection on a dedicated sheet, before using the 'Kobo collect' application installed in each of the 20 tablets that REACH provides the participants at the end of the training.
For better preparedness
In support of the authorities in their primary mission to ensure the well-being of the population, in 2020, OCHA supported a study carried out by REACH on susceptibility to flooding in populated areas. The findings of the study were presented to the authorities, including the mapping of the most vulnerable areas; to better inform their decisions.