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Rapid Response Fund Payment Request No. 11/2013
Funds Sent To: Russian Orthodox Church/Dept. for External Church Relations
Amount Sent: US 49,998
Date: 29 August 2013
Details of Response
Emergency: Assistance to Flood Victims in the Amur Region, Russia
Date of Emergency: From August 2013 onwards
ACT Requesting Member: Russian Orthodox Church/Dept. for External Church Relations
I. NARRATIVE SUMMARY
DETAILS OF THE EMERGENCY
In August 2013, several regions of the Russian Far East near the Amur River (a boarder river between Russia and China) were affected by the most severe floods in recent decades. Authorities have declared an emergency in the Amur region, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast and the Khabarovsk region. Official data indicates 9,500 houses in 190 villages are flooded, at least 98,000 people, including about 8,000 children, are affected and more than 24,000 people have been evacuated to temporary accommodation.
The evacuated people are placed into temporary accommodation such as public buildings, tent camps, private houses located in the neighbouring villages that are not affected by the flood. The evacuated children will be accommodated in special federal education camps in other regions of Russia. The school year begins on 1 September. Governmental and non-governmental organizations are currently providing flood-affected families with shelter, food, clothing, bedding and medicine.
According to the local dioceses of ACT Alliance member, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), many people didn’t have time to take their belongings during the emergency evacuation; most of them could take only a few things and documents. In some places the evacuation was so fast that people left in home clothing and slippers and couldn’t take with them anything at all. A mass evacuation in the largest city of the region Khabarovsk is planned – the expected water rise was 730-780 cm, but the recent forecast is over 8 meters. The Amur level approached the Khabarovsk Central Heating and Power Plant. Partial evacuation in Khabarovsk started already, first for inhabitants of multi-storey apartment houses.
To date, all the forces and resources in the city are directed towards combating the emergency. The Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM) has employed rescue workers. Involved in the emergency response is also the military, city services and local citizens who are working to strengthen the existing and construct new dams. The authorities appealed to the entire population of the region to participate in this work. The local clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church headed by Metropolitan Ignatius of Amur and Khabarovsk also take part in this work as volunteers.
A new flood wave is expected that is associated with the flow of the water from the Chinese tributaries of Amur into the main river and with the continuous rain. The rain is now less intensive compared to the first half of August, but still doesn’t stop completely in many places. The authorities expect the peak of floods by the end of this week or beginning of September.
According to the Russian Ministry of Health, 2,260 people have been hospitalized, including 748 children. Over 21,000 people, including more than 6,000 children sought medical treatment. The authorities have started an emergency vaccination of the population. To date almost 120,000 people were vaccinated against various diseases, including hepatitis A, dysentery and typhoid. Due to the lack of clean drinking water in many flooded areas the authorities urge people to use for drinking and cooking only boiled water. It is also planned to vaccinate against flu in anticipation of an early onset of cold weather. In addition, livestock in the region is vaccinated to avoid outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and anthrax. Some cases of these diseases have been registered.
Estimated damage caused by flooding to date is approximately 1 billion USD, but the flood still continues. According to local authorities, most of the flooded houses (including at least 110 public buildings, such as schools, hospitals, etc.) are not suitable for reconstruction and habitation, so affected people will need temporary accommodation until the next year. It should be noted that the frosts start in this region in October. The infrastructure will have to be reconstructed: roads, electricity, water intakes, wells and other facilities. The local agriculture also received severe damage - one third to one half of the acreage was destroyed by floods.
ACTIONS TO DATE, AND EMERGENCY NEEDS
The Russian Orthodox Church has assisted flood victims from the beginning of the emergency. On 17 August His Holiness Patriarch Kirill addressed the heads of administrative regions of Russia that were affected by floods, and also clergy and believers, living in the flooded areas, calling them to provide all possible assistance to the victims. In the dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church, located in the flood-affected areas from the first days of the tragedy began to assist people in evacuation from flooded areas, which was often carried out by clergy and parishioners in the private cars. All parishes collected money, food, clothing, medicine and hygiene supplies to assist the victims and organized deliveries to the flooded regions and temporary accommodation places.
Clergy and church volunteers provide humanitarian assistance, are involved in drawing up lists of most affected people and assess the most urgent needs. Local clergy and church volunteers (including - doctors) visit people in temporary accommodation centers to provide pastoral, psychological and other assistance. In some places, the parishes also arranged temporary accommodation of victims, including churches and church buildings.
According to the local church structures that provide assistance to disaster victims, currently the most flood affected towns and villages are concentrated on the banks of the Amur River, most of all - the largest city in the region Khabarovsk (Khabarovsk Territory) and the surrounding villages. The flood affected people, including those in temporary accommodation centers, are currently in dire need of drinking water, baby diapers, hygiene items and antiseptics.
PROPOSED EMERGENCY RESPONSE
To meet urgent needs in clean drinking water, hygiene and antiseptics in the places most affected by the catastrophic flood in Amur region and offer the most affected families some hope by providing emergency life sustaining assistance.
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