As the waters continue to rise in rain-flooded areas of Suriname, a six-member United Nations team is headed to the South American country to assess the situation of the tens of thousands of people who have been affected, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which is sending a cash grant, said today.
Some 37,000 people living on river banks and on islands in the remote lowlands have fled to higher ground, but 22,000 of them are homeless, OCHA said.
OCHA has given a preliminary cash grant of $30,000 and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has provided $80,000 to the UN country team for immediate needs.
The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team carries out a rapid evaluation of priority needs. It also supports the national authorities and the UN Resident Coordinator in organizing the receipt and distribution of international relief in an affected country.
Heavy rainfall started on 1 May, raising the levels of the Upper Suriname and other rivers, which inundated 25,000 to 30,000 square kilometres of the country’s nearly 163,300 square kilometres. The Government of Suriname declared disaster areas, provided emergency funds and appealed to all national, regional and international institutions to help, OCHA said.
With buildings, roads, ports, airstrips, telecommunication networks and the electricity grid damaged, OCHA said preliminary indications are that food, water, sanitation, emergency shelter, transport and telecommunications, as well as expertise, are urgently needed.