Hurricane Felix made landfall as a category five

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Mission Report
Nicaragua Hurricane Felix Emergency
WFP Logistics Support
Sep 2 – Oct 1, 2007
Prepared by Mirjana Kavelj, WFP Logistics Officer
Email: [email protected]
WFP Logistics support to Nicaragua Hurricane Felix Emergency
Background
Hurricane Felix made landfall as a category five storm on the morning of Sep 4 striking
the northeast coast of Nicaragua, north of Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas), the capital of the
Nicaragua North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN). The departments of Puerto
Cabezas and Waspam in North Atlantic Autonomous Region of Nicaragua (RAAN)
received a major impact. The Triangulo Minero (Rosita, Bonanza) as well as the Rio Coco
were affected as well, though at a lesser extent.
The damage and needs assessments by the National System for Disaster Prevention,
Mitigation and Attention (SINAPRED1) from Sep 12 indicated an estimated 162,373
people affected, with 67 confirmed fatalities and 110 persons missing. As to the
infrastructure, a total of 9,948 houses were affected in the municipalities of the RAAN, of
which 7,945 were completely destroyed. Communications and power lines in the
regional capital Bilwi collapsed.
EDAN and map
After the hurricane’s passage, a joint mission by the UN System, coordinated by the
World Food Programme (WFP), carried out more detailed damage assessments.
Many bridges were uncrossable due to flooding including the Sisan bridge on the road
between Bilwi and Waspam, and the barge crossing at Rio Wawa was washed away,
which isolated the RAAN from the rest of the country by road. WFP warehouse in Bilwi
was destroyed.
The emergency needs set in order of priority were food, water, health and construction
material. Logistics was expected to be a major challenge due to poor infrastructure and
absence of implementing partners.
United Nations Response
The response of the United Nations (UN) System started from the first alerts issued by the
government. WFP deployed its regional logistics cluster focal point to assist the UN
Country team and WFP CO in preparing for a possible humanitarian situation.
The Resident Coordinator activated the UN coordination mechanisms (UNCT, UNDMT
and UNETE). The UN situation rooms were activated in Managua and Bilwi. The UN team
residing in Bilwi and Waspam established the necessary initial coordination with the
regional and municipal government. They also facilitated the flow of preliminary
information before and during the hurricane.
WFP assumed responsibility for food, emergency telecoms and interagency and
government logistics coordination and logistics information management.
1 Sistema Nacional de Prevención, Mitigación y Atención a Desastres.
Prepared by Mirjana Kavelj, WFP Logistics Officer
WFP Logistics support to Nicaragua Hurricane Felix Emergency
National Response
As typical in cases of disasters, the Government and local authorities led the overall
humanitarian response and the Resident Coordinator, with other members of the UNCT,
offered United Nations support to the Government response efforts.
On September 4, the President of Nicaragua declared a state of emergency in the
RAAN, and ordered SINAPRED to immediately take necessary actions according to the
Recovery and Reconstruction Plan (RRP), with funds from the national budget and the
international community, and to ensure that search and rescue operations continue in
order to reach those still stranded and needing assistance.
SINAPRED immediately activated its Sectoral Working Groups/Commissions. With the
support of WHO/PAHO, SINAPRED has established the SUMA (Humanitarian Supply
Management System).
Under the leadership of the Civil Defense of the Nicaraguan Army, the Disaster
Operations Centers (CODE) were activated at national and regional level in Managua
and Bilwi respectively. The Civil Defense of the Nicaraguan Army has a responsibility for
the overall logistics of the disaster response. With its own aircraft as well as aircraft from
the US, Venezuela, Brazil, Honduras, El Salvador and Spain, the Nica Army established an
air bridge between Managua and Puerto Cabezas, ensuring rapid delivery of the most
urgent relief items.
See attached the Air bridge illustration and the assets available.
Air bridge
WFP Logistics Support
WFP is, except for a few small NGOs, the principal humanitarian agency working in the
extremely remote and difficult to access RAAN. It is one of the few places in the world
where WFP does retail distribution. The complex logistics arrangements required to reach
remote indigenous communities in the RAAN are exceptionally expensive and labor
intensive often requiring up to 4 modes of transport, final leg being done on 2 – 4 Mt
capacity river boats.
WFP has been operational in Nicaragua since 1971. With the existing operational
capacity and structure supporting development projects and PRRO operations, field
offices throughout the country including the most remote areas in RAAN, experienced
staff, and good working relations with the government, SINAPRED and other UN
Agencies, WFP was well placed to handle Felix emergency, and provide logistics support
and advice to the rest of the humanitarian community and government institutions.
The existence of in-country non committed stocks (around 2,000 Mt at the time Felix hit
RAAN), in particular stocks pre-positioned in Bilwi and Siuna warehouses allowed WFP CO
to respond immediately.
Despite the scale of the emergency, and considering the volume of humanitarian cargo
made available in response, the government organized air bridge and commercially
available transport capacity proved sufficient. One of the WFP logistics contributions
Prepared by Mirjana Kavelj, WFP Logistics Officer
WFP Logistics support to Nicaragua Hurricane Felix Emergency
was the opening of the El Rama / Puerto Cabezas river / Caribbean Sea corridor which
was important in the first weeks when the Wawa river ferry was not operational.
As advised by WFP Log Cluster Officer, the UNCT did not activate logistics cluster.
However, gaps in logistics coordination and information management needed to be
addressed and the WFP as the global logistics cluster lead provided the following
conceptual services to the Government and Humanitarian community.
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Interagency and government logistics coordination
Logistics support and guidance to government and humanitarian agencies
Logistics information management
Logistics operational support to WFP
Specific support relevant to the above included
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Developed a Concept of operation for the humanitarian response that was used
by WFP CO, Government, UN agencies and NGOs (see below graphic).
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Produced access maps to RAAN (see www.logcluster.org Hurricane Felix
Nicaragua).
Initiated interagency logistics coordination, including SINAPRED, CODE and
Nicaraguan Army and donors.
Established and led Interagency Logistics Group (see www.logcluster.org
Hurricane Felix Nicaragua).
Established and supported coordination procedure between the government
CODE and UN agencies (see www.logcluster.org Hurricane Felix Nicaragua).
Dedicated logistics website and provided all logistics inputs and updates
including information on logistics coordination, air, sea, river and road transport
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Prepared by Mirjana Kavelj, WFP Logistics Officer
WFP Logistics support to Nicaragua Hurricane Felix Emergency
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capacities and availability, transport procedures and schedules, infrastructure
updates, supply chain, customs, updated info on access to RAAN, access maps,
etc. (see www.logcluster.org Hurricane Felix Nicaragua).
Gathered, analyzed and shared all logistics information with UN agencies, NGOs,
government authorities and military through emails, sitreps, website, and
coordination meetings.
As per SINAPRED and CODE request, produced a food distribution plan for 315
communities in RAAN, and developed a master plan for food delivery by air, road
and river, including consolidated delivery points and helicopter landing pads. The
plan was used by the regional government and food aid agencies and
contributed to better use of transport capacities and eliminated duplication in
food deliveries.
Facilitated road, river and sea transport contracting, consolidation of cargo,
stevedoring, and warehouse rental for the Government, UN agencies and NGOs.
WFP logistics assisted UN agencies and NGOs with its own warehouse space,
transport and handling capacities (UNICEF, WHO-OPS, UNDP, CRS, Plan
International, Cruz Roja, etc.).
On behalf of UNCT, negotiated the use of military helicopters.
Supported WFP logistics operation (conops, rapid replacement of warehouse in
Bilwi, opening of El Rama river/sea corridor, delivery and distribution of food to
RAAN within hours of emergency, organization of road, sea and helicopter
transport, etc.).
Provided logistics inputs for a Special Operation for air ops, Flash appeal, and CO
Sitreps.
At the end of mission provided recommendation to WFP CO and the UN RC for
optimization of supply chain, augmentation of logistics capacities in RAAN trough
Special Operations and joint projects with UN-NGOs.
Recommendation to WFP CO Nicaragua
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Maintain interagency and government logistics coordination through established
Interagency Log Group
Update information on interagency/government logistics capacities at least
once a year, prior to hurricane season, and prepare an interagency/government
contingency plan.
Use El Rama corridor for humanitarian deliveries to RAAN, and maintain cargo
consolidation practice with UN agencies and NGOs (transit time shorter during
rainy season, cost same as road transport via Siuna and Rio Wawa Barge).
Increase warehouse capacity in RAAN with two mobile warehouses (Bilwi and
Waspam).
Update shortlist of contractors with transport companies in RAAN (availability
confirmed)
In coordination with WFP Honduras explore possibility of using coastal vessels for
cargo deliveries from Puerto Cortez to Puerto Cabezas. WFP Honduras contracts
400 Mt capacity vessels from El Ceiba to Gracias a Dios. This would eliminate a
long and expensive overland transport from Cortez to Corinto and to RAAN via
Siuna.
Recommended Special Operations (CO to coordinate with RB Panama and
ALITE):
o Rehabilitation of the Rio Wawa Barge crossing, estimated cost $ 700,000.
Prepared by Mirjana Kavelj, WFP Logistics Officer
WFP Logistics support to Nicaragua Hurricane Felix Emergency
Construction of a hurricane resistant warehouse in Puerto Cabezas that
will serve as the principal hub for operations in RAAN (estimated cost $
120,000).
o Purchase of five boats and outboard motors for the transport of supplies,
personnel and medical evacuation along the Rio Coco (estimated cost $
100,000).
In coordination with WFP CO El Salvador and the UN RC in Nicaragua, follow-up
on Log Cluster Officer´s initiative to use SATCA as an interagency early warning
and GIS mapping system in Nicaragua with strong emphasis on SATCA potential
to facilitate coordination role of the RC through mapping of relevant project
data.
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End
Photos by Mirjana Kavelj and Alejandro Lopez-Chicheri
Prepared by Mirjana Kavelj, WFP Logistics Officer
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