Appeal No. MAA00025
This report covers the period 01/01/2008 to
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Programme purpose: The provision of assistance during or immediately after a disaster to meet the
life preservation and basic subsistence needs of people affected by disasters remains at the core of
the International Federation’s mandate.
Over the past two years there has been an increased investment by the International Federation in
relief capacity development. Funding to this programme is needed to ensure that the organization is
capable to meet the challenges posed by the increased frequency of disaster events.
Programme summary: Bringing relief to those affected by emergencies has been a key activity for
the International Federation and its member National Societies for more than 80 years. The
International Federation is well placed to assist victims of disasters through its network of National
Societies. Almost every country in the world has a Red Cross or Red Crescent Society, each with
branches and trained volunteers at the community level. The actions of volunteers, as well as those
of the Red Cross/ Red Crescent Movement as a whole, are guided by a number of key principles
During the first half of 2008, various activities have been initiated to map and support the wide range
of relief interventions undertaken by the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and to identify best
practices. These activities include desktop reviews of reports and evaluations, and collaborative
project reviews with interested National Societies. Guidance has been sought through a number of
meetings and workshops on relief involving groups of interested National Societies and Relief
Emergency Response Unit (ERU) capacities in National Societies. Events and trainings on relief
were also held in Geneva, Jordan, Hungary, France, Bangladesh, and the Netherlands.
Through the relief appeal, the International Federation seeks donor support to assist National
Societies to strengthen their preparedness to respond, as well as to provide efficient response skill
and capacity when regional and international support is needed. By investing in their long-term
development of preparedness for response and capacity building, National Societies are able to be
better prepared to respond when disasters occur, and support people affected by disasters to meet
their immediate needs. This was clearly demonstrated in Bangladesh, Myanmar and China at the
beginning of 2008, when the investment made in disaster preparedness during the last three years
paid off. These countries were better prepared, fewer lives were lost, and the response was better
The relief programme continues to support the development of needs-based planning. The
programme has also helped National Societies use tools to implement programmes which respond
to the needs on the ground.
Existing relief programming guidance is being collated, and new tools developed, drawing upon the
experiences of the International Federation and a number of National Societies under the mission
assistant CD. Trainings have been reviewed and incorporated into the guidance package to promote
increased understanding of, and support for, appropriate relief response activities, relief components
in the Field Assessment and Coordination Teams (FACT), Regional Disaster Response Teams
(RDRT) and the ERU.
Technical support has been provided in-country to relief operations in Myanmar, China, Bangladesh
and South Africa, and towards the development of relief response capacities of the volunteers and
staff of the National Societies of Iraq, Bangladesh and the French Red Cross and Red Crescent
Financial situation: This appeal 2008 budget has been slightly adjusted downwards from CHF
416,000 to CHF 391,000 (USD 373,000 and EUR 241,000) due to initial over budgeting of costs in
relation to travel and CD-Rom development activities. Coverage stands at 59% and expenditure was
Click here to go directly to the attached financial report.
No. of people we help: It is estimated that the International Federation brings assistance through its
disaster response activities to around 30 million people annually, from refugees, to people affected
by natural disasters.
Our partners: Key Red Cross Society partners have provided support ranging from funding, to the
provision of staff on loan, to hosting and contributing to activities. The technical support provided by
the relief ERUs (the American, Spanish, French, British, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg and
Danish Red Cross Societies) has made a significant impact on the development of the relief
Project-specific partnerships have been established with the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) and number of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and United
Nations (UN) agencies, including the Norwegian Refugee Council, on the development of relief tools
During the first half of the year, the International Federation with the support of National
Societies has provided immediate relief assistance to the victims of the following disasters:
• In Myanmar, a revised emergency appeal was launched for CHF 52,857,809 to assist
100,000 families. To date, over 327,500 beneficiaries have received relief assistance
from Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies.
• China received CHF 96.7 million for emergency relief targeting 100,000 families over the
next six months, following the massive earthquake in the country.
• In Bangladesh, the International Federation with the support of the Bangladesh Red
Crescent Society provided food and non-food support to 67,500 families (337,500
people) for 30 days.
• The International Federation has released CHF 300,000 to provide relief assistance to
25,000 people affected by the recent violence in South Africa.
Progress towards outcomes
Outcome(s) / Expected result(s)
Relief tools are developed incorporating sectoral interests, and ensure an effective and efficient
transition to early recovery programming.
During many recent emergencies, the efficiency of the logistics pipeline to mobilize relief goods
was not matched by the capacity of the relief programme to assess, plan and distribute relief
goods to beneficiaries, nor to ensure adequate tracking of the distributions required by donors.
The lack of a keystone application, such as a warehouse management tool, has also prohibited
the departments from attempting to integrate information from the past. While there is currently a
project underway by the logistics department to manage warehouse inventories, there is no
integration of warehousing-related activities, to the relief distribution chain, down to individual
The current information technology (IT) system being developed over the years is not user
friendly and does not meet the planning and reporting requirements. In order to fill this gap, a
terms of reference has been developed aiming to document and formalize the business
processes for relief activities, and to create a new supporting piece of software that will
incorporate standard documentation and monitoring of all phases, as well as allow the tracking
of goods from point of arrival to the direct recipient. This software will ensure that identified
beneficiaries receive the specified goods, as well as satisfy donor requirements. The
Netherlands Red Cross Society has agreed to provide the necessary funding and the technical
know-how to move this project forward. This project is expected to be accomplished in the
second half of the year.
The development of the CD-ROM targeting National Society staff and volunteers and relief
delegates active in relief programmes has been finalized and will be distributed to National
Societies by the beginning of July. The purpose of this CD-ROM is to give an overview of best
practices in relief. The contents include guidance notes, advice, forms and stationery, as well as
reference documentation which will be useful for relief practitioners. These materials have been
developed through practice in relief operations, and should facilitate relief activities. The CD-
ROM provides a comprehensive overview of the International Federation’s relief approach and is
easy to use. It can be used without an internet connection and links are internal to files on the
In the past years, those National Societies with Relief ERU capacity, have provided a
tremendous contribution, not only in terms of deployments, but also towards developing relief
concept, tools and training. However, despite the progress made, a standard and streamlined
relief manual complemented by the training module for national, regional and global relief
responders is still needed. The Relief ERU Working Group (RERUWG), in its meeting in May
2007, expressed its particular support for the update and review of its training tools and relief
ERU manual, as well as the development of a competency-based relief capacity in the light of
new trends and concepts. For that purpose, a terms of reference has been developed to build on
existing materials and to produce standardized and consolidated relief training materials and
methodology for national, regional and global relief responders. It is also expected that the relief
ERU manual will be revised in conjunction with National Societies with Relief ERU capacity and
relevant departments, and a separate relief manual developed, with a more comprehensive
approach targeting National Society practitioners with little or no previous experience in relief
activities. This initiative is expected to be accomplished in the second half of the year.
Outcome(s) / Expected result(s)
Increased and developed relief human resource capacity at the global, regional and national
level in order to scale up relief capacity, and improve the quality of relief programming.
The 2nd global relief training was held in Geneva from 21 to 25 April 2008. Twenty-six National
Society staff and volunteers from 23 different National Societies participated, all of whom had
prior disaster management experience, as well as international professional or volunteer history.
Most of the participants held positions within their organizations as disaster managers. The main
objectives of the training was to increase the International Federation’s relief capacity by training
National Society and International Federation staff and volunteers on core relief functions.
The newly developed recovery and shelter sessions have been incorporated into the training
and presented by the specialists of the shelter and disaster preparedness (DP)/disaster relief
(DR) departments. This was the second opportunity where the relief/recovery, relief/shelter,
relief/logistic interfaces have been illustrated within the holistic disaster management cycle.
Subsequently, the feedback from the participants and the results of the evaluation results have
been assessed and shared with respective National Societies, regional delegations and
departments at the Geneva secretariat.
Preparations of the regional relief trainings are already underway for the South Asia and Middle
East and North Africa (MENA) regional delegations. Specific training focusing on relief and
monitoring has been carried out for Iraqi Red Crescent Society staff and volunteers in Amman,
Jordan from 22 to 26 June 2008. National Societies participating from MENA acted as main
facilitators, and provided support to the 2nd global relief training.
The job descriptions for the relief delegate and the relief coordinator positions have been
revised. The human resource (HR) roster for both positions has been developed in conjunction
with the HR department at the secretariat, and posted on JobNet (the International Federation’s
recruitment tool). Currently, all the applications are under the screening process. By developing
a diverse roster, the International Federation would be able to deploy relief delegates to
emergencies based on their competencies and technical skills. Specialized short-term training,
together with coaching and mentoring support, will be provided to those participating in the surge
capacity pool for relief during the second half of 2008.
Increased relief knowledge and advisory support to National Society and secretariat functions.
The development of the ERU capacity in National Societies continued with one further relief
ERU developed by the French Red Cross Society. The total number of National Societies with
this capacity has now reached six in total. The integration of these and other newly developed
ERUs will be managed through the successful deployment of joint ERU teams, where more
experienced teams support the learning of new members. A relief ERU manual tool is being
revised, and shelter and early recovery (cash disbursement) components have been
incorporated into the manual, to further enhance National Societies’ relief response capacity in
A tents task group was initiated in 2007, and it became an active technical body during the first
half of the 2008. This group in coordination with the logistics and shelter departments brings
together expertise within the International Federation on the issue of tents, i.e. the development
of improved products; and testing, specifications, use and alternatives to tents.
Another objective of the group is to initiate a discussion between various stakeholders to define
a "shelter kit," i.e. a pre-positioned kit comprising tarpaulins, tools, fixings etc. as an alternative
shelter solution to a tent. As part of this process, several meetings were held with related UN
agencies and the ICRC to determine the specifications of lightweight emergency tents (LWET),
as well as the content of the shelter tool kit.
The need for improved standardization and harmonization of emergency relief items provided by
donors and major operational players has been expressed over the years. The International
Federation and the ICRC have coordinated their joint efforts towards this objective.
The catalogue is intended to facilitate the selection and acquisition of suitable items, notably
during emergency operations. Standardization is intended to facilitate field operations and
logistics support, improve quality insurance, communications and reporting, as well as avoid
inappropriate donations. For that purpose, relief input has been provided to the group being
formed to undertake this study. The study will be finalized by September 2008.
Constraints or Challenges
One of the challenges faced by relief is the wide range of definitions on “relief,” as well as how it
is interpreted by National Societies around the world. The misperception on “relief” impedes
proper planning and response preparations initiatives by National Societies. Therefore, best
practices and tools in relief need to be promoted to diversify response interventions. Capacity to
support such interventions and common understandings of these best practices is needed if
misperceptions on “relief” are to be overcome. Progress on providing appropriate operational
support is linked to the incremental identification of best practices and capacity within interested
National Societies, disaster management units and delegations to provide in-country support as
The complexity of disasters is growing in an increasingly insecure and unstable international
environment. Such an environment has been a significant constraint for the International
Federation who strives to improve the coordination of its response to disasters alongside other
actors in the humanitarian world.
Major and sudden onset disasters might have an impact on the availability and use of
International Federation resources and assets, which could divert work on the implementation of
this programme’s activities, in particular those relief activities at the field level. This risk was in
fact realized in July 2008, when the relief and recovery training could not be carried out in China
due to the devastating earthquake in the country.
It is also assumed that other donor governments, National Societies and the general public
continue to support the further development of the International Federation relief programme, as
well as that there is a possible risk of unpredicted excess funding.
Working in partnership
Excellent cooperation has been ensured among the relief ERU group, especially on the
development of the relief concept, manual, trainings, and planning and distribution of software
Contributing to longer-term impact
The focus on developing a cross-sector approach to relief by incorporating new approaches to
relief and recovery; providing means to communities to rebuild their lives and livelihoods; and
reducing the risk of future disasters, will also have an impact on improving the situation and
development of communities most vulnerable to disasters.
The relief programme has produced tools that will not only provide guidance to its members in
disaster management, but can also be used by other actors. By constantly revising and raising
its standards of disaster response, the International Federation can remain a leader in the field
of disaster response, and use its position and experience to advocate with governments and
other organizations for a greater investment in disaster response.
Provision of relief with dignity is the translation of the primary guidelines, particularly the Code of
Conduct and the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards, into specific best practices for
relief operations. The current relief programme aims to outline these best practices for relief, and
ensures that the dignity of the people affected by disasters is upheld and reinforced through
efficient and effective relief programming.
Several National Societies and regional delegations have expressed interest in developing
technical capacity for relief, which will enhance the quality and the efficiency of the relief
interventions. This will be complemented by the proposed relief technical trainings and lessons
Examples of agreed best practices will also be made available to interested National Societies.
These best practices will also inform the development of appropriate programme guidance tools.
A number of case studies of recent relief interventions in different regions including South Asia
and Africa will also be undertaken, using a common methodology focussing on recipient
households. Support will also be provided for forthcoming FACT, relief ERU and RDRT
workshops in various regions to promote relief programming.
The proposed relief learning strategy will be developed in consultation with key departments,
taking into consideration current approaches to training and capacity building, as well as
discussions which will take place with National Societies through field visits (a minimum of two
locations) where relief operations have recently been undertaken by the International
How we work
The International Federation’s Global Agenda Goals:
activities are aligned with its Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from
Global Agenda, which sets out disasters.
four broad goals to meet the Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from
Federation's mission to "improve diseases and public health emergencies.
the lives of vulnerable people by Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red
mobilizing the power of Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of
Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion
and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.
For further information specifically related to this report, please contact:
• In Geneva: Hakan Karay, Senior Officer Relief; Operations Support Department; email:
firstname.lastname@example.org ; phone +41 22 730 4513; and fax: +41 22 733 0395.