Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Annual Appeal No. 1.56/2004 Annual Report

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In Brief

Appeal No. 01.56/2004; Appeal target: CHF 2,175,802 (USD 1,631,852 or EUR 1,437,249) Appeal coverage: 71.1%.

This Annual Report reflects activities implemented over a one-year period; they form part of, and are based on, longer-term, multi-year planning. This annual report also covers the operational period 1 November to 31 December 2004 not covered by the last programme update.

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org

Operational developments

With the Federation and sister national societies' support and modest participatory input from the ICRC, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) is slowly moving slowly towards its aim of becoming a principled, skilled and efficient national society supportively linked to communities within which vulnerability is being progressively reduced. The Movement's humanitarian values (HV) and principles lie at the heart of all BDRCS activities.

In this regard, throughout 2004 BDRCS continues to receive support from the Federation as well as a number of long-term partners such as the British, German and Swedish Red Cross Societies, implement ing a number of key strategic processes aimed at increasing service delivery to vulnerable communities .

BDRCS's major long-term undertaking in 2004 was to update and finalize its four-year strategic development plan (2005-2008), including the new four-year disaster management (DM) strategy, in an open and participatory manner, involving all departments, rather than the old 'central planning' model. This provides the basis for the coming year's programme priorities and revision of the BDRCS cooperation agreement strategy (CAS). The strategic work was successfully carried out at the same time as the major floods relief operation was implemented.

The BDRCS secretary general presented the national society's four-year vision in the South Asia Regional Partnership Meeting in Kathmandu in March. The response of the PNS towards BDRCS was encouraging.

Another important event was the approval of BDRCS's final draft constitution by the joint ICRC/Federation commission for national society statutes. Following the meeting with BDRCS 's constitution review committee chairman and member of the managing board and joint statutes committee at Geneva in August, the joint committee approved the draft constitution with some amendments and provision for significant changes on two key issues within six years. The final draft constitution was also approved in the BDRCS annual general meeting held on 29 December.

The Federation and BDRCS had done advocacy with government agencies for provision of better living condition for unrecognised Myanmar refugee staying in a makeshift camp at Teknaf. BDRCS/ the Federation also provided water and sanitation facilities for improving the basic needs of drinking water and sanitation facilities for the refugees. The process is ongoing.

In early January, BDRCS responded rapidly to an emergency situation created by a severe cold spell in northern Bangladesh, distributing 8,000 blankets in 30 districts and 1,100 sweaters among the most vulnerable using emergency buffer stocks.

In April, BDRCS again responded rapidly when a twin tornado with severe destructive winds of over 120 km per hour struck over 20 villages in the northern districts of Mymensingh and Netrakona , killing at least 76 people and injuring over 3,000. Another tornado struck the district of Gazipur and Comilla during the same month, causing casualties and destruction. BDRCS distributed 2,000 family kits, 1,550 kg BP5 biscuits and 550 kg of soybean oil among the affected population within 72 hours of the disaster.

Following the severe floods starting late July, BDRCS/the Federation has implemented the Floods 2004 Emergency Relief Operations in a rapid, efficient and professional manner, providing timely and appropriate assistance to more than 1.4 million beneficiaries affected by floods and river erosion in 43 of the most severely affected districts. By 12 December, in a period covering 18 weeks, 90 per cent of relief operations had been completed (see separate Operations Updates for Bangladesh on www.ifrc.org).

The annual country appeal received 71.6 per cent funding against original appeal budget. However, programmes were adjusted and activities scaled down in the DM, HV and health sectors. Very limited funding was received in the important health areas and in promoting HV in 2004.

The year-round political situation continued to be tense as the major opposition party, Awami League, organized agitations and called several day-long hartals (general strikes) demanding government resignation on deteriorating law and order situation amongst other issues. Following the bombings at a Dhaka political rally on 21 August, the security situations provided an additional emergency for the government. The general public faced hardship and constraints due to the above deadlocks , and this has impacted on the public's confidence relating to safety and security. However, Bangladesh is relatively politically stable, although frequent protest strikes are always potential for civil unrest, and prove to be disruptive to normal life and business.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report 2004, Bangladesh has made significant improvement in its economic development since 2001, moving from low development country status to medium development country status, putting it ahead of Nepal and Pakistan in the South Asian context. However, in terms of ordinary people's access to income, Bangladesh continues to remain at the lower end of the scale with its per capita annual income of USD350.

For further information specifically related to this Annual Appeal please contact:

- Bangladesh Red Crescent Society: A.F.M. Obaidur Rahman, Secretary General, email:bdrcs@bangla.net, phone: +88 02 933 7314

- Federation Delegation in Bangladesh: Tony Maryon, Head of Delegation, email: ifrcbd03@ifrc.org; phone: +88 02 831 5401-2, Mobile: + 88 0171 521 615, fax: +88 02 934 1631

- In Geneva: Hiroto Oyama, Regional Officer Asia-Pacific Department; email: Hiroto.Oyama@ifrc.org ; phone: +41 22 730 4273, fax: +41 22 733 0395

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