Bolivia + 10 more

Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) - Appeal No. 01.61/2002 Programme Update No. 1


This Programme Update is intended for reporting on Annual Appeals.
Appeal Target (revised): CHF 3,500,000 (USD 2.2 million or EUR 2.4 million)

Period covered: January - March 2002; Next report expected in July

"At a Glance"

Appeal coverage: 35%

Outstanding needs: CHF 2.27 million (USD 1.4m/ EUR 1.56)

Update: The Federation has successfully pursued its goal of enabling the capability to respond quickly, effectively and efficiently to disasters while guaranteeing a line of credit for new emergencies. The DREF budget has been revised, and CHF 3.5 million in total is needed for 2002 in order to achieve the CHF 10 million target. Given the assumption (statistical) that 75% of the DREF money will be used for major disasters, for which near total recovery is expected, this means that once the fund is strengthened a guaranteed yearly cash injection of only CHF 2.5 million ensures a well functioning DREF as a revolving line of credit.

Operational Developments:

There is an increased need to respond faster and in a more coordinated manner to emergency situations worldwide. With the DREF overall goal to enable the Federation to move quickly, effectively and efficiently and its objective to become a guaranteed line of credit for new emergencies, the Federation has achieved the following within the reporting period:

  • After the consolidation of financial reports for 2001, the DREF balance for 2001 stood at CHF 6.6 million. Reinforced and successful recovery of a number of 2000 and 2001 allocations and increased transparency resulted in a positive response of the basic pool of donors and to this favourable end-of-the-year result. Consequently, the total amount of CHF 7.5 million requested by the 2002-2003 Appeal is considered too high and is hereby revised to CHF 3.5 million. The text below as well as the annexes to this report provide additional facts and figures related to this decision.

  • In the first quarter of 2002, 10 new operations were supported by DREF. Eight allocations were made in response to emergencies while two allocations supported disaster preparedness activities. Three operations, namely in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Ethiopia were declared major disasters and Federation appeals were launched to facilitate an adequate humanitarian assistance. Two out of these three allocations have been already recovered from contributions received against relevant emergency appeals.

  • Allocations made against the requests to support minor emergencies have been much more difficult to recover. The Federation increasingly encourages national societies to cover the cost of minor emergencies thus facilitating replenishment of the Fund and a step forward towards achieving its objective.

The list of 2002 allocations for January-March period reads as follows:
Scale of disaster
Appeal coverage
Total allocated in CHF
Total reimbursed in CHF
Peru Lima fires
Southern Africa Disaster preparedness
Albania Heavy snowfalls
DR Congo Volcano eruption
PADRU* Disaster preparedness
Nigeria Munitions depot explosion
Ethiopia Meningitis
Egypt Train disaster
Bolivia Floods
India Communal unrest
*Pan-American Disaster Response Unit
  • Recovery of the remaining 2001 allocations is ongoing. Out of CHF 4.1 million allocated, the outstanding reimbursements presently stand at CHF 1.5 million. Although a certain number of allocations have been already declared unrecoverable due to heavy earmarking of contributions against relevant appeals/operations or lack of geo-political donor interest and, the reimbursements of allocations made against a number of minor emergencies is highly unlikely, a recovery of additional CHF 300,000 is still expected.

Disaster response


Allocated: CHF 75,000

Date: 8 January 2002

Reimbursed: CHF 14,325

Status: Ongoing.

Reports: 3 Information Bulletins on the web.

Appeal: Minor emergency, no appeal launched.

The worst ever fire tragedy recorded in Peru destroyed a shopping area in Lima known as "Mesa Redonda" killing hundreds of people. The area went up in flames after several tons of fireworks exploded engulfing shops and surrounding buildings. Official reports register 286 deaths and 424 missing.

The Peruvian Red Cross has been leading the Commission for assistance to Mesa Redonda victims from the very beginning of the operation. The transfer of the funds from DREF allowed the Peruvian Red Cross to focus on the relief and psychological support activities which, along with the medical assistance, were considered the immediate priority. The distribution of 700 food parcels and 350 hygiene kits funded by DREF has been completed. It represented a timely response for the most vulnerable families in the first weeks after the disaster. However, the psychological and social assistance to victims and the families of the missing as well as to volunteers involved in the support activities continues. Around 92 persons have been assisted in the reporting period.


Allocated: CHF 75,000

Date: 14 January 2002

Reimbursed: -

Status: Finalized.

Reports: 3 Information Bulletins on the web.

Appeal: Minor emergency, no appeal launched.

The country had not seen such heavy and persistent snowfalls in over fifteen years. Generally unprepared for such an inundation, the affected population did not have sufficient food reserves and other basic items to last

through an extended period of isolation and became particularly vulnerable. In total, 21,000 people benefited from the Albanian Red Cross operation in two phases.

Due to the fact that the Albanian Red Cross had already established a well stocked warehouse (in line with its general disaster preparedness strategy), the DREF funds were not used directly for purchasing relief supplies but were instead used to replenish the stocks in the warehouse (which had been immediately used for relief operations). In addition, DREF funds were used to cover related immediate expenses, such as the hiring of trucks and the rental of temporary warehouse facilities. As a result of the disaster preparedness programme in place, it was not necessary to rely on previously established agreements to acquire the stocks quickly.


Allocated: CHF 250,000 in two tranches, CHF 100,000 and CHF 150,000

Date: 17 and 21 January 2002

Reimbursed: CHF 250,000

Status: Ongoing.

Reports: 1 Information Bulletin; 6 Operations Updates on the web.

Appeal: Emergency Appeal no. 02/2002.

On 17 January 2002 the highly active volcano Nyiragongo erupted a few miles from the town of Goma, one of the major centres in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The lava flow triggered a massive exodus of the Goma population. An estimated 500,000 people fled the affected area. Most of them went into Rwanda. However, within a week, most of the displaced had returned to Goma. Around 30,000 remained in three camps in the Gisenyi-Ruhengeri area. The lava flow and subsequent fires caused severe damage to Goma where approximately 25% of houses, shops and community buildings were destroyed. At least 100,000 people who were already vulnerable due to the ongoing war and dire economic situation, were left homeless. While the flow of lava has stopped and the population is trying to rebuild their livelihoods, the volcanic and seismic experts say there is still a risk of a future disaster. However, the predictions remain imprecise.

The funds from DREF were allocated against any support to the efforts of the Rwandan Red Cross volunteers and the immediate needs of the displaced Congolese population. Initially, the funds were used for the transport, volunteer and communications costs as well as the coverage of the in-country costs for the regional disaster relief team and later the FACT team. The second allocation enabled the procurement and airfreight flight of relief supplies including non-food items such as tents, blankets, cooking utensils from Nairobi, Kenya.


Allocated: CHF 150,000

Date: 31 January 2002

Reimbursed: CHF 150,000

Status: Ongoing.

Reports: 1 Information Bulletin; 3 Operations Updates on the web.

Appeal: Emergency Appeal no. 03/2002.

Ignited by a fire in a nearby residential area, a munitions depot situated in the Ikeja Military Cantonment exploded on 28 January 2002. The munitions continued to detonate throughout the night and into the next day. Heavily populated and poorly constructed homes in the vicinity offered little safety to the inhabitants. The damage from the blasts extended over a wide area with flying glass and collapsing ceilings and walls resulting in numerous casualties.

The funds allocated from DREF were used by the Nigerian Red Cross to provide immediate support to 2,400 homeless families with cooked food, water and family packs as well as tracing of children in the early phase of the operation. Although considerable confusion followed the explosion, a detailed needs assessment was finalised by the 2nd week of the operation. The existing tenders for food supply were used. The food was cooked for approximately 5,000 people for 7 days and subsequently dry food rations were distributed to another 8,000 people. Over 500 children were found and consequently united with their immediate families or relatives.


Allocated: CHF 200,000

Date: 15 February 2002

Reimbursed: -

Status: Ongoing.

Reports: 1 Information Bulletin; 1 Operations Update on the web.

Appeal: Emergency Appeal no. 06/2002

The first case of meningitis was reported in September 2001. In March 2002, the cumulative figure of reported cases was 4,010 with 189 deaths in 14 administrative zones. The Southern Nations Nationalities Peoples Region (SNNPR) with the highest population density in the country had the highest number of cases with a total of 2,842 with 166 deaths. A strategy of selective vaccination was chosen due to the shortage of vaccines in the Ministry of Health strategic stocks. The Keffa and Dawro zones within the SNNPR were the latest to report cases of meningitis.

The Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) responded by mobilizing volunteer teams to assist the Ministry of Health. The headquarters in Addis Ababa provided logistical support while one experienced staff member from the last year’s meningitis operation headed a team that was deployed to the Dawro zone.

With the funds from DREF, the first consignment of 200,000 doses of bundled vaccines and 2,000 vials of oily chloroamphenicol were bought and put in the Ministry of Health strategic stocks. The vaccines have been used by the ERCS jointly with the zonal Ministry of Health in the Dawro zone. The total requirement for the zone, targeting 70% of the population is estimated at about 218,000 vaccine doses. So far, 70,000 doses have been despatched.


Allocated: CHF 30,000

Date: 20 February 2002 Reimbursed: -

Status: Ongoing

Reports: 2 Information Bulletins on the web.

Appeal: Minor emergency, no appeal launched.

Early on 20 February 2002, fire swept through a crowded passenger train on its way from Cairo to Aswan carrying passengers home from the El Aid religious celebration. It was the worst train disaster in Egypt’s history with a death toll of 377 and more than 200 injured while 62 persons were hospitalised. Most of the casualties come from poor families living in villages along the river Nile, mostly in southern governorates.

The first to be mobilised in the early hours of the morning was the Giza branch of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society. All nine Red Crescent branches from along the Nile, however, mobilized hundreds of volunteers to provide first aid, transportation to hospitals, assistance and psychological support to families trying to identify their dead as well as food, blankets and clothing to the injured and to the families of the victims. Immediate financial support was given to 68 families.

The volunteers also visited all injured in the hospitals, facilitated transfers to specialised hospitals and provided financial and administrative support. Good needs assessments and follow-up of the situation including the soci-economic surveys were carried out by the national society local committees. In total, 238 bodies were identified. According to the national society, 117 were the bread-winners in their families and will benefit from the rehabilitation programme which is being currently set up. The programme will include income-generating, coverage of school fees and transport for children, vocational training as well as physiotherapy and appropriate appliances for those who became permanently disabled.

The funds from DREF were very much appreciated by the Egyptian Red Crescent Society and were utilized for the start-up of the above mentioned activities. It was reportedly considered a great encouragement during the worst moments.


Allocated: CHF 30,000

Date: 25 February 2002

Reimbursed: -

Status: Ongoing.

Reports: 3 Information Bulletins on the web.

Appeal: Minor emergency, no appeal launched.

Heavy rains and a hailstorm that hit Bolivia (La Paz area) in February 2002 caused the loss of 78 lives and about 100 homes. Around 136 families were evacuated to temporary shelters. Approximately 1,000 retailers lost their businesses.

The Bolivian Red Cross reacted immediately with the assessment of the damage and needs and provision of the first aid services, pre-hospital care, transportation to nearby hospitals and organized evacuation of the affected population to temporary shelters. The Red Cross volunteers provided hot drinks and snacks to the victims and rescue workers alike. They were engaged in the evacuation of the affected population in the southern area of the city of La Paz and in the rural areas surrounding the city as well as in the province of Luribay. They were also involved in the distribution of food to 300 families which lost their homes or businesses.

The allocation from DREF was the only multilateral contribution and its timeliness allowed the national society to provide appropriate immediate assistance to the victims.


Allocated: CHF 56,180

Date: 8 March 2002

Reimbursed: -

Status: Ongoing

Reports: 4 Information Bulletins on the web.

Appeal: Minor emergency, no appeal launched.

Almost two months since the first outbreaks of communal violence, tension remains high in the Indian state of Gujarat where thousands still remain homeless. The city of Ahmedabad saw the worst of the violence when rioting broke out following the deaths of 57 people who were burnt to death on an Ahmedabad bound passenger train at Godhra railway station on 27 February. According to the latest government information, some 71,000 people live in 53 camps in Ahmedabad. Families who have lost their homes or fear to return to their neighbourhoods seek refuge in these camps.

The funds from DREF were released in response to a request for assistance from the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) with a plan to provide 8,000 beneficiaries in Ahmedabad with urgently needed relief items and basic health care. The IRCS was then quickly into action mobilising volunteers from the Gujarat state branch and the district branches to provide food, clothing, cooking utensils and medical care to 8,000 victims in 11 selected camps which were set up in schools, mosques, shopping centres and premises of private businesses. Due to the continuing communal unrest, relief camps in Ahmedabad remained full and the IRCS extended its relief activities beyond the originally projected end date of 16 March to a wider number of beneficiaries in different camps. The IRCS assessment teams comprising Red Cross volunteers have been responsible for gathering health and relief needs information prior to and during the distribution of relief items.

Distribution of relief items utilising the DREF has been basically concluded except for the medical supplies which still continue along with the health care for the camp residents. Around 10,000 families have benefited from the relief distributions. The Gujarat state branch largely relied on their disaster preparedness stocks. Procurement from government run agencies, cooperation stores, reputed wholesale dealers were made in cases where new suppliers had to be sought. The procurement for the replenishment of the warehouse stock is nearly completed and includes 25 tents, 105 kitchen sets, 125 plastic buckets, 7000 sarees, 7096 metres of cloth, 100 sets of salwar kameez, 100 bed sheets and medicines such as antibiotics, analgetics, oral rehydration salts, skin ointments, cotton, chlorine tablets, bandages and cough syrups.

The wide media attention drawn during the relief operation has to a significant level increased the IRCS profile. In all aspects, the relief operation for the communal unrest has been a great success and the national society expressed great appreciation for the assistance provided by DREF in the emergency phase.

Disaster preparedness


Allocated: CHF 330,000

Date: 11 January 2002

Reimbursed: -

Status: Ongoing.

Reports: related to the Federation Annual Appeal no. 01.16/2002.

Every year, tens of thousands of people in the Southern Africa region face the threat of losing their livelihood during the annual rainy season in February and March. The floods of 2000 and 2001 alone, left close to two million people homeless.

The allocation from DREF was requested in preparation for another rainy season in the region (Southern Africa region/Mozambique Canal/Indian Ocean) and 1,390 tents were procured as a disaster preparedness stock for Harare, Zimbabwe.

The funds were to be reimbursed from the first regional emergency recorded in 2002 assisted by the preparedness stock entirely or gradually. Fortunately, seasonal rains have not caused any major disasters. As disaster preparedness stocks in targeted countries in the region have not been depleted, the newly purchased tents will now be routed to the Turkish national society as their disaster preparedness stock and the allocated amount from DREF will be thereafter reimbursed.


Allocated: CHF 50,000

Date: 18 January 2002

Reimbursed: in the PADRU pilot phase (2000-2003) it is not expected that the allocation can be reimbursed.

Status: Ongoing.

Reports: related to the Federation Annual Appeal no. 01.18/2002.

PADRU was established as a pilot project in 2001 with the aim to enhance the disaster management capacity of the national societies and the Federation in the Americas through monitoring of developing disasters, delivery and coordination of timely and efficient support to enhance the Red Cross response to disasters in the region and to reinforcement and development of the capacities of national societies to respond with their own resources to emergencies.

The focus is on early warning and coordination with regional delegations and national societies in the region to ensure prompt and appropriate emergency response; coordination of regional and international disaster response; procurement and supply of quality relief items during an emergency situation and provision of safe water and sanitation during a disaster.

The unit also focuses on capacity building in the areas of water and sanitation and telecommunications in order to strengthen national societies competence in these areas and serves as the operational and training focal point for development and deployment of regional intervention teams in the region. It also ensures procurement, transportation, warehouse and fleet management, emergency stock inventory, pre-planning/contracting of relief goods and services through the regional logistics unit, maintains emergency stocks and establishes procurement agreements serving both the Red Cross and external partners in relief response actions.

The funds from DREF were used to reinforce the existing level of preparedness of the national societies and the Federation, ensuring that the response capacity is adequate. The funds also facilitated the knowledge transfer through developing information material, training and exchange visits. In its pilot phase (2000-2003), PADRU has also its own above mentioned annual appeal.

Coordination and management

  • Consolidated DREF procedures which are currently under preparation will further improve the recovery in order to sustain the Fund and to minimise the risk of high level disbursements and low recovery rate. The procedures will include reviewed allocation and recovery criteria, allocation limits and recovery time frames.

  • Information related to new DREF allocations is regularly shared with national societies and general public through Information Bulletins and Operations Updates posted on the Federation web site. In addition, donor national societies regularly receive electronic communications related to new allocations. With cross-departmental support, permanent monitoring of allocations and reimbursements is carried out.

  • Information on DREF is widely disseminated in regional disaster management and other programme fora including the disaster management, FACT and ERU workshops and was included into the agenda of the joint Secretariat/national societies disaster management working group (DMWG) held in Athens on 11 to 12 April 2002.

  • According to the information related to the management of DREF allocations in the field, the funds were generally received on time and were used by national societies and/or delegations to start up operations. Although in certain cases it was not possible to provide accurate needs assessments immediately, the allocations were reportedly sufficient to support the immediate needs. No problems with banking facilities in the receiving countries have been reported. Although the benefits of the existing agreements with suppliers of relief items were reported only in two operation (Nigeria, DR Congo), there were no supplier-related delays caused in other operations.

Preconditions and critical assumptions

The DREF objective can be fully achieved only if:

  • The recovery rate is maintained at a high level;
  • Donor national societies continue to support the fund;
  • The funding reaches the required/targeted level.

Outstanding needs

The Federation has revised its DREF budget and is now requesting CHF 3.5 million in total for 2002 in order to achieve the CHF 10 million target. Given the assumption (statistical) that 75% of the DREF money will be used for major disasters, for which near total recovery is expected, this means that once the fund is strengthened a guaranteed yearly cash injection of only CHF 2.5 million ensures a well functioning DREF as a revolving line of credit.

As of end March 2002,a total of CHF 2.3 million is outstanding to reach the 10 million target. Please refer to the attached Annex 1 (List of Contributions) and Annex 2 (Financial Monitoring Report) for details on 2002 contributions, allocations, recoveries and outstanding needs.

For further details please contact: Jasna Djordjevic, Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email:

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at

John Horekens
Relationship Management Department

Jean Ayoub
Disaster Management and Coordination Division

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