Period covered: I July - 30 September 2001 (last Programme Update No. 2 issued 7 September 2001)
"At a Glance"
Appeal coverage: 43.5%
Related Appeals: 01.31/2001: Venezuela 05/01 Bolivia: Floods 18/01 Peru: Earthquake
Outstanding needs: CHF 2,225,876
Update: The regional delegation continued to be much involved in disaster response over the quarter as a result of the earthquake in southern Peru, floods in Bolivia and volcanic activity in Ecuador. The delegation was strengthened through the assignment of a health delegate and of a trainee disaster preparedness delegate, and a regional team focusing on the issue of HIV/AIDS was formed. Particular emphasis was placed on planning and review during the reporting period: the operational phase of the community education for disaster preparedness and prevention project was evaluated; strategies in disaster preparedness were formulated and an evaluation of volunteering in the region took place.
During the reporting period, several countries were affected by natural disasters. In June, provinces of northern Colombia were affected by severe storms and continued to be hit by strong winds, lightning, flooding and avalanches. The Colombian Red Cross Society received support from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency fund (DREF) to implement a relief operation to assist 4,223 persons most affected by the storms. More detailed information is available in the information bulletin no 2 published on 27 August.
A strong earthquake - measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale according to the Geophysical Institute of Peru and 7.9 according to the United States' Geological Survey - lasting 75 seconds, struck southern Peru on 23 June at 15.33 hours local time. The earthquake dramatically changed the situation of the Peruvian Red Cross and the regional delegation. The Federation, together with the Peruvian Red Cross, undertook a major relief operation hours after the disaster. More information is provided below and in the operations updates.
An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter Scale hit northern Chile at 01.30 hours on 24 July. The epicentre was 110 km east of the city of Iquique and affected the cities of Arica, Iquique, Pisagua and Putre. The hardest hit areas were the communities of Huara and Mamina. One person died and 30 homes in the rural areas surrounding the city of Arica were affected. The Chilean Red Cross monitored the situation, but no action was necessary.
Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano, 180 km south of Quito, has been erupting intermittently since 1999. In August, it became particularly active. Volcano-ash rains directly affected three provinces, home to a total of more than 7,200 families. CHF 75,000 was allocated from the DREF fund to be used in the health and community-awareness components of the Ecuadorian Red Cross disaster response operation. More information is available below and in the information bulletin of 20 August.
In Colombia, the peace process with the two main guerilla groups, FARO and ELN, initiated by President Andres Pastrana when he took up office in August 1998, has shown few tangible results and has on several occasions been frozen. FARO and the government meet in various commissions and working groups, but the talks still seem to be reduced to process with no substance. The talks with ELN were officially interrupted in mid August. The armed conflict has intensified with more attacks on isolated villages, massacres of defenceless "campesinos" and indigenous people and kidnappings even in urban centres. A wave of urban bombings over the past months have shaken Colombians. Recent months have also been marked by strikes all over the country: farmers blocked main roads in protest against the government's policy on credits, small farmers and indigenous people protested against aerial fumigation, which they claim spoil their crops. In the capital Bogota, taxi and bus drivers blocked the city and started a strike in opposition to measures taken by the Mayor in order to relieve the capital of the traffic chaos. The government has not been able to halt the deteriorating economic situation. Growth remains slow and unemployment continues to rise, the armed conflict takes its toll while Colombians continue to migrate to other countries.
Southern Peru - Earthquake
The epicentre of the 23 June earthquake was 82 km west from Ocona in the department of Arequipa at a depth of 33 kilometres. It affected the departments of Arequipa, Tacna, Moquegua and Ayacucho as well as the north of Chile and the north west of Bolivia. More than 100 people were killed and over 225,000 people were affected.
Initially, the regional delegation and the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) jointly coordinated the operation, setting up offices in Arequipa and Lima. A head of delegation was hired to oversee the relief phase of the operation and permanent staff contracted in order that regional delegates could return to their ongoing responsibilities. An operational cooperation agreement was signed between the Federation and the Peruvian Red Cross outlining and detailing roles and responsibilities. Presently, the Federation office in Peru is made up of a programme coordinator, an information/reporting delegate, a water and sanitation delegate and local support staff. In the near future, the delegation will be augmented with the arrival of a finance/administration delegate and a disaster preparedness delegate.
18,365 families benefited during the relief phase of the operation. The distribution included 5,000 food rations of 48 kg, supplementary food packages, 5,000 kitchen sets, 10,000 blankets and 2,000 hygiene kits. In addition, the Peruvian Red Cross distributed several tons of donated items. The Spanish, German and American Red Cross Societies are also involved in distribution and rehabilitation programmes.
As part of the operation, health brigades were formed to address health needs, including psychological support, of the affected population: 2, 900 people have benefited from this initiative. In addition, a water and sanitation programme has been implemented providing potable water to 5,000 people. As part of this work, teams of Peruvian Red Cross volunteers are helping to clean debris left in the aftermath of the earthquake.
At present, final plans are being developed for the rehabilitation and development phase of the operation. As part of these plans, housing reconstruction and disaster prevention programmes will be implemented. The Federation and the Peruvian Red Cross maintain close contact with the government and other organizations involved in the operation.
For a more detailed account of the operation please refer to the operations updates.
Bolivia - Floods
The floods operation in Bolivia was completed in late June with a final distribution of food, blankets and agricultural tools to 1,373 families from 28 communities in San Andres de Machaca in the department of La Paz. In total, 10,881 families received humanitarian aid, 4,841 of whom benefited from funding provided through the appeal launched in February 2001. The remainder of the relief aid was funded through various bilateral agreements between the German, Swiss and Spanish Red Cross Societies and the Bolivian Red Cross.
The operation, while taking longer than initially planned, was the largest undertaken by any humanitarian organization in the country. While funding arrived from various participating national societies (PNS) and the Federation appeal, coordination was strong and activities integrated into one single operation. In addition, distributions were coordinated with other international and local NGOs, together with government ministries and institutions.
The Bolivian Red Cross took a leadership role in the operation with support from the regional delegation. Over 200 volunteers participated in this complex operation undertaking damage assessments and a beneficiary survey of the population affected, packaging of relief items, distributions and report writing. A final report on the operation will be available in late October.
Ecuador: Volcano-Ash Rains
In early August Ecuador's 5,020 meter Tungurahau volcano began emitting a persistent rain of ash. This constant activity has seriously impacted the provinces of Tungurahua, Chimborazo and Pastaza, affecting over 7,200 families. The ash destroyed crops and left livestock without forage resulting in the transportation of over 6,000 animals to other parts of the country. Water supplies have been contaminated and populations surrounding the volcano are suffering from respiratory, skin and ocular illnesses. In addition, the ash has caused visibility problems and blocked many roads, resulting in a sharp increase in road accidents and making the transport of products and supplies to the area virtually impossible.
Immediately, the Ecuadorian Red Cross, with support from five branches, completed an assessment of damage, conducted a detailed survey and distributed basic relief items such as food and medical articles to the affected population. Moreover, the Ecuadorian Red Cross created a regional team to coordinate relief efforts
The Federation allocated CHF 75,000 to the operation through the DREF in support of the needs of the population as identified by the Ecuadorian Red Cross. These funds are being used to:
- Improve health and hygiene conditions
of the affected population through the creation of four medical brigades
consisting of four doctors, four psychologists and local relief volunteers;
- Provide protective material, in the
form of masks, glasses and helmets, to those affected and to relief volunteers;
- Carry out a disaster preparedness campaign benefiting 15,000 people in order to diminish the impact of the volcano's potential future activity.
- To strengthen national society capacity in disaster response.
The process of strengthening the regional and national society disaster response capacity moved forward substantially during the reporting period. The second regional disaster relief meeting for all national societies in South America was held between 13 and 17 August in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Two representatives from each of nine national societies of the region attended along with regional delegation staff and a representative from the American Red Cross.
The objectives of the meeting were to:
- Evaluate the current situation regionally and of each national society's department of disaster relief,
- Identify key components of an effective and efficient regional and national society disaster preparedness, prevention and response strategy;
- Design a two-year regional and national society disaster preparedness, prevention and response strategy;
- Formulate a one year detailed plan of action, according to the components identified, at the regional and national society level.
National society plans were not available at the time of the writing of this report. All national societies will submit strategic plans and associated operational plans by mid-October. However, in conjunction with the participants at the meeting, an initial regional delegation strategy was identified involving the following broad areas and activities:
1) Implement a systematized and permanent regional and national society strategic planning process
Support national societies in the development of strategic plans;
Provide follow-up and monitoring of the development and implementation of plans;
Hold an annual regional planning and evaluation meeting;
Develop a Pan American disaster preparedness/disaster response (DP/DR) strategic plan;
Support and advise national societies in the use of human and financial resources based on activities and proposals found in their strategic and operational plans.
2) Develop regional systems that facilitate the exchange of information
Strengthen the process of information exchange (systems, procedures) at the regional level, between the regional delegation and national societies, between the nine national societies, and with PNS.
3) Improve the quality of national society financial and administrative management
Provide technical training in administrative and financial systems and controls for the national societies;
Train staff in the administrative and financial systems of the Federation as they apply to the DP/DR projects and operations.
4) Strengthen and provide knowledge and practical support to the national societies regarding Federation DP/DR standards
Ensure that all national societies have all Federation DP/DR policies and procedures, including the SPHERES standards, in Spanish;
Develop a technical training schedule for national society staff based on needs identified in the individual national society strategic and operational plans.
5) Over the next 2 years train 50 national society staff and/or volunteers (at the regional level) as members of regional intervention teams and put into place one national intervention team in each national society.
Provide all national societies with selection criteria for members of regional intervention teams;
In conjunction with national societies and PNS, develop a regional DP/DR human resource database which can be used for operations and training exchanges.
6) Support national societies in the design of relevant DR/DP projects including the acquisition of funding for selected projects.
These results form the basis of the disaster preparedness and response strategy and activities that will be carried out by the regional delegation and are reflected in the 2002-2003 Appeal. The strategies and plans developed will be integrated into those of the other regional delegations in the Americas and PADRU in a process of defining a Pan American DP/DR strategy. This will then be combined in a strategic working paper which will be circulated to all national societies, regional delegations in the Americas and the appropriate departments in Geneva for feedback and modification.
In July, the regional DP/DR programme was strengthened by the addition of a regional DP trainee delegate through funding from the Spanish Red Cross. This support to the regional delegation will allow us to improve the quality and quantity of our work with national societies One of the key problems faced during the last year was that the scheduled activity of the regional DP/DR delegate was put on hold each time a disaster occurred. The arrival of the new delegate will have a clear positive impact on the work to be done in the region.
- To strengthen and extend the Disaster Community Education Programme.
Andino Zone Programme
The operational phase of the community education for disaster preparedness and prevention project in the Andean countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, closed at the end of September. Project activities were completed and a regional evaluation meeting was held. Key results of the project include:
- 6,784 direct beneficiaries;
- 76 trainers trained;
- 389 facilitators trained;
- 296 workshops implemented in 129 communities;
- 109 community disaster brigades formed;
- 94 micro projects completed;
- All participating families now have family disaster emergency plans;
- Disaster emergency plans have been implemented in all participating communities.
The national societies involved, and in particular branches, were strengthened in several ways. Volunteers have been trained in participatory methodologies, disaster prevention and preparedness, community development processes and project planning and management. As a result of the project, volunteer numbers have increased in all branches and the commitment amongst volunteers to work with communities has increased.
During the final local, national and regional evaluations, the process of developing a new proposal was continued. The new project will build on the success of the Andean Zone project and will include an expanded focus on not only implementing community education programmes, but also on strengthening local disaster emergency institutions and local and municipal governments in the development of integrated, coherent disaster preparedness and response strategies and action plans. The new proposal entitled "Protecting Communities - Reducing Risks: A Project Linking Communities, Government and Organisations in Disaster Prevention, Preparation and Response in Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador" will be ready for submission in October.
Through funding from DFID, the Chilean Red Cross continues to implement a community education programme. The programme utilises Federation resources and materials modified for the country situation. The project will continue until the end of the year. Plans are being developed to secure additional funding to ensure the sustainability of the programme.
- To extend and strengthen the Camalote project. The project will aim to reduce the vulnerability of 14 depressed urban districts in the Plata river basin in 2001, and 18 in 2002, by improving their disaster preparedness capacities and promoting health, sanitation and community development activities.
The implementation of the nine Camalote micro projects in nine branches in Argentina and Paraguay is well under way. During the third quarter, a meeting for all branches and the national coordinators was organised with the aim of reinforcing the disaster preparedness aspects of the projects. The workshop was facilitated by the coordinator of the Andino disaster preparedness programme and experience from this programme was shared. Concrete proposals on DP activities were elaborated and will be implemented during the fourth quarter in all Camalote branches.
The Camalote bulletin which aims to share information about the the Plata basin and the project was revised to improve the quality of information exchange. A new folder on Camalote was elaborated which will be an important tool for local fundraising.
- To establish strategic regional and national partnerships. Coordination with United Nations agencies (UNDP, OCHA, WHO/PAHO), national governments, local authorities and private sponsors will be strengthened to promote the exchange of knowledge and information.
Significant steps have been taken in Peru and Bolivia to solidify national partnerships between the Red Cross and other international and national disaster organisations. In both countries, the Red Cross is a member of the national disaster preparedness and response bodies as dictated by state law. In addition, as a result of recent disasters in both countries, the Red Cross continues to maintain close contact with United Nations organizations such as UNDP, MIA, WHO/PAHO and other international and national humanitarian organizations.
The preparations for the case study on gender sensitive vulnerability and capacity assessments moved forward during the reporting period. The regional disaster preparedness delegate and one of the regional organizational development delegates are to carry out the case study in November in communities within the earthquake operation zone in Peru; results will be shared in December.
- To support the dissemination of the Fundamental Principles and the Red Cross and Red Crescents Movement's humanitarian values through the youth network, promoting among children and young people attitudes of non-violence, tolerance, reciprocal respect and equality of opportunities among men and women.
Very few activities took place as limited funding for Peru only was available. Nevertheless, the youth departments of the national societies continued to include promotion of attitudes of non-violence, tolerance, reciprocal respect and equality of opportunities among men and women in their usual work in the school centres inspired by the workshop held in November last year during the annual youth assembly.
The issue of equality of opportunities among men and women is also included in the organizational development programme.
- To promote volunteering in the region, increasing the participation and commitment of the population in social welfare issues through collaboration with the Red Cross.
All national societies of the region participate in the national commissions on the international year of the volunteer. In each country, activities are planned for the celebration of the volunteer day on 5 December. Apart from this, a proposal on Red Cross activities including a visual action and related media activities in all branches on 5 December was elaborated in the recent regional volunteering workshop. More details on the workshop can be found under the organizational development heading.
Features on volunteering were included in the latest edition of the magazine Noticias de America Latina.
Health and Care
In mid August the regional health delegate started his mission. The position had then been vacant since January. The health delegate is based in La Paz, Bolivia, together with the DP/DR delegate and DP/DR trainee delegate. During the first month of the mission he was in Buenos Aires for ten days for briefings and to work together with the rest of the team on the appeal for 2002-2003. The rest of the period was used for setting up the office and preparing the plan of action for the remainder of the year. As the delegate is based in La Paz, there has been a focus on Bolivian Red Cross. Contacts were initiated with the representative of OPS/PAHO and some joint field visits have been planned to monitor IMCI projects. Coordination took place with the Spanish Red Cross regional delegate, also based in La Paz, as well as with Medicos Mundo.
- To promote HIV/AIDS prevention education in all national societies which are implementing this programme through youth programmes eve societies in 2001 and five in 2002).
During the reporting period, the regional delegation started to work closely with the Global Network of People living with HIV/AIDS, GNP+. In the regional delegation, an HIV/AIDS team has been formed consisting of the regional health delegate, one of the organizational development (OD) delegates, the youth officer and the coordinator for Latin America of GNP+, also based in Buenos Aires. The first joint activity is a regional HIV/AIDS workshop for the youth directors and the HIV/AIDS coordinators within each of the national societies, is to take place in October. Preparations for the workshop included analysis by the national societies of the youth peer education manual from their national perspectives with an aim to adopt the methodology. Furthermore, a joint proposal on HIV/AIDS was elaborated to access to global HIV/AIDS funds. This proposal is based upon this objective and focuses on three countries: Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru. The proposal also includes advocacy for non discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Additionally, in the area of HIV/AIDS, representatives from many national societies within South America participated in a Red Cross and Red Crescent women's international workshop on prevention, care and stigma reduction in the field of HIV/AIDS hosted by the Norwegian Red Cross.
- To continue the Amazonico programme, promoting integrated development and improving health, nutrition and education conditions in 15 communities in the Amazon basin. The Amazonico programme covers part of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, focusing on vulnerable communities living in areas with environmental and social problems. First established in 1998, in 1999 the programme was extended from 5 to 15 Red Cross branches, with each participating community identifying its own needs.
Implementation of the micro projects in all countries except for Venezuela is under way. The Venezuelan Red Cross presented a new project in September which was approved. Implementation will start as soon as possible. In September, the first national meeting on the second phase was held in Colombian Red Cross. Some 25 persons from all departments of the Colombian Red Cross headquarters and branches as well as Federation delegates, a Netherlands Red Cross representative and the ICRC cooperation delegate participated. Until now, only the coordinating body for the programme, the national department for first aiders, has fully participated. Through this meeting, conditions for better integration of the programme in the Colombian Red Cross was achieved and most importantly, the director of health introduced concrete proposals based upon the Colombian Red Cross health policy. During the meeting it was agreed to establish a multidisciplinary team which will meet at least every quarter to monitor the programme. It was also agreed that Colombian Red Cross will review the different methodologies used in the National Society and adapt them, in order to create one methodology for community work. Similar meetings are being planned and will take place in the remainder of the national societies during the last quarter. In Venezuela the meeting will probably not take place until early 2002 due to delays in programme implementation.
During the reporting period, the health delegate was included in the Amazonico team which will facilitate the integration of the programme into the national societies' health departments. In most national societies, programme coordination is based outside the health department. Monitoring visits of the health delegate to the micro projects are being planned to strengthen the technical aspects of the programme. The Amazonico team maintains continual contact with the national coordinators and monitors the programme closely.
In addition to the activities reported against the objectives below, the regional delegation provides tailored support to specific needs or events in the national societies. As of September this year, the two organizational development delegates have visited all national societies in the region. The Chilean, Colombian, Uruguayan and Venezuelan Red Cross Societies were visited twice. The Peruvian Red Cross was visited on various occasions as a result of the earthquake operation and several organizational development issues were addressed in close coordination with the ICRC country delegation. The Argentine Red Cross has also received considerable support.
- To provide training in the identification, planning, management and evaluation of plans, programmes and projects in at least five national societies during 2001, and in at least four in 2002.
To date this year, support was given to the national development planning processes of the Argentinian, Bolivian, Colombian and Uruguayan Red Cross Societies.
In the national leadership and management training that was organized with