Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Floods Appeal No. 11/2004 Final Report

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The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.

In Brief

Appeal No. 11/2004; Final Report; Period covered: 20 April to 20 July 2004; Final appeal coverage: 61,9% (Please click here to go directly to the attached Final Financial Report)

Appeal history:

  • Launched on 20 April 2004 for CHF 333,000 (USD 284,510 or EUR 215,190) to assist 8, 412 beneficiaries for three months.
  • Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 50,000
Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Bosnia and Herzegovina: Mr. Brano Dursun, Chair person, email: rcsbh@dckbh.org , phone: + 387 33 200 151, fax: + 387 33 200 148

In Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ms,Samra Campara , Acting Head of Office BiH, email: ifrcbih02@ifrc.org, phone: + 387 33 666 009, fax: + 387 33 666 010

In Geneva: Erja Reinikainen, Federation Regional Officer, Europe Department, Geneva; email: erja.reinikainen@ifrc.org; phone 41.22.730.43.19; fax 41.22.730.03.95

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to thej 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, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org. For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.

Background and Summary

Due to torrential rains in mid-April, the water level of the rivers Pliva, Vrbas, Bosna, Sana, Vrbanja, Josavka, Una, Lasva, Zdena, Drina and Sava rose rapidly. As a consequence, the rivers burst their banks flooding large areas of the Banja Luka, Prijedor, Mrkonjic Grad and Doboj regions, as well as the Una-Sana, Zenica-Doboj, Central Bosnia and Posavina cantons. 5,000 houses were flooded in forty-eight municipalities, while several hundred families had to be evacuated from their homes. In addition, the floods severely affected 20,000 hectares of land with crops and washed away several bridges. The water flooded water-wells and broke into the water network system, which resulted in the water being polluted and thus unsuitable for drinking. It was estimated that the floods affected 300,000 people.

In that situation, the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina (RCSBiH) undertook immediate action aimed at saving lives and property. The Red Cross volunteers helped with evacuation and distribution of food and water to the affected population. The local branches released and distributed the limited emergency stocks of basic relief items to the most vulnerable including 410 food parcels, 200 hygiene parcels, 900 jerry cans, 40 kg of detergent, 2,100 blankets, 50 bales of second-hand clothes and shoes and 600 m2 of plastic sheeting. Moreover, 1,000 food parcels donated by the Republika Srpska Government were distributed, as well as 24,389 litres of juices and 42,444 litres of mineral water (donation of Slovenian Government).

In its attempt to alleviate suffering of the most vulnerable flood victims, the International Federation launched an emergency appeal on 20 April. The appeal sought CHF 333,000 in order to assist 8,412 beneficiaries for three months and CHF 50,000 was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to start this relief operation. According to the RCSBiH's Plan of Action, a purchase of 10,000 food parcels, 8,400 hygiene parcels, 3,900 jerry cans and 2,200 litres of disinfectants was envisaged. But with donations in cash amounting CHF 206,060 that were received from Belgium Red Cross (CHF 77,975), Swedish Red Cross (CHF 67,400), Austrian Red Cross (CHF 31,190), Norwegian Red Cross (CHF 18,900) and Japanese Red Cross (CHF 10,595) it was not possible to purchase all relief items. Following the need assessments, the RCSBiH decided to reduce the number of food parcels to 4,300 while jerry cans were excluded from the procurement. In addition, the RCSBiH bilaterally received 7,904 Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible marka (BAM) from the Turkish Red Crescent and 210 BAM from the Greek Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina , and the National Society's Disaster Management team decided to use those donations to replenish RCSBiH's empty stocks with basic relief items.

From the onset of the operation, 360 Red Cross volunteers and staff distributed 4,300 individual food parcels, 8,412 individual hygiene parcels and 2,200 litres of disinfectants for 8,412 beneficiaries according to the criteria established.

Coordination

The International Federation staff, assisted by the two Entity Red Cross coordinators in charge of the Disaster Preparedness programme, coordinated the international support to the National Society for the people affected by floods. The Federation was in charge of quotations and tendering procedures, signing of the contracts and financial administration.

Owing to the prompt DREF allocation of the International Federation and cash contributions sent by the Belgium, Swedish, Austrian, Norwegian and Japanese Red Cross Societies, the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina has achieved significant results in attaining the Appeal objectives intended to meet the urgent needs of 8,412 vulnerable beneficiaries.

The Red Cross, in cooperation with Civil Protection and the authorities, was involved in all field activities and was responsible for the organisation and realisation of care for the affected population. The RCSBiH Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) members carried out field assessments, together with their partners from Civil Protection, while police and army units assisted the hardest-hit population with boots, rescue units and machines, and fire brigades distributed drinking water. Disaster Preparedness coordinators in flooded regions and cantons were coordinating work with Civil Protection at the municipal level.

During the operation, the RCSBiH Disaster Management Team organised regular meetings with the International Federation and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The purpose of those meetings was to analyse and discuss the National Soc iety's response to the disaster and to identify necessary steps in the development of Disaster Management strategies on national level.

In the course of the operation, two National Society Population Movement (PM) programme mobile teams from Doboj region and Tuzla Canton were involved in evacuation and assistance to the flood victims. Since those two areas have significant number of returnees, the Red Cross, owing to its good co-operation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), received various relief items from the UNHCR field offices. During the floods, those teams, with consent of the UNHCR, distributed 180 blankets, 276 mattresses, 600 m2 of plastic sheeting, 35 jerry cans and 200 pieces of soap from their stocks to the flood victims.

The RCSBiH staff and volunteers involved in this relief operation established better co-operation with the Red Cross mine awareness volunteers, who intensified their work on informing the population about the mine risk in the affected areas, due to the great concern that land mines laid during the war may have been washed away by the floods and appear in previously land mine clean areas.

Analysis of the operation - objectives, achievements, impact

Emergency relief (food and basic non-food items)

Objective: Provide assistance for 8,412 of the poorest and most- affected flood victims, consisting of food and hygiene parcels, jerry cans and disinfectants.

The RCSBiH Disaster Preparedness staff carried out field assessments in the field together with Civil Protection and based on the findings in the field, this team defined selection criteria for the beneficiaries. According to the criteria established; elderly people (aged 60 and above, living alone), families with children under eight years, female -headed households, the disabled, people left homeless, returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) should be recipients. These criteria were strictly adhered to and 8,412 beneficiaries were identified in the affected regions and cantons. The RCSBiH Plan of Action was finalised on 22 April.

The procurement of all relief items was done locally , in order to ensure efficient implementation of the operation and to support the local economy. The whole process was conducted by the National Society, while the Federation supervised the whole process in order to ensure that the procurement follows Federation's rules and procedures. All suppliers observed the time frame for delivery of goods as stipulated in the contract, and delivered items to four regional warehouses (Tuzla, Gradiska, Modrica and Vogosca). With the cash donations received in the very beginning of the operation, the RCSBiH managed to purchase 8,412 individual hygiene parcels, 1,800 food parcels and 2,200 litres of disinfectants. The distribution of those relief items started immediately upon delivery of the goods to the Regional/Cantonal warehouses. The first round of distribution was carried out between 17 and 23 May, as shown below:

Destination
Food parcels
Hygiene parcels
Disinfectants
Region/Canton
(pieces)
(pieces)
(liters)
Central-Bosnia C.
225
1300
275
Una Sana C.
275
1550
300
Posavina C.
125
700
175
Tuzla C.
150
450
200
Zenica-Doboj C.
125
500
150
Mrkonjic Grad R.
360
360
100
Prijedor R.
/
820
150
Banja Luka R.
/
872
270
Doboj R.
540
1780
540
Semberija,Majevica R.
/
80
40
TOTAL
1,800
8,412
2,200

The content of the food parcel was the following: 12kg of wheat flour, 1 l of vegetable oil, 1 kg of beans, 1 kg of pasta, 1 kg of sugar, 1/2 kg of salt, canned meat (200 g), 1 kg of rice, 1 kg of vegetables, 1/2kg of feta cheese and 5 bags of dried yeast, while the hygiene parcel consisted of 1kg of washing powder, 2 pieces of soap (125 g), 1 washing soap (250 g), toilette paper, paper kitchen towel, 1 lt of disinfectant and 1 tube of toothpaste.

With additional funds received during the operation, the RCSBiH purchased only 2,600 food parcels, while procurement of 3,900 jerry cans and additional 5,700 food parcels was not possible.

Having identified and selected beneficiaries for the second round of distribution, the Red Cross branches carried out distribution of 2,600 individual food parcels as well as 204 lt of disinfectant between 07 and 22 June, according to the distribution plan. For details of the distribution according to the region/canton, please see the table below:

Destination
Food parcels
Region/Canton
(pieces)
Central-Bosnia C.
265
Una Sana C.
290
Posavina C.
105
Tuzla C.
200
Zenica-Doboj C.
165
Sarajevo C.
50
Herzegovina-Neretva C.
100
RC FBiH Warehouse
125
Prijedor R.
338
Banja Luka R.
462
Doboj R.
370
Semberija,Majevica R.
130
TOTAL
2,600

An RCSBiH appointed monitoring team was responsible for verifying the validity of beneficiary lists through random checks. According to the monitoring reports, 70 % of the beneficiaries were dependent on agricultural proceeds which were destroyed by floods, while 15% of the beneficiaries were evacuated during the floods. All interviewed beneficiaries were grateful to donors and the Red Cross for the efforts made to alleviate the consequences of that disaster, as they saw that relief assistance as a great help in surviving the period immediately after the floods, although it was not possible to implement all foreseen activities due to the lack of funds.

Objective: Promotion of activities of the Red Cross and strengthening of the RCSBiH image.

The RCSBiH Presidency organised a press conference on the floods on 20 May in Sarajevo, in order to present the Red Cross activities in the field, to report on valuable contributions of donors and to announce further activities envisaged in the Plan of Action. Three days earlier, a similar press conference was organised by the Republika Srpska Red Cross in Gradiska, one of the towns affected by floods. This was an opportunity for the Red Cross to inform the media about its response to the floods, direct distribution to the beneficiaries, its Disaster Management programme and level of co-operation with local authorities.

During the whole operation, the RCSBiH representatives present in the field were giving interviews to the media. The National Society guidelines on external communication, prepared by the Disaster Preparedness Coordinators were helpful for the Red Cross staff in the field, and enabled better communication with the media. In that way, the public was duly informed about the Red Cross activities and its role in disaster response.

Distribution of parcels with the RCSBiH emblem, as well as visits to beneficiaries by the Red Cross volunteers, made the presence of the Red Cross in the field visible and thus boosted the RCSBiH image among the people.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement -- Principles and initiatives

Striving to alleviate suffering and improve the life and dignity of people in need, the RCSBiH worked in compliance with the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement during the implementation of this relief operation. At the same time, this operation improved the cooperation between the Red Cross and local authorities, helped in defining roles and responsibilities of the various players in disaster response and improved the coping mechanisms of the local communities.

National Society Capacity Building

This operation showed that the existing Disaster Management structure of the RCSBiH was well trained and Emergency Response Team members were able to provide vital assistance to the affected population, in spite of the scanty material resources. At the same time, this relief operation served as a test for the National Society Disaster Management Team, which enabled it to identify shortcomings in the implementation of the Disaster Preparedness programme and ways for their improvement. According to RCSBiH's analysis, there were no major impediments in the field during the implementation of this relief operation, while the management and coordination at the National Society headquarters level were identified as areas which have to be improved.

With technical support of the Federation, for the first time in such type of operations, the RCSBiH completely conducted the procurement of all relief items, which increased the National Society's capacity in dealing with logistics-related matters.

As part of the Federation's continued support in strengthening the National Society in Disaster Management, one of the RCSBiH Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) members attended the Disaster Preparedness course in Macedonia. The course was jointly organised by Macedonian and Austrian Red Cross societies and its main focus was on the work of the water purification unit.

Lessons learned

The implementation of the operation was carried out rather smoothly, as the Red Cross staff and volunteers followed the plan of action and time-frame proposed.

a) Although co-operation and co-ordination during the operation between the RCSBiH headquarters, its Entity Red Cross headquarters, and affected branches was on satisfactory level, there is a room for improvement, especially on the headquarters level,

b) The capacity of the RCSBiH in disaster management has been strengthened,

c) Owing to generous and timely response of donors such as Belgium, Swedish, Austrian, Norwegian and Japanese Red Cross Societies, the RCSBiH managed to implement majority of its activities envisaged in the appeal, although some of them were not realised due to the insufficient appeal coverage,

d) The efficient performance of the RCSBiH and Federation staff enabled the successful implementation of the operation,

e) Both print and electronic media gave the most prominence to prompt assistance offered by the Red Cross to the flood victims in the very beginning of the disaster, and closely followed the course of the whole operation, thus enhancing the RCSBiH profile in the community,

f) Local purchase was possible with high quality items, and National Society has capacity to conduct the procurement process in line with the international standards,

g) The RCSBiH Disaster Preparedness programme established better links w ith other National Society programmes,

h) Good co-ordination was achieved through regular contacts with Entity Governments, Civil Protection, ICRC, local authorities in affected municipalities and community leaders,

i) The RCSBiH has sufficient human resources while lacking material resources, which may have negative implications on efficient disaster response in the future.

Financial Aspects

The emergency appeal has targeted CHF 333,000 and currently has 61.9% coverage. The operational budget was decreased to CHF 205,210 and as per that figure, there is a CHF 11,503 balance remaining. With donors' approval, this amount is planned to be reallocated to the Population Movement programme, which has similar programme activities. For further details on the financial information regarding this report, please see the final financial report attached below.

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