Programmes summary: Through support of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent's (The Federation) appeal, the programmes set forth by the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) in disaster management, health and organizational development are in line with the Global Agenda Goals and contribute towards the Millennium Development Goals. In 2006, the RCSC was well positioned to respond to over 42 different disasters with relief efforts totalling in value over CHF 7 million in 2006, serving hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries. In 2007, the RCSC allocated more than CNY 1.4 billion (CHF 200 million) in disaster management efforts, benefiting over 15 million people throughout China.
At the same time, the RCSC, with support of the Federation, has continued its outreach to vulnerable communities to prevent the spread of HIV and avian influenza. After many years of valuable HIV prevention work, the RCSC has agreed to scale up efforts through the establishment of an HIV alliance that will establish HIV prevention programmes in all provinces and municipalities by 2010.
As diverse as China is in size, scope and economic variances, the RCSC also faces challenges with wide gaps in capacities amongst its branches. Through specialized trainings to develop leadership, financial management, volunteer management and other skills, the RCSC is striving towards strengthening all levels of the organization. With support from the Federation, branch independence from the ministry of health has also taken a great leap forward over these past two years, with new founded recognition from government and society coming forth at all levels.
Financial situation: The total 2006-2007 budget was CHF 2,081,481 (USD 1,861,789 or EUR 1,261,503), revised from CHF 4,247,359, of which 55 percent was covered. Overall expenditure against income for the period was 45 percent.
No. of people we help: It can be estimated that the Red Cross Society of China programmes supported by the Federation have reached millions of beneficiaries in China in 2006 and 2007. Information in health programmes such as HIV/AIDS and avian influenza prevention have each been estimated to reach hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect beneficiaries throughout China. Community-based disaster preparedness programmes have reached thousands of individuals, and the operational development has impacted the RCSC both in public recognition through financial support and branch independence.
Our partners: The RCSC and the Federation have close working relations with many government agencies, at the national, provincial and local levels. The national society's work also involves many other community and national level agencies and organizations, including those within the United Nations system. In these two years, the RCSC collaborated with a total of ten partner national societies on bilateral projects, and the two branches of Hong Kong and Macau continued to support programmes in various provinces.
Development in China over the past two years has been rapid, with a very high 11.4 percent GDP growth rate in 2007, up from 10.7 percent in 2006. At the same time, the population has faced high inflation, especially in food prices, which have brought additional hardships to the poorest populations. While the country readies itself to host the 2008 Olympics, many social problems have continued to surface or deepen, resulting in an ever-increasing need for civil society organizations to take the lead in serving the country's most vulnerable. With the ensuing economic instability and a lack of adequate social systems in place, mass populations have been migrating from rural to urban areas, creating new social issues in medical treatment, sanitation, education, social security and so on. Moreover, frequent episodes of natural disasters, resulting from weather changes and environmental pollution, and the presence of infectious disease and risks of epidemics remain to threat to the people's lives. The Red Cross Society of China, as the largest civil society organization in the country, has prioritized its work to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and scale up its efforts in areas of health and disaster management.
The past two years saw particularly heavy impact from natural disasters throughout China. Typhoons and flooding in 2006 brought the most serious natural disasters to China since 1998, and in 2007, natural disasters in China affected about 400 million people and caused 2,325 deaths.(1) As in past years, the worst and most deadly disasters, accounting for at least 60 percent, were from flooding and mud-rock flows. Wind storms also caused serious losses. Most of the fatalities resulted from floods and lightning strikes, or from landslides or construction collapses. In 2007 alone, more than 1.46 million houses collapsed and 48.67 million hectares of farmland were affected, leaving China's poorest populations without means of income generation or shelter and food supplies.
With inflation on the rise in even the most necessary commodities such as food items, the cost of living in China is increasing rapidly. Yet, the government continues to set the poverty line at CNY 683 (CHF 99 or USD 96) per person per year, according to the Report on China Development, 2007. Based on this standard, it is officially estimated that 48 million people live below the poverty line, which accounts for 3.7 percent of the total population. While according to international standards of living on less than USD 1 per day, 135 million, or ten percent of the population, are living in poverty.(2)
Those most severely affected by natural disasters are those living in rural areas, where poverty levels are at their highest. Those with limited financial means, repair the damage to their homes caused by weather year after year with mud bricks and other unsustainable materials. And because arable land is limited and often sectioned off to farmers in small allotments, it is frequently the case that a family will lose not only their means for income generation, but their own personal food supply when disaster strikes. This increases the vulnerabilities of these populations, and emphasizes the need for immediate relief that the Red Cross can provide in times of disasters.
While sustained levels of economic growth in the past years has led to a gradual increase in public spending in the health and social sectors, time needed for building health infrastructure at lower levels in a large country like China means that a significant proportion of people living in the country's remote and under-developed provinces do not have access to quality and affordable health care. In 2007, China was estimated to have spent USD 144.43 billion (CHF 146 billion) in healthcare, accounting for 4.82 percent of the GDP.
Currently, China's HIV epidemic remains one of the lowest in prevalence overall (HIV infection rate of 0.05 percent), but with pockets of high infections among specific sub-populations and in some localities. It is estimated that by the end of 2007, China had approximately 700,000 (range 550,000-850,000) HIV positive individuals. The epidemic continues to expand, and sexual transmission is now the main mode for the spread of HIV.
Henan province, where the Federation has been supporting an HIV programme over the past years, has the highest prevalence in the country with more than 38,186 reported cases and 8,000 deaths, 900 of which occurred in the last half of 2007 alone.(3)
China is one of six countries in the world where continued transmission of avian influenza (H5N1) occurs and the virus is considered to be enzootic (or entrenched) and this is an ongoing concern for the world. As of the 8 December 2007, China has reported 27 cases of H5N1 in humans, from which 17 have resulted in death. Many rural farmers continue to live with their poultry in their homes or yards and surveys continue to show that many do not use proper hygiene or hand washing methods, even after handling sick or dead poultry.
The Red Cross Society of China's 2005-2009 development plan commits the national society to stronger contributions towards China's overall social and economic development. The national society sees its challenges in building the capacity of each branch and adjusting its role to better meet the changing global situation.
For further information on this Appeal, contact:
Red Cross Society of China: Mr. Wang Xiaohua (director of external relations department), email: email@example.com; phone: +86.10.6404-8366, fax: +86.10.64029928.
Federation regional office in China: Mr. Carl Naucler (head of East Asia regional office); firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: +86.10.65327162, fax: +86.10.65327166.
Federation zone in Kuala Lumpur: Mr. Jagan Chapagain (deputy head of zone); email: email@example.com; phone: +603-2161 0892; fax: +603-2161 1210
(1) China's Ministry of Civil Affairs
(2) Report of the Development of an Overall Well-off Society (2006)
(3) Statistics from Henan Red Cross