More than six months have passed since the devastating earthquake in Sichuan province affected some 45 million people, killing an estimated 90,000 and leaving five million homeless. The International Federation has continued to support the relief and recovery efforts of the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) by coordinating international Red Cross partner support, and launching a revised emergency appeal based on the outcomes and findings of technical assessments in the earthquake zone.
Building on the opportunities to support and guide the RCSC during this disaster response operation, the International Federation's disaster management team has worked closely with the RCSC headquarters to see how best to build capacities in disaster response. At the same time, the community-based disaster preparedness projects have begun to move forward after being postponed due to the earthquake.
Likewise, health programmes that were initially delayed due to the earthquake have now been reinitiated. After the March launch of the RCSC's scaled-up HIV programme under the Global Alliance, projects in most provinces are underway, and many of the activities were publicized during World's AIDS Day across the nation. Avian influenza programmes have commenced once again in two provinces, with the training of trainers and dissemination activities through Red Cross volunteers.
The RCSC has marked 2008 as the year of grassroots organizational development, following up on the focus in 2007 on volunteer management development. A nationwide conference on the subject has brought together all provincial branch leaders to discuss the plans for rolling out new initiatives to strengthen the grassroots of the Red Cross in China. Coincidentally, the pilot project supported by an intensified capacity building grant is underway with links to HIV programming and volunteer development.
Humanitarian values and Red Cross principles are at the heart of all activities of the RCSC. The International Federation continues to support this through programme planning, trainings and workshops, and the particular support of the communications delegate, who has joined the office as a full-time position as of this autumn.
Financial situation: The 2008 budget has been reduced from the original appeal amount of CHF 2,087,551 (USD 1.95 million or EUR 1.28 million) to CHF 932,939 (USD 854,590 or EUR 621,379), of which 57 per cent is covered. Due to a lack of support in funding for HIV programming and organizational development, these two programme budgets have been reduced. Expenditure from January to November 2008 was 68 per cent over total income.
See also: China: Floods (MDRCN002), Interim final report; and: China: Sichuan Earthquake (MDRCN003), revised emergency appeal and operations update no. 18
No. of people we help: It is difficult to estimate the total number of beneficiaries in RCSC programmes supported by the International Federation. During this reporting period, branch staff and volunteers directly benefited from support of the Federation through multiple training sessions and capacity building initiatives. Beneficiary numbers have not been properly assessed due to the attention put on the earthquake operation during these months.
Our partners: These programmes are supported through the generous donations of partners that include the American, Australian, British, Finnish, and Swedish Red Cross. The RCSC has active programmes of bilateral cooperation with other members of the Movement, including its special autonomous branches in Hong Kong and Macao, the American, Australian, Canadian, Netherlands, Norwegian, Swedish and Swiss Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The RCSC coordinates closely with the ministry of health and civil affairs at local and national levels, ensuring that Red Cross activities are focused in areas where they have greater impact and cooperation from the local governments. Local organizations and community groups are important local partners for implementing activities, as well as reaching groups that might otherwise be difficult to access, such as minority communities. The RCSC also participates in collaborative efforts with other stakeholders and organizations working in related fields, such as The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO).
On behalf of the Red Cross Society of China, the International Federation would like to thank all partners for their support.