The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) and the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), while continuing to work on the recovery operation in the earthquake area since 12 May 2008, have gradually shifted focus back to the National Society's other programmes, allowing for some integration of emergency and longer-term development work in the RCSC. In the earthquake-affected communities, support for reconstruction of homes was the main focus in 2009. At the same time, programme development in areas of psychosocial support, water and sanitation, livelihoods as well as other community-based programmes in health and disaster preparedness were taking shape and will be implemented in 2010. Disaster preparedness centres are being planned and support to the RCSC in developing their own disaster response units has made good progress.
In support of disaster management programmes, attention has shifted back to long-term organization development and disaster management strategy during the year. The National Society held a working group meeting on a sustainable community-based disaster preparedness programme model and a workshop on disaster risk reduction for targeted branches. Through these and other organized gatherings, the RCSC, partners and other national societies including the Red Cross Societies of Mongolia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Vietnam Red Cross societies were able to share and learn best practices and further incorporate ideas into country-specific strategy plans.
The community-based disaster preparedness programmes in Anhui, Chongqing and Henan, which were all supported through the 2007 floods operations, as well as the three-year community-based disaster preparedness programme in Hubei supported by the Finnish Red Cross, concluded at the end of 2009. Construction of roads, bridges, wells, irrigation systems, and disaster response and first aid training to local villagers and school children enhanced the safety and resilience of village communities, benefiting thousands of villagers.
The health programme also continues to support the scale up of HIV work in China with integration of Global Alliance principles. The RCSC alliance on HIV has entered into its second year in April. Prior to that, the RCSC, with support of the Federation's HIV delegate, produced a one-year report and marketing documents that were shared with partners.
In 2009, the HIV prevention cross border project was successfully implemented and the collaboration between the two implementing national societies (RCSC and Mongolia Red Cross) has been strengthened.
The community-based health and first aid approach is being widely rolled out in China, first through the earthquake recovery operation. It is envisaged that eventually other branches will join this process and, in 2009, efforts were made to sensitize other RCSC branches and partner national societies on the new community-based health and first aid approach. IFRC and RCSC headquarters are working towards developing a nationwide plan on community-based health and first aid, to ensure the synergies among different branches in the integration of community-based health and first aid principles and approaches into their existing community based health projects.
IFRC supports organizational development in China through an integrated programming approach to capacity building and partnerships. A three-year intensified capacity building programme supported by IFRC in Henan has finished its first year. The learnings from this programme will be applied to other programme sectors and branches of the RCSC.
In 2010, China will host the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai for six months. IFRC is working very closely with the RCSC and the ICRC to provide input and support for this important international event.