China

China: Floods Appeal No. 18/2003 Operations Update No. 7

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published


Appeal launched on 22 July 2003 for CHF 7,932,000(USD 5,770,000 or EUR 5,120,000) in cash, kind or services to assist 440,000 beneficiaries for 9 months.
Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 300,000

Period covered: 21 October - 10 December, 2003

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 180 countries. For more information: www.ifrc.org

In Brief

Appeal coverage: 72.5%; See the Contributions List attached to this report.

Outstanding needs: CHF 2,391,773

Related Annual Appeals: For further information regarding the Red Cross Society of China's Federation supported activities please refer to the Federation's country appeal which will be made available at the end of December.

Operational Summary: Five months into the nine month Federation supported flood relief operation, the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) has finalised distributions of mosquito nets, water purification tablets and tents. The RCSC, which has also carried out substantial flood relief activities on its own and in cooperation with the Hong Kong Red Cross is working with the Federation to finalise distributions of quilts and food items to 100,000 families.

Operational developments

In response to the needs created by severe flooding throughout China which commenced in May, the RCSC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Federation) launched an Emergency Appeal on 22 July seeking CHF 7,932,000 to assist 110,000 low-income families (approximately 440,000 individuals) over a period of nine months in Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Guangxi, Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Chonqing provinces in 46 counties. At the same time the Appeal was launched the International Federation's Geneva Secretariat released CHF 300, 000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund which was used for the immediate purchase of water purification tablets and tents.

The Appeal for CHF 7.8 million sought both cash and in kind donations for the purchase of food items (rice or wheat flour), quilts and mosquito nets for distribution to 110,000 low-income families (approximately 440,000 individuals) over a period of nine months in Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Guangxi, Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Chonqing provinces in 46 counties. The rice, mosquito net and the quilt comprises a family package which is being distributed with the dual intent of providing beneficiary families with priority items and replenishing the household economies of subsistence farmers, who live and farm in flood prone areas in order to make a living. Ordinarily China's flood season runs from May through around the end of August. 2003, however, was unusual as the flood season ran three months longer than usual affecting the country through the end of October.

As the operation enters the fifth of the scheduled nine months, the RCSC and the Federation gathered representatives from the RCSC national office, provincial branches in Anhui, Hubei and Hunan and the Federation to openly discuss the progress of activities conducted to date in regard to the 2003 flood relief operation (18/2003) and reflect upon what improvements have been made in the context of recommendations made following the 2002 Flood relief operation review.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action - objectives, progress, impact

The RCSC and the Federation's flood relief activities are being supported through contributions from the Austrian Red Cross, Australian Government, Canadian Red Cross, Danish Red Cross, Danish Government, ESTEC, European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), Finnish Red Cross, German Red Cross, German Government, Liechtenstein Red Cross, Monaco Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross, Turkish Red Crescent, Japanese Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross, Swiss government, United States Embassy in Beijing,

Emergency relief

Objective: To provide recovery assistance in the form of rice, quilts and mosquito nets to 110,000 families in eight provinces and one municipality most affected by this year's floods.

One of the key ways of providing support to affected rural communities is to assist families who have lost all of their belongings with rebuilding their household economies. According to 2002's UNDP China Human Development Report some fifty million people in China's rural areas have an annual income of USD 75 (RMB 635). A central aspect of the reasoning behind the RCSC's and the Federation's approach to providing assistance to flood victims was to contribute towards stabilising the household economies of flood victims by providing much needed items that if the beneficiaries were to have to purchase them themselves would, depending on the extent of loss sustained due to flooding, either pose a tough financial burden or be beyond the beneficiaries means. Based on results obtained from surveys conducted among the beneficiaries in 2002 and 2001 the items that were most appreciated were food (rice) and quilts. With the loss of crops and income many of the families simply could not afford food. Damp conditions, loss and heavy damage to household items; and depending on location decreasing temperatures justified the demand for quilts. Additionally, the accumulation of stagnant water during the summer months created a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes which carry malaria. It was therefore important to protect already vulnerable communitie s from exposure to malaria, so mosquito nets were identified by the RCSC and the Federation as a priority item for distribution as well. Given the identified needs for rice, quilts and nets, it was decided to distribute family packages valued at USD 40 (RMB 335), which is slightly over half the estimated average income of the beneficiaries, comprising of rice (or wheat flour), 1 quilt and 1 mosquito net thus contributing to replenishing household economies while meeting the immediate needs of flood affected families and individuals.

Distribution of Relief Items

Progress/Achievements

Planning

Purchasing of relief items has been done based on the time and amount of funding received. Since the launch of the appeal in July, funding from the respective donors has been received in different stages. "Plans of Action" for the purchase of relief items have been devised based on the amount of funding available and the priority needs of the beneficiaries at the time the funding is received. In the case of this appeal, since the onset of flooding in July, there have been seven Plans of Action. As there was only a limited amounts of funding available at any given time throughout the implementation period, the RCSC and the Federation were forced to distribute items independently of each other and therefore prioritise which items should be distributed first. As mosquito nets were a seasonal need, mosquito nets were purchased first. Following that, food and quilts were equally important, however, unexpected delays in the arrival of anticipated funding led to delays in the purchase of rice, while available funding which was received from other donors was used for the purchase of quilts for slightly over 100,000 beneficiaries.

The Plans of Action (PoA) for the RCSC's Federation funded distributions are as follows:

Plan of Action
Relief Item
1
Tents (Anhui,Jiangsu)
Water purification tablets (8 Provinces) (DREF)
2
136,300 Mosquito nets
3
31,900 quilts (German Red Cross)
4
16,210 quilts for Shaanxi (American Embassy and Norwegian Red Cross)
16,390 quilts for eight provinces (Canadian Red Cross)
5
36,600 (estimated) quilts (Swiss Red Cross and Monaco Red Cross)
6
7,400 MT Food Items (Rice or Wheat flour) (ECHO)
7
11,500 Quilts (Danish Red Cross)

Approximately 100,000 families, ten thousand less than originally hoped due to lack of funding, in the nine most severely affected provinces were selected by the RCSC to receive Federation funded family packages. Distributions within the provinces are supervised and carried out by the RCSC's provincial branches in close consultation with the RCSC's national office.

Province Prefectures/Counties
1. Sichuan Guangyuan,Luzhou,Liangshan,Leshan,Nanchong (Prefectures)
2. Chongqing Wulong,Pengshui,Qianjiang,Shizhu,Youysng,Xiushan,Chengkou, Zhong,Fengjie,Yunyang, Wuxi (Counties)
3. Anhui Bengbu,Huainan,Hefei (Prefectures)
4. Jiangsu Xuyi,Sihong,Siyang (Counties)
5. Shaanxi Ankang, Weinan (Prefectures)
6. Henan Zhumadian,Xinyang, Zhoukou, Nanyang (Prefectures)
7. Hubei Jingzhou,Huanggang, Xianning,Yichang, Shiyan (Prefectures)
8. Guangxi Lingshan,Pubei,Qinnan,Lipu,Pingguo,Guangkou (Prefectures)
Shangsi, T'ian (Counties)
9. Hunan Yizhang,Yongxing,Shimen,Linli,Li (Counties)
Zixing (Prefecture)

Two additional factors that have had a significant impact on the planning and implementation of the flood relief operation thus far have been: 1) the fluctuations in currency exchange rates particularly the exchange rate between the Swiss Franc and the EURO and the Chinese Yuan against European currencies; and 2) price hikes in cotton, rice and wheat which occurred at the end of October. Both these factors have affected the buying power of the society both positively and negatively.

Beneficiary Selection

Despite the rapid and highly publicized growth of China's economy, China possesses a large sector of subsistence farmers who rely on an annual income estimated to be around USD 75. It is the subsistence farmers who sustain the greatest loss of personal belongings, and who's lives are thrown into the greatest amount of turmoil due to flooding as for the most part they settle in low lying areas close to the rivers and waterways which are subject to overflow when there are particularly heavy rains and dikes collapse. Based on past experience, the Chinese government has developed a fairly reliable early warning system and the army was able to evacuate those people residing in dangerous areas to higher ground or temporary shelters resulting in a very low level of flood related deaths and a relatively low level of flood related injuries. There was, however, little hope for saving the millions of homes and massive amounts of farmland and crops that were completely submerged or irreparably damaged by the rapid currents. Immediately following the flooding, thousands of families sought shelter on the dikes using tents and plastic sheeting distributed by the government and the RCSC for cover. Others, in particularly the elderly and the disabled, who were displaced by the floods sought refuge in schools and other public facilities that had been converted by the army into shelters. Beyond simply the loss of property and income the floods also delayed the start of the school year leaving many children stranded in shelters with no where to go during the day and many adults left with little else to do then wait for the waters to subside so that they could begin rebuilding their lives.

Beneficiaries in the nine branches were selected by a village committee coordinated by RCSC branch staff. The committees, when interviewed by the Federation's relief coordinator and field delegate confirmed that they are employing the criteria for assistance set forth by the Federation and the RCSC in the original Appeal document. Namely, low income families who lost the ir homes and/or crops, or who's homes sustained serious damage; as well as, the elderly and disabled persons. Following the identification of beneficiaries, the names of beneficiaries were prominently and publicly displayed on a board at the entrance to the distribution area and committees were available to hear suggestions from the community regarding the choice of beneficiaries.

Tents and Water Purification tablets (Plan of Action 1)

Plan of Action 1, funded by DREF, comprised the distribution of tents (Anhui and Jiangsu); and, the distribution of water purification tablets in Anhui, Jiangsu,Henan,Guangxi, Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, and Chonqing. RCSC relief coordinators from branches in Hubei, Hunan and Anhui confirmed the usefulness of tents to the branches due to the fact that there is always a need for tents no matter what the emergency is.

Following flooding untreated effluent is the greatest contaminant of surface and groundwater reserves following flooding. For example, in Guangxi/Hunan provinces it is estimated that sanitation related diseases such as dysentery, typhoid fever and diarrhoeal diseases account for more than 70% of the infectious diseases. In July, many of the southern provinces experienced significant flooding and landslides that caused severe infrastructure damage, including damage to river banks, irrigation facilities, fish ponds and water and sewage supplies. It was therefore important to distribute water purification tablets as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of disease among flood victims. Below is the most recent information regarding the distribution of water purification tablets by the branches. Although all the branches have confirmed the receipt and distribution of the item, the reporting capacity of the branches varies. Reporting on the distribution of relief items is supervised by the RCSC's relief division in Beijing. RCSC reporting is done through a system of forms, key forms for the purposes of carrying out relief operations are form 6 outlining the society's distribution plan and form 9 detailing how the items were finally distributed. The data provided below is derived from forms submitted by the respective branches to the society's national office.

Province
No. of Boxes of Water Purification Tablets
No. of Beneficiaries
Distribution Date
Henan
224
13,000
August 2003
Chongqing
224
10,214 (100 villages)
August 2003
Jiangsu
224
N/A
August 2003
Sichuan
224
11,200
August 2003
Hunan
224
13,800 (4,600 families)
August 2003

The ability to have readily available DREF funding for the RCSC to purchase and provide emergency relief is critical in a country as large and as diverse as China, that is also highly prone to earthquakes and typhoons which cause millions of dollars of damage in highly populated areas. Parallel to the implementation of flood relief activities, the RCSC over the past five months has responded to substantial earthquakes in Yunnan and Gansu and most recently in the Xinjiang region .

Mosquito Nets (Plan of Action 2)

A favourable exchange rate between the Chinese Yuan (RMB) and the Swiss Franc (CHF) combined with sufficient funding raised from contributions received in the weeks immediately following the launch of the appeal combined with a reduction in the price of nets by 5 RMB per unit during the final round of bidding allowed for the purchase of some 136,000 mosquito nets, exceeding the original number of nets specified in Plan of Action 2 and the Appeal (110,000).

A total of 136,300 Mosquito nets have been distributed throughout the nine provinces. The nets have been particularly useful in the southern provinces where temperatures are still relatively high and there are still a large number of mosquitoes.

Quilts : (Plan of Action 3,4,5, and 7)

Procurement

The initial tendering for quilts took place during the third week of September at RCSC headquarters in regard to the purchase of quilts with funding from the German Red Cross. The tendering was attended by seven people including representatives from the RCSC's logistics, relief and finance department, and was observed by the Federation's field delegate in the presence of a translator.

In accordance with the Federation's tendering procedures, the RCSC published an open invitation to the public on the government's tendering website, the China Financial Daily and in industry newspapers. Based on these advertisements five suppliers demonstrated an interest in submitting a bid. The suppliers were furnished with the requirements for the quilts and as of the published deadline for submitting an offer, three suppliers submitted anonymous bids, containing samples of the quilts. Prices ranged from RMB 55.3 to RMB 58 per unit and an analysis was made of the respective quilts' fibre to ensure good quality. In the end a supplier from Shanghai was identified who can supply the highest quality quilts offered at RMB 55.3 per quilt.

As the supplier was reliable and able to produce high quality quilts it was decided to retain the same supplier to produce quilts which are being distributed under plans of action 4, 5 and 7. At the end of October, however, the price of cotton suddenly rose and it was jointly decided by the RCSC and the Federation to have a modified tender which would take into account the price rise. After reviewing new tender documents submitted by three suppliers, the RCSC and the Federation confirmed the value of continuing with the original Shanghai supplier with quilts now costing 59 RMB per quilt.

Distribution

As of the time of writing, 31,900 quilts procured under Plan of Action 3 with funding from the German Red Cross; 11,110 quilts for Shaanxi purchased with funds donated by the American Embassy have been distributed by the Provincial branches.

Quilts intended for distribution under plans of action 4 and 5, and plan of action 7 (in kind donation from the Danish Red Cross) are in production and will be ready for distribution shortly.

31,900 Quilts purchased by the RCSC and the Federation with funding from the German Red Cross and the German government were distributed as described in the table below from the end of October through the middle of November:

RCSC Provincial Branch Distribution of Quilts funded by the German Red Cross (PoA 3)
Total number of villages
Total number of quilts distributed
Prefectures/Counties
ANHUI Bangbu, Huainan,Hefei
478
3,372
JIANGSU Si Yang, Si Hong, Xu Yi
49
3,372
HENAN Xin Yang, Zhoukau, Nan Yang, Zhumadian
131
5,057
GUANGXI Guigang,Beihai,Qinzhou,Fangchengang, Hechi,Guilin (prefectures) Lipo county
58
3,372
HUNAN Xiangxi, Zhang Jia Jie, Changde, Chenzhou
65
5,057
HUBEI Jingzhou,Huanggang, Yichang, Shi Yan
95
3,372
SICHUAN Guangyuan, Luzhou, Liangshan, Nanchong,Leshan
119
5,057
CHONGQING Wu Long, , Pengshui, Qianjiang district,Shizhu,You Yang,Xiu Shan, Chengkou, Zhong, Yun Yang, Fengjie,Wuxi
188
5,057

Monitoring of relief distributions has been carried out either unilaterally by the Federation, or jointly with representatives from the RCSC's relief division in Guangxi, Henan, Shaanxi and Anhui by the Federation's relief coordinator and field delegate. Visits to these branches have confirmed the Provincial branches' adherence to the appeal's guidelines regarding beneficiary selection and the quantity and quality of the items being distributed.

Rice/Wheat flour (Plan of Action 6)

In response to requests from the Provincial branches; and due to the combination of limited funding and a rise in the price of wheat and flour the planned food ration of 100 kg of rice per family is being reduced to 70 kg per family so that a targeted 100,000 families who have received 1 mosquito net, and will receive 1 quilt may receive a complete family package.

There has been a dramatic change in the price of both wheat flour and rice in China since the time the initial assessment was made in July, and funding being made available in November, whereby the price of each commodity has risen by approximately 30% exceeding the expectations of the RCSC and the Federation.

In the case of rice, China's market has been very stable over the past decade. At the time the appeal was launched the price of rice was on average 1.6 RMB per kilogramme (kg). Damage to a substantial loss of rice crops due to flooding in 2003; hording of the commodity; and, decreasing control of prices by the Chinese government, led to a spiking of the average market price of rice in October up to 2.1 RMB per kg.

In the case of wheat flour, the price of wheat flour in July was on average 1.44 RMB per kilogramme (kg). The onset of winter and decreasing control of prices by the Chinese government, led to an increase of the average market price of wheat in October up to 2.2 RMB per kg.

Thus, due to the price rise and the amount of funding available if the RCSC and the Federation adhere to the 100 kg ration they will only be able to deliver food items to somewhere between 60 and 70,000 families. By reducing the ration the number of families will be increased. RCSC relief coordinators based in the nine operating branches expressed their preference for providing the same number of beneficiaries who are receiving mosquito nets and quilts with rice and recommended that the rice ration be reduced to meet these needs.

Funding for the food component of the family package was confirmed in November, and the RCSC and the Federation are now able to move forward with the procurement of the commodities, with plans to initiate distributions in January.

Red Cross Society of China Capacity Building

Following recommendations made during a comprehensive external review conducted in March of 2003 of the 2002 floods operation, Federation delegates supporting the RCSC's flood relief operation activities are seated in the RCSC's headquarters in Beijing. The placement of the delegates in the RCSC's headquarters has successfully allowed for representatives of the Federation and the RCSC to truly work together as one integrated team. The joint flood relief operation team, regularly holds "task force" meetings with representatives from the RCSC's finance, media, logistics, external relations and relief divisions to discuss issues and proposed action regarding the operation. The Federation delegates work closely with colleagues from the RCSC on a daily basis thus the society is in the process of learning about international procedures for logistics, reporting and team building by doing. The meeting held on 29 November in Beijing representatives of the society's Beijing based relief division, the Federation's relief delegates and representatives from three of the RCSC's was an excellent opportunity to analyze what activit ies are working and what areas can be further developed.

Members of RCSC's relief, finance, external relations and logistics division participated in a discussion on the importance of reporting with ECHO's East Asia representative that was facilitated through the Federation. The discussion was a good opportunity for both staff from the RCSC and the Federation to better understand the underlying reasoning behind donor reporting requirements and what type of information international donors' most appreciate.

Developing New Strategies for Future RCSC Relief Interventions

During 2003, it was very difficult to coordinate the distribution of family packages in a coherent manner due to the erratic availability of funding. The erratic arrival of funding is becoming increasingly more common and it is important to consider this factor when planning future Federation funded flood relief activities. Keeping in mind the need to balance donor interest against the actual needs of the beneficiaries, it is important to review what commodities should be included in a family package.

Another factor to take into account when planning flood response activities is the amount of assistance Federation supported activities can provide in proportion to the total needs created during a large scale emergency in a country as physically enormous and heavily populated as China. Of the needs created because of 2003's floods, the government of China responded to the immediate needs during the emergency phase of the bulk of the population, RCSC activities supported by the National Lottery Fund and the Hong Kong Red Cross were able to cover a significant percentage of the beneficiary needs, while RCSC activities supported by the Federation responded to a relatively small percentage of the total needs. The priority then for developing a strategy in regard to Federation supported assistance to the RCSC is to identify how to provide assistance that will have substantial impact even if only a small area is covered.

If RCSC and the Federation try to cover too large of an area with the available means then there is a danger of spreading assistance so thin that relief items distributed to affected household will not provide effective or recognisable assistance. Thus for the purposes of planning future interventions it is important to identify and agree upon priorities for Federation supported assistance.

A working group is being formed comprised of representatives from the RCSC's national office, provincial branches and the Federation to follow up on the findings discussed during November's meeting and come up with concrete proposals for future Federation supported relief activities.

For further information please contact:

Red Cross Society of China: Mr.Wang Xiaohua, Director of RCSC External Relations Department, email;rcsc@chineseredcross.org.cn; phone +86-10-6512-4169; fax+86-10-6512-4169

East Asia Regional Delegation: Mr. Alistair Henley (HoRD), email;ifrccn01@ifrc.org; phone+86 1350 1205 972, fax+86-10-6532-7166

Federation Geneva: Mr. Satoshi Sugai, Desk Officer, email;satoshi.sugai@ifrc.org; phone +41 22 730 4237; fax+41 22 733 0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaste r Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org

Annex 1

China - floods
APPEAL No. 18/2003
PLEDGES RECEIVED
10/12/2003
DONOR
CATEGORY
QUANTITY
UNIT
VALUE CHF
DATE
COMMENT
CASH
REQUESTED IN APPEAL CHF
7,932,000
TOTAL COVERAGE 72.5%
AMERICAN - GOVT
100,000
USD
141,400
05.09.03
SH'ANXI PROVINCE
AUSTRALIAN - GOVT/RC
516,447
AUD
467,385
04.09.03
AUSTRIAN - RC
40,000
EUR
61,960
05.08.03
CANADIAN - RC
205,978
CAD
208,141
11.09.03
CANADIAN - RC
38,478
CAD
39,055
14.11.03
DANISH - RC
277,500
DKK
57,581
23.07.03
DANISH - GOVT
30,000
USD
40,530
25.07.03
DIRECTLY TO DELEGATION
DANISH - GOVT
6,688
03.11.03
PROGRAMME SUPPORT
ECHO (01001)
2,000,000
EUR
3,107,000
03.11.03
ESTEC NDF/ESA
10,000
EUR
15,490
24.07.03
FINNISH - RC
50,000
EUR
77,150
24.07.03
GERMAN - GOVT
225,241
EUR
346,646
22.08.03
PURCHASE, TRANSPORT, DISTRIBUTION OF 30'000 QUILTS
JAPANESE - RC
249,543
USD
337,133
25.07.03
LIECHTENSTEIN - RC
10,000
29.08.03
MONACO RC
7,500
EUR
11,543
07.10.03
NORWEGIAN - RC
350,000
NOK
64,925
16.09.03
RELIEF OPERATION IN SHAANXI PROVINCE
SWEDISH - GOVT
700,000
SEK
117,600
25.07.03
SWISS - GOVT(SDC)
400,000
17.10.03
TURKISH - RC
30,000
22.07.03
SUB/TOTAL RECEIVED IN CASH
5,540,227
CHF
69.8%
KIND AND SERVICES (INCLUDING PERSONNEL)
DONOR
CATEGORY
QUANTITY
UNIT
VALUE CHF
DATE
COMMENT
CANADA
DELEGATE(S)
30,226
DENMARK
DELEGATE(S)
35,647
SWEDEN
DELEGATE(S)
40,082
DANISH - GOVT
102,894
03.11.03 11'500 QUILTS
SUB/TOTAL RECEIVED IN KIND/SERVICES
208,849
CHF
2.6%
ADDITIONAL TO APPEAL BUDGET
DONOR
CATEGORY
QUANTITY
UNIT
VALUE CHF
DATE
COMMENT
SUB/TOTAL RECEIVED
CHF