China: Floods Appeal No. MDRCN002 Final Report

Period covered by this Final Report: 30 July 2007 to 30 July 2008.

Appeal target: CHF 9,462,000 (USD 7,692,683 or EUR 5,710,320)

Appeal coverage: 26%

Appeal history:

- Launched on 30 July 2007 for CHF 9,462,000 for 12 months to assist 400,000 beneficiaries.

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF): CHF 240,000 (USD 199,465 or EUR 146,468) was initially allocated from the Federation's DREF to support the national society to respond.

Summary: In late May 2007, torrential rains and swelling rivers devastated more than 980 countries in 24 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities of China, affecting an estimated 200 million people and resulting in more than 1,000 deaths. In the areas where the International Federation supported the flood operations, at least 243,000 houses were reported totally collapsed in five provinces: Henan, Hubei, Anhui, Sichuan and Chongqing municipality. It was reported to be the worst flooding seen in more than 50-80 years for some hard hit areas of the country. The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) was able to respond rapidly and effectively to the needs of thousands of people affected by the floods. While DREF funds were initially released to allocate immediate relief supplies, an international appeal was launched on 30 July, 2007, to help the RCSC Flood waters rise well above roofs of buildings in Huainan, Anhui province, which was one of the worst hit areas of the country in the 2007 floods. International Federation meet the needs of 400,000 beneficiaries over the following 12 months. The RCSC provided critical support, as an auxiliary to the Chinese government, and through this support, was able to build capacities within its branches and at headquarters.

All Red Cross relief activities have been completed, while long-term recovery efforts will continue even after the period covered within the reporting of this appeal. Rice and quilt distribution took place in the key areas affected by the floods. With the generous support of donors, the needs for quilts were met early on, and all quilts were distributed by Red Cross branches. While the International Federation's goal to support 2,000 families in the reconstruction of their homes was not met, funding provided through this appeal did enable the RCSC to reconstruct 330 family homes in Hubei and Henan provinces.

The community-based disaster preparedness activities have been carried out in affected communities and mitigation measures have been made in Xinfeng village and Huangshan village in Henan province, Huangjin village in Chongqing municipality, and Mehekou village and Xianyuan village in Anhui province. These communities were chosen and prioritized for funding support by the RCSC headquarters and the International Federation based on local Red Cross branch proposals and assessment visits to these places. The remaining funds totaling CHF 100,358, with donors' approval, will be used to continue support for the ongoing community-based disaster preparedness activities in Chongqing, Anhui and Henan provinces and to support the provinces organizing vulnerability and capacity assessment trainings

The situation

The massive flooding throughout China from June to September in 2007 displaced hundreds of thousands of families, claiming the lives of more than 1000, and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes.

In areas such as Anhui, Hubei and Hunan, farm lands were flooded as rivers were diverted to avoid catastrophes in the cities further downstream. The government worked swiftly to remove the people and some of their livestock and belongings ahead of time. But, many of these rural farmers lost everything they owned, including their homes and livelihoods, due to the unfortunate events. In the mountainous regions of Sichuan and Chongqing, flash floods claimed lives and structures without warning, and some of these areas claimed that this was the worst flooding they had seen in 80 years.

During the winter months as families were reconstructing their homes, China was hit by another serious disaster as snow blanketed much of the central and southern regions of the country. This rare disaster halted transportation across the nation and caused the failure of other infrastructure, such as communications and power supplies. Many of the families who had been affected by the floods were further affected now by this unusual cold weather and sudden icy conditions.

Then, on 12 May, Sichuan and its neighboring provinces were struck by a devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 70,000 and left five million displaced. Ensuing rains in that area again threatened the displaced populations with landslides and breached river dams.

The government, relief organizations, and the people of China themselves, were overwhelmed with this series of natural disasters. All the while, the country had its eyes on the preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, held in August. Thus, 2008 was a very busy year for the government, the people of China, and the RCSC, which was heavily involved in all these disasters as well as providing first aid training and stations during the Olympics.