The People's Republic of China, with a population of 1.3 billion people, is the most populous country in the world, and has both one of the most dynamic and fastest growing economies, while at the same time very marked disparities in income distribution, health status and other vulnerability indicators. Hit by the deepening and spreading global economic crisis affecting the rest of the world, with a sharp drop in exports, China continues to face many economic, environmental and health challenges that threaten its well-being. Extreme poverty remains an ever-present reality in some parts of the country, regardless of China's rapid economic progress.
The 8-magnitude earthquake which devastated parts of Sichuan and neighbouring provinces in 2008 underlined the role that disasters play in reinforcing this significant level of poverty. Other examples include the annual occurrence of severe widespread flooding and tropical storms. But as well as causing widespread destruction, the 2008 earthquake also opened the country and national society up to many learning opportunities and awakened a much stronger commitment from all levels for disaster preparedness and better volunteer and financial management in disasters. It is vital to seize the momentum generated by this shock and to make the investments needed to carry through a significant boost in capacity.
At the same time, many of China's people find themselves unable to afford medical care as the country faces a growing threat from the spread of infectious disease, such as HIV. The concern of the government to control the spread of A (H1N1) influenza virus has put it at the forefront of health issues in China as well.
The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) plays an important role as an auxiliary to the government at all levels in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations. With 33 provincial/regional levels and over 3,000 county level branches throughout the nation, the RCSC has a mandate to respond to disasters with relief items and recovery plans, and continues to serve its communities with health education and first aid training nationwide.
Although a significant amount of money was raised for the earthquake relief, response and recovery, the RCSC is in great need for support of programmes and capacity building initiatives that extend far beyond the reach of funds raised for the earthquake areas. The support of these activities will be crucial, as RCSC sees an opportunity to build on the momentum and strengths gained in the lessons learned and capacities built through support of the earthquake operations, and carry it forward to other areas of the country where other provinces face similar serious threats.
In 2010-2011, the RCSC will continue
to strengthen its capacity to respond to disasters, reduce risks caused
by the spread of disease, and increase the number of people who are trained
in first aid skills throughout the country. Recognizing both the strength
of the RCSC's volunteer base and the weaknesses in proper utilization and
management of these volunteers in a major disaster, the national society
will continue to focus on volunteer management and strengthening its organizational
capacities at the grassroots level as a key priority in these two years.
The RCSC partners with key government agencies, grassroots organizations,
communities and the private
sector to carry out its plans each year and to advocate for the needs of those most vulnerable. Partnerships will continue to expand, especially related to the earthquake relief efforts as well as the HIV global alliance strategy.
The International Federation's support will focus on several key areas in this two-year plan - disaster management, health and care, and organizational development - all supporting the principles and values of the Red Cross. The plan is based on experience built up through a strong collaboration between the International Federation and the RCSC over the past years. It also takes into account the programmes that are being implemented bilaterally by RCSC's partners in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, whom the International Federation's regional office cooperates closely with.
Beneficiaries of these programmes are wide-ranging and include the most vulnerable and in need of support, such as people living with HIV and communities at high risk of being affected by disasters. These programmes will contribute to all four Global Agenda goals and will move China closer to meeting Millennium Development Goals over the next two years. The 2010 - 2011 plan aims to reach 2,503,600 direct beneficiaries and an additional 122,050,000 indirect beneficiaries.
The total 2010 budget is CHF 523,850 (USD 0.50 million or EUR 0.34 million) and for 2011 is CHF 547,380 (USD 0.53 million or EUR 0.36 million).