Real Time Evaluation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Response to the MENA Civil Unrest

Executive Summary

As a result of unprecedented civil unrest across a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), national societies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) have responded to the humanitarian crisis resulting from population movement and conflict.

The current amount appealed for in the Emergency Appeal is CHF 15,145,920 targeting a total of 300,000 beneficiaries. This covers operations in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. The IFRC has deployed many of its global tools in response to the crisis including allocations from DREF, the deployment of surge capacity in the form of FACT and ERUs. Regional resources including RDRTs have also been deployed as well as bilateral coordinated responses from sister national societies in the region.

The International Federation has commissioned this evaluation to “assess the on-going IFRC response to the MENA crisis to inform continued response and preparedness in the MENA region, as well as future global emergency relief operations”.

As of the 30th of June the IFRC Emergency Appeal was 69% covered, with approximately half of the budget allocated to support the Tunisian Red Crescent response to an influx of Third Country Nationals (TCNs) and Refugees. Staff and volunteers worked hard and were motivated to do their best in support of the operation. A number of factors contributed to inefficiencies in the management of operations by the IFRC. This included lack of leadership and experience among some staff in the Zone office to manage such an unexpected complex emergency. In addition, the lack of a position/policy in the Secretariat on camp management concomitant with a lack of investment in such a specialized set of skills meant that the Al-Hayet camp took a long time to set up. Although of good quality, the camp may have served a larger number of TCNs had it been opened earlier and may have been more cost effective.

The Global tools, such as Field Assessment and Coordination Teams (FACT) and the Emergency Response Units (ERUs) proved to be useful preparedness and response measures specifically for the operation in Tunisia. However the deployment of FACT was delayed as a result of a lack of understanding about the mechanism within the MENA Zone. Regional resources such as RDRTs were also used, however despite having cultural awareness and Arabic as a first language, difficulties were encountered when having to work with international teams that did not speak Arabic. There were also delays associated with visa requirements for RDRTs which delayed their deployment and once deployed they did not always have the required skills.