India Appeal No. 01.54/2003

Originally published


(In CHF)
(In CHF)
1. Health and Care
2. Disaster Management
3. Organizational Development
1 USD 8,945,708 or EUR 8,868,215.
2 These are preliminary budget figures for 2004, and are subject to revision.


This appeal seeks general support for the International Federation's 2003-2004 programming3 in India. The programmes encompassed in the document are developed addressing emerging strategic priorities identified by the Indian Red Cross Society as well as reflecting the ongoing programmes under the three-year Gujarat earthquake recovery and rehabilitation appeal (20/2001) launched on 9 July 20014.

The overall goal of the Federation's 2003-2004 appeal is to support the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) to build the capacity in assisting the country's most vulnerable through a better service delivery and advocacy in four core areas (health and care in the community, disaster response, disaster preparedness, promotion of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's fundamental principles) and the three strategic directions of the Federation's Strategy 2010 (well-functioning national societies, responsive and focused programming, and working together effectively).


With a population of more than 1,027 million5, India is the second country in the world after China to cross the one billion mark. The population of the country rose by 21.34 per cent between 1991 - 2001. Total literacy rate was returned as 65.38 per cent. The latest Human Development Report6 shows that India ranks 124th among 173 nations in the world ahead of its neighboring countries, Pakistan (138th), Bhutan (140th), Nepal (142nd) and Bangladesh (145th). India's Human Development Index (HDI), a statistic compiled on the basis of life expectancy, literacy and GDP, is estimated at 0.577. Even though there was some progress, the index increased from 0.407 in 1975 and 0.571 in 1999, compared to other developing countries which have an average HDI of 0.654, India stands lower. India's GDP per capita is US$ 2,358. Life expectancy at birth is 63.3 years and adult literacy rate is 57.2 per cent. Other social indicators7 show that only 12 per cent of the population has access to safe water while 35 per cent has access to basic health care. The country's infant mortality rate of 70 per 1,000 live births and maternal mortality rate of 410 per 100,000 live births are among the highest in the world.

According to the World Bank's figures, India continues to have the highest concentration of poverty of any country with some 433 million people, over 40 per cent of the total, living on less than one US dollar a day. About 20 per cent of the world's total out-of-school children (ages 6-14) are in India. Malnutrition among the children under the age of four is a serious problem. At the same time, malnutrition and anemia among women are also very common. In India, unlike most countries, more women than men die before the age of 35. Maternal deaths in India account for almost 25 per cent of the world's child birth-related deaths. In addition, communicable, maternal and prenatal conditions account for half of the disease burden in India.

HIV/AIDS is a newly emerging threat to India's public health. According to the latest UNAIDS report released in July 2002, India has the second highest number of people with the HIV/AIDS virus in the world, nearly four million people, after South Africa. Ninety per cent of them are unaware of it. The epidemic is spreading among the general population and beyond to groups with high risk behaviours.

Unique climatic conditions make India one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. The location and geographical features render it vulnerable to a number of natural hazards such as cyclones, drought, floods, earthquakes, fires, landslides and avalanches. Of its 35 states and union territories, 22 are regarded as particularly disaster-prone. Of the annual rainfall, 75 per cent is concentrated over a span of four months of monsoon (June-September) and as a result river floods become the most frequent and often the most devastating event. While the area liable to floods is 40 million hectares, the average area affected by floods annually is about eight million hectares. Monsoon floods in 2002 killed more than 780 people and displaced some 24 million in the eastern and north-eastern states. Due to erratic behaviour of a monsoon, drought is a perennial feature in some states: 16 per cent of the country's total area is drought prone and some 50 million people are regularly affected by drought and resulting food shortages. With its long coastline of 8,000 km, about five to six tropical cyclones on an average form in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea every year. The Indian ocean is one of the six major cyclone-prone regions in the world. The eastern coastal Orissa state was affected by a severe cyclone in 1999.

In addition, about 50-60 per cent of the total land mass of India is susceptible to medium to strong seismic activity, with many large cities located in seismic belts. An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale which struck Gujarat on 26 January 2001 devastated the area leaving some 20,000 dead and causing approximately USD five billion in damages. The long term needs in health care, shelter and water and sanitation still need to be addressed. The eruption of the raging waves of communal riots in Gujarat in early 2002 which claimed at least 1,000 lives has impeded the pace of the state's recovery from the devastating earthquake.

Country Strategy

With more than 650 branches and over 12 million members and volunteers, the Indian Red Cross Society is one of the largest indigenous organizations in the country. It has a generally positive image as a credible Indian humanitarian organization predominantly linked to its work in relief, health and blood collection and blood donor motivation. The society has experience in major earthquakes and emergency rehabilitation because of a high incidence of disasters, such as the Maharashtra earthquake in 1993, Orissa super cyclone in 1999, Gujarat earthquake in 2001, drought in 2000 and 2001, flood relief operations in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and Gujarat communal riots in 2002.

With many capacity building strategies supported by and coordinated among the International Federation, partner societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the past few years, the Indian Red Cross Society has undergone significant changes. As part of the managing change process at the national headquarters (NHQ) level to align with global organizational development priorities, the society is now focusing on a country strategy to reduce suffering of the vulnerable population through enhanced capacity of the society to respond and to prepare the communities for responding to disasters. The strategy, focusing on building stronger and more relevant services to meet the needs of vulnerable communities, provides frameworks for the society's sectoral integration between health, disaster management and organizational development components. This reflects at the same time the need to review the constitutional process of the society and the appropriateness of the Red Cross law.


3 This document seeks general support for the Federation's 2003-2004 assistance programmes in India. The appeal draws on a more detailed plan of action that will guide international support to increase the capacity of Indian Red Cross to improve the lives of vulnerable people. The plan of action, including all activities, indicators, assumptions, budgets, implementation timetable as well as the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, is available from the contact person detailed at the end of this document.

4 The Gujarat Recovery a nd Rehabilitation Appeal 20/01 will be closed by 31 December 2001 and all existing programmes will be transferred to this 2003-2004 appeal. The final report with the balance sheet covering the period from July 2001-December 2002 will be published by March 2003.

5 India 2001 Census (provisional)

6 UNDP Human Development Report 2002

7 UNDP Human Development Report 2001

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