India: Drought Appeal No. 16/2003 Final Report


Appeal No. 16/03; Launched on: 20 June 2003 for six months for CHF 1,292,000 (USD 972,835 or EUR 833,259) to assist 75,000 beneficiaries. Due to lack of funding the operation was scaled down with a reduced budget of CHF 174,000 to assist 41,500 beneficiaries. The appeal time-frame was reduced to four months.
Appeal coverage: 11.7%

Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) Allocated: CHF 100,000

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The appeal was launched based on a wide range of information monitoring the situation which established there was a very real humanitarian need in the drought-affected state of Rajasthan. The state had endured four years of drought which had weakened the rural economy and largely eroded the coping capacity and economic potential of the people of Rajasthan. More than 30 districts were affected, with heavy livestock losses and reduced harvests leading to increased poverty and chronic malnutrition. Varying degrees of malnutrition among 50 per cent of children below five years was also prevalent.

A joint Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) and Federation assessment in November 2002 revealed that the drought affected population was getting just over half of their required nutritional needs, and the food security situation was deteriorating. Despite several ongoing state-run relief schemes to ensure food security, malnutrition of the rural population due to prolonged drought was becoming a significant concern.

This appeal was issued on a prelim inary basis to cover the immediate needs of 75,000 of the most vulnerable people in Rajasthan. The operation addressed the priority need for food. Since the launch of this appeal, the IRCS and the Federation have struggled to get the drought operation off the ground due to a virtual 'dry funding' situation. Constant follow-up with donors at the national and international level yielded just 11.7 per cent of the appeal. Despite limited funding, the national society's determination to carry out the operation with support from the Federation yielded results.

A joint IRCS/Federation follow-up assessment conducted in July 2003 confirmed that the drought crisis was continuing. The original appeal was aimed at assisting 15,500 families in the five most drought affected districts with three food distributions, providing sustenance for one-and-a half months. As outlined in the Operation Update 1, this was scaled down to a one-off distribution for 8,300 families, providing sustenance for 30 days. The distribution process was due to be completed by the end of September 2003 but took until the end of October because of funding delays.

When it became apparent that there was little immediate likelihood of further funds being received, the IRCS and the India delegation examined how and in what form assistance could best be delivered to the vulnerable communities. A series of meetings and discussions led to the streamlined response. The operational budget was then revised and affected districts consulted. Reduced funding meant that the operation had been forced to take a new viewpoint and essentially meant re-drafting the original appeal. It had been a difficult process managing the reduction in the number of targeted beneficiaries and re-prioritising the needs of the community.

The two objectives outlined in the original appeal under "Advocacy and Humanitarian Values" were dispensed with in light of the funding situation.

With the operation's activities having come to an end, there remains an outstanding balance of CHF18, 665. The Federation wishes to apply these funds towards IRCS disaster management activities for 2004 and will be contacting the donors for their further approval


A disaster response task force of the IRCS and Federation had been established to closely monitor the situation with the national disaster management control room, UNDP, World Food Programme and various nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). There was good coordination with government authorities at state and district levels during the assessment as well as the operation phase. Situation reports were shared with the authorities, UN organisations, international and local NGOs. The disaster management centre located at the IRCS national headquarters was used to assist and improve coordination of relief efforts among the key disaster management agencies at national level. A series of inter -agency meetings took place involving the national society headquarters, state and district branches. These meetings led to improved humanitarian interv entions by the Red Cross, led to better coordination, initiated resource mobilisation and the sharing of information. The IRCS also initiated a series of pre-implementation planning meetings with the state government and UN agencies. Details of the develop ing drought situation were also shared with a number of partner national society field representatives for their collective support in the drought response operation.

Objectives, achievements, impact

Emergency relief (food and basic non-food items)

Operational Goal: to improve the food security of 8,300 households through the provision of food as an economic transfer thereby preventing the sale of assets and distress migration of the population.

Objective: 8,300 drought affected families have received a food ration for four-and-a-half months.


After a series of consultations among the national society, Federation and the state branch, the revised beneficiary list for 8,300 families (five people per family) was developed for families in the five districts of Nagaur, Jodhpur, Pali, Barmer and Jaisalmer. Each food basket has provided a month's ration and consisted of 20 kilograms of bajra (millet), five kilograms of pulses, and two litres of oil. The procurement process was initiated in August, relief materials arrived by 15 September and the distribution was completed by 28 October. Details of the distribution are outlined in the following table;

The two objectives outlined in the original appeal under "Advocacy and Humanitarian Values" were dispensed with in light of the funding situation.

With the operation's activities having come to an end, there remains an outstanding balance of CHF18, 665. The Federation wishes to apply these funds towards IRCS disaster management activities for 2004 and will be contacting the donors for their further approval

No. families
Distribution time
16/10/03 -- 25/10/03
Sanker (Pokaran)
15/10/03 -- 23/10/03

16/10/03 -- 17/10/03

18/10/03 -- 25/10/03
Barmer city
14/10/03 -- 23/10/03
Barla Bosoni

A five-strong team was responsible to oversee the distribution, while each distribution point was supervised by five volunteers. The team consisted of:

  • Two from district branch.
  • One from state branch.
  • One Federation field officer.
  • One representative from IRCS national headquarters
  • The Federation relief delegate visited Rajasthan during the food distribution. The beneficiary list was based on following selection criteria:
  • People below the poverty line.
  • Direct and indirect dependency on agriculture
  • Do not meet the criteria for the government food for work programme.

In order to carry out distribution in a smooth manner all district branches were required to plan their arrangements and present a detailed logistic plan. A summary of the distribution is outlined in the following table:

District Families Quantity

Pali 1,400 28 MT bajra, 7 MT pulses, 2800 litres oil Nagaur 1,400 28 MT bajra, 7 MT pulses, 2800 litres oil Jaisalmer 2,000 40 MT bajra, 10 MT pulses, 3000 litres oil Barmer 1,500 30 MT bajra, 7.5 MT pulses, 3000 litres oil Jodhpur 2,000 40 MT bajra, 10 MT pulses, 4000 litres oil

Total 8,300 166 MT bajra, 41.5 MT pulses and 16,600 litres oil

A memorandum of understanding was signed by the Federation and the IRCS for the drought relief operation.

Capacity Building

Objective: The disaster response capacity of the Rajasthan state Red Cross branch in five drought-affected districts is improved over a period of six months.

Progress/Achievements: Indian Red Cross field workers were oriented on relief distribution and management in the first week of September. There were five sessions, one for each district, covering 20 to 25 volunteers each.

National society capacity building

The IRCS is focused on developing its disaster preparedness and management, organisational training and development and administrative structures. With more than 650 branches and over 12 million members, it is one of the largest organisations in the country. The society has experience in major earthquakes and emergency rehabilitation because of a high incidence of disasters.

Improved structures and systems established in headquarters provide necessary guidance and technical support to state branches in designing, implementing and monitoring the relief operation and running mobile medical units. The capacity at the district branch level varies with some active branches with strong volunteer networks while others need greater support from headquarters and state branches.

Assessment and lessons learned

Monitoring the effectiveness of the programme in meeting the needs of different groups within the affected population by national headquarters and Federation was undertaken through an impact assessment exercise by the disaster management delegate, information and reporting officer and assistant director relief (IRCS). The impact assessment team visited Jaipur, Jodhpur, Pali and Jaisalmer. Discussions were held in Jodhpur with the branch secretaries of the remaining targeted districts of Barmer and Nagaur along with the chairman of the Rajasthan state branch. The view of the branches was that aid provided by the Red Cross, while delayed, was valued by the beneficiaries as all government-run drought aid programmes and other NGOs had wrapped up operations by July 2003 because of the onset of monsoons in Rajasthan. The need for continued aid existed because while the drought had broken, there would be a shortage of work and food until the harvest season.

The impact assessment exercise produced the following conclusions which will be taken into consideration in future interventions:

  • Timely intervention - not to take too long in the planning phase and deciding on issues and quickly establishing clear guidelines for effective disaster response.
  • The aid provided for 30 days was viable given the circumstances but, in future similar interventions, rations should be provided for at least three months.
  • The health component should be an integral part of any emergency operation.
  • The overall image of the Red Cross in Rajasthan was considerably improved during the operation. The public profile of the IRCS was boosted due to high visibility of its efforts in helping beneficiaries by mobilising local, national and international resources.
  • The government recognised efforts of the Rajasthan state branch in helping the vulnerable population.
  • The Rajasthan district branches have requested the Federation to mobilise resources for taking up water harvesting and health projects in the state.

For further information please contact:

  • Indian Red Cross Society, Secretary General, Dr Vimala Ramalingam, email, phone +91 11 23716424, fax 011 23717454
  • Azmat Ulla, Head of Delegation, Indian Delegation, email, phone +91 11 23324203, fax +91 11 2332 4203
  • Bob McKerrow, Head of Regional Delegation, email , phone +91 11 26858671

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. The procurement for this operation was carried out in full compliance and conformity with the Federation's standard for international and local procurement.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at

This operation sought to administer to the immediate requirements of the victims of this disaster. Subsequent operations to promote sustainable development or long-term capacity building will require additional support, and these programmes are outlined on the Federation's website.

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