India: Drought Appeal No. 16/2003 Operations Update No. 2

Appeal No. 16/2003;
Appeal launched on 20 June 2003 for CHF 1,292,000(U SD 972,835 or EUR 833,259) for 6 months for 75,000 beneficiaries (15,000 families); given the lo w donor response to date, the operational budget is being revised to CHF 174,000,a nd the operational time-frame shortened.

Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 100,000 Period covered: 19 July - 28 August 2003

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In Brief

Appeal coverage: 2%
Outstanding needs: CHF 1,264,917
Related Appeals: 2003 India Annual Appeal no. 01.54/2003)

Operational Summary: Due to the lack of funding the operation has been revised extensively with a scaled-down budget, adjusted objectives, and reduced activities. Despite the severe financial restrictions due to the low response to the appeal, the India Red Cross Society and the Federation's delegation in India continue to make an effort to deliver the critical assistance to the intended beneficiaries in Rajasthan.

The operational timeframe has been reduced to four months, with the number of targeted beneficiaries cut from 75,000 to 41,5001. There will now be a one-off food distribution as opposed to the three originally planned. This distribution is expected to be completed by the end of October.

In order to make the most of the limited resources, there has been a re-prioritization of operational needs and the goals relating to Advocacy and Humanitarian Values have been reduced, and the overall operational budget has been revised down to CHF 174,000 (until such time as more funds are available). If additional funding is received within the next few weeks the number of beneficiaries can be increased. Donors, therefore, are urged to respond to the appeal to provide urgently needed food assistance to the estimated 75,000 people affected by the drought in Rajasthan.

Operational developments

Since the launch of thisa ppeal, the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) and the Federation haves truggled to get the drought operation off the ground due to a virtual 'dry funding' situation. Constant follow-upcon tacts with donors at the national and international level have yielded just 2 percent of the appealed amount. However, the national society is determined to continue to carry out th e operati on, with the support of the Federation's India Delegation.

The appeal was launched on theb asis of a wide range of monitoring in formation, establishing that there is a very real humanitarian need in the drought-ravaged state. A joint IRCS/Federation team conducted a drought assessment in November 2002, and a follow-up assessment was done i n July this year, confirming the drought crisis was continuing.

The original appeal was aimed at assisting 15,500 families i n the five most drought-affected districts with three food distributions, providing sustenance for one-and-a-half months. As outlined in the previous Operations Update, this has been scaled down to a one-off distribution for 8,300 families, providing sustenance for 30 days. The distribution process will be completed by mid-October,with the operation to finish at the end of that month. In the previous Operations Update it was stated the scaled-down operation was due to finish at the end of September. However this period needst o be extended due to the slow response of donors causingde lays in funds being received.

The scaling-back of operations is a reflection of the general lack of 'visibility' of slow onset disasters such as drought. Funds trickled in and despite two months of talks with donors, just a small fraction of the appealed amount has been raised. The IRCS, with the support of the India Delegation, has tried to provide solutions with the available funding. This has been achieved by re-prioritising operational needs and optimising the utilisation of available resources.

Once 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 has been revised and the affected districts consulted.

The reduced funding scenario has meant th at the operation has been forced to take a new viewpoint and essentially means a redraft of the original appeal. It has 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' have been dispensed with in light of the funding situation. There was little likelihood of these objectives being achieved under the reduced budget and it was decided to focus on emergency relief and capacity building.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action - objectives, progress, 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 households have received a food ration for one month.

Progress/Achievements (activities implemented within this objective)

Following a series of meetings and analysing the present funding situation, the revised beneficiary figureof 8,300 families (5 people per family) was derived. Th e families are in the five districts of Nagaur, Jodhpur, Pali, Barmer and Jaisalmer. Each food basket is intended to provide a month's ration, andwi ll consist of 20 kilogramsof bajra (millet), 5 kilogramsof pulses and 2 litres of oil. The procurement process has been initiated and th e materials are expected to arrive in late September, with distribution to be completed by 15 October. The operation is intended to end by 31 October

During the reporting period requests for quotations (RFQs) were issued to seven government-approved vendors for the procurement of food items for the beneficiaries, with four responding. A special Purchase Committee meeting was held on 8 August. The committees' recommendations were accepted by the IRCS and orders were placed with two selected vendors.

The Committee recommended purchasing 166,000 kg of bajra (millet) from the National Cooperation Consumers Federation (NCCF) at Rs 7.15 per kg (price inclusive of packaging and delivery). The vendor will pack the Bajra in 20 kg high-density polyethylene bags with the IRCS logo. The NCCF also provided the lowest quote for pulses and will supply 41,500 kg at Rs 27.70 kg (price inclusive of packaging and delivery). The Committee also recommended purchasing 16,600 litres of oil at the rate of Rs 55.77 per litre from the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).

The supply time for these vendors is 20 days and the distribution is expected to start in late September. Before distribution, the Federation's relief delegate, fie ld officer and the IRCS assistant director of relief (national headquarters)w ill visit Rajasthan state and district branches in order to analyze the beneficiary distribution list and identify the distribution center. The visit will take place in the first half of September.

A nodal team of five will oversee the distribution while five volunteers will staff each distribution point. The nodal team will bem ade up of:

  • 2 from the district branch.
  • 1 from the state branch.
  • 1 Federation field officer.
  • 1 representative from the IRCS headquarters.

The Federation field officer and Indian Red Cross representative will reside in Rajasthan during the distribution period while the Federation relief delegate will also visit on an ad hoc basis.

During the reporting period the state branch has finalized the beneficiary list based on the 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.

The district branches have been asked to submit a detail ed logistic plan in order to plan their arrangements and thus carry out the distribution in a smooth manner. The relief assistance is outlined in the table below:
No. of families
Quantity of relief material (MT -metric tones)
28 MT bajra2, 7 MT pulses, 2800 litres oil
28 MT bajra, 7 MT pulses, 2800 litres oil
40 MT bajra, 10 MT pulses, 3000 litres oil
30 MT bajra, 7.5 MT pulses, 3000 litres oil
40 MT bajra, 10 MT pulses, 4000 litres oil
166 MT bajra, 41.5 MT pulses and 16600 litres oil

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the Federation and the Indian Red Cross for carrying out 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: The Indian Red Cross conducted an orientation of IRCS field workers on relief distribution and management in the first week of September. This consistedo f five sessions, one for each district covering 20 to 25 volunteers in each session.

Impact: The training will enhance the skills of IRCS field workers in relief distribution and camp management.

Federation Coordination: The Federation's relief delegate along with the IRCS counterpart will coordinate the orientation of IRCS field workers in Rajasthan.

For further information please contact:

  • Indian Red Cross Society in New Delhi; Dr. Vimala Ramalingam, Secretary General. Phone:+ 91 11 2332 4203; fax + 91 11 2332 4235, e-mail
  • Federation Delegation in Delhi; Azmat Ulla, Head of Delegation. Phone:+ 91 11 2332 4213, fax: +91 11 2332 4235; e-mail:
  • Federation Geneva; Tatjana Tosic. Phone: +41 22 730 4429; Fax: +41 22 733 0395; e-mail:

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

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

Annex 1

India - drought
APPEAL No. 16/2003


1 Stated in error as 49,800 in Operations Update 01

2 In the previous Operations Updateit was st ated that it would be preferable to provide the beneficiaries in Pali with wheat rather than millet due to local dietary habits. However this will not be possible as the quoted prices for wheat were too high and there was difficulty finding a supplier who could provide both wheat and millet.