India

India: Floods 2001 Appeal No. 21/01 Final report

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Appeal
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Launched on: 25 July 2001 for three months for CHF 1,220,225
Beneficiaries: 156,000

"At a glance"

Appeal coverage: Covered
Related Appeals South Asia regional programmes (01.24/2002)
The Disaster/Situation: The Indian Red Cross Society with support front the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was able to meet the needs of communities affected by severe flooding in Orissa, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. The Floods 2001 Operation commenced in July 2001 in Orissa State. The Operation was completed during the second week of January 2002, following the final distribution of relief items by the Bihar State Branch.

Operational Developments:

Final distributions of relief items to flood affected families by Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) district branches in Bihar finished during the second half of January. With activities in Orissa having come to an end in October and, activities in Andhra Pradesh having concluded in November the IRCS with the support of the Federation has successfully met and in some instances surpassed the Operation's objectives set forth in the Request for Assistance; Appeal no. 20/01 issued on behalf of the IRCS by the Federation on 25 July 2001.

The request for assistance (Federation Appeal 21/2001) seeking CHF 1,220,225 in cash, kind and services to assist 156,000 beneficiaries (some 26,000 families) during India's anticipated monsoon season of three months. IRCS flood relief operations commenced during July in response to severe floods in Orissa, affecting close to 8.2 million people. The flooding, particularly in Orissa received a fair amount of coverage in the media.

The 25 July Request for Assistance stated three primary objectives for the IRCS/Federation Floods 2001 operation. The overall objectives were to;

1) deliver relief to 11,000 families in Banki block in the District of Cuttack and Birdi block in the district of Jagatsinghapur (in Orissa);

2) assess the current and future health risks in the most affected districts and respond to the needs; and,

3) replenish disaster preparedness stocks used in the initial relief distribution and provide additional contingency stocks for other flood affected states.

The remaining funds raised by the IRCS and the Federation in response to the 1999 Super Cyclone in Orissa; Appeal 28/1999 were reallocated to the 2001 Floods operation. In addition funding was generously provided by several National Societies.

By the close of August, it became apparent that due to the extensive flooding in Bihar, it would be appropriate to assist the Bihar State Branch with their relief activities, and when Andhra Pradesh was hit by a cyclonic storm in October, assistance was directed towards the State and district branches' activities.

Thus the India Floods 2001 operation was comprised of three phases;

  • Flooding in Orissa State (July-October 2001)
  • Flooding in Bihar State (August 2001-January 2002)
  • Cyclonic Storm in Andhra Pradesh (October-November 2001)
It was noted at both IRCS branch and National Headquarters (NHQ) level that the ability of the IRCS to respond to flood emergencies was improving. Lessons learnt during the operations over the past few years were being applied, and the ongoing branch development work in Orissa between the Orissa State Branch and sister National Societies was paying off with the IRCS local branches capable of quickly mobilising volunteers and developing good co-ordination with government authorities and local NGOs.

Red Cross Red Crescent action

The objectives set forth in the 25 July Request for Assistance were established for the Operation in Orissa State which was the largest as it contained both relief and health related activities. In addition while the Orissa State Branch worked closely with a Federation disaster response delegate and health delegates to meet the objectives described below the Spanish Red Cross was working at the same time with the Orissa State branch and the IRCS Orissa branch youth Red Cross volunteers to distribute ECHO funded relief items to16,675 beneficiaries in the Puri district of Orissa.

The activities in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar States were limited towards providing affected families with appropriate emergency relief materials and were managed by the State and district branches with support from the Federation and in consultation with the Federation's Regional disaster response delegate.

Relief distributions

Objective 1 (Orissa): To distribute emergency rations, BPS high-energy biscuits, to marooned and unassisted communities within the first two weeks of the operation (early August 2001).

The first two weeks of Red Cross distributions in July were managed independently by the Orissa State Branch of the Indian Red Cross Society in coordination with the IRCS National Headquarters.

On 13 July the Orissa State Branch provided 258 families living in the Puri district's Kanas block with plastic sheeting, high calorie biscuits, water purification tablets; clothing, candles and match boxes.

The next relief distribution took place in the western district of Kalhnadi on 16 July reaching 870 villages in 13 affected blocks. The state branch supplied 2,500 plastic sheets, 2,400 dhotis and sarees, 5,100 oral rehydration solution packets and 48,000 water purification tablets.

On 19 July the district Red Cross branch in Puri provided 500 tarpaulins, 600 dhotis, 600 sarees and 50 cartons of emergency rations. The following day, cooked mixed rice, bread, 200 gm of sugar, 100 gm salt, candles, match boxes, water purification tablets and five packages of oral rehydration salts were distributed to 1,000 families in Kantilo in Khandapar block of the Nayagarh district.

In addition, on 25 July the Spanish Red Cross supported the Orissa State Branch to provide 750 families with emergency relief packages.

The Indian Red Cross National Headquarters (NHQ) provided: 410 tents, five motor boats, 15 rubber boats, 330 rolls of plastic sheeting (8 x 485m), 5 rolls of plastic sheeting ((30.5 m x 7.32 m), 2,000 blankets, 500 towels, 12 metric tonnes of BP5 high energy biscuits (donated by the Danish Red Cross), 520 tarpaulins, and, 1,030 articles of clothing.

The IRCS with the assistance of the Federation transported 24,000 packages of emergency rations (donated by the Danish Red Cross) from the disaster preparedness warehouse in Gujarat for distribution to those people who were urgently awaiting assistance.

Objective 2: To provide II,000 families with relief packages.

The actual amount of funding allocated to the relief programme allowed for an increase in the number of families which could be covered. Therefore the original target of 11,000 families was increased to 14,000 families. Families were estimated to comprise of four or five people. The majority of the flood affected families selected for relief aid were living in rural villages and derived their income from farming paddy rice.

At the end of July the IRCS transferred funds to the Orissa State Branch to locally procure outstanding items for relief packages. Family packages contained: clothing, candles, matches, rice, dal, oil, salt, oral rehydration salts, soap and water purification tablets. Orissa State Branch volunteers delivered these packages to heavily flooded areas using boats, bullocks carts, four wheel drives and other available means.

The IRCS and the Federation developed a clear set of selection criteria and rationale for assisting flood affected areas/families. All items which could be procured in accordance with Sphere standards were done so in a transparent manner. A procurement committee was formed, comprising of representatives of IRCS-OSB, IRCS-NHQ and the Federation relief delegate. Items such as mosquito nets, not covered by Sphere, were matched in quality to mosquito nets purchased by the branch for prior operations.

The targeting procedure went through several steps:

1. IRCS/ Federation Decision to Target Bari Block, Jajpur District

Initial relief distributions from local NGOs and international aid agencies operating in Orissa took place in Jagatsinghpur district's Birdi block and the Banki block in the Cuttack district. These areas are relatively close to Orissa's capital Bhubaneswar and road access was still available.

The IRCS, the Federation, and the Spanish Red Cross had proposed to distribute relief in these areas as well. Block coordination meetings for Birdi and Banki, however, held during the first week of August,revealed that there were extensive overlaps between the Red Cross, Concern, CRS, LWS and a number of local NGOs. In addition, it became clear during the meetings that these other agencies had a different, and more extensive relief package to distribute, and longer term rehabilitation plans for those Blocks. It was also thought by the IRCS, the Federation and the Spanish Red Cross that the needs in other areas were greater. Outlying areas requiring longer travel time and requiring travelling over flooded roads were not receiving aid because they were difficult to address logistically.

An emergency meeting was held between IRCS (OSB) and the Federation in Bhubaneswar, to discuss the coordination issues, and the possibility of changing the location of the project. It was felt by all parties that the needs in Bari Block, Jajpur District, were greater than those in blocks in other districts. Bari Block is surrounded by two rivers. The two rivers overflowed so that the entire block was completely covered with water. Access to the area by road vehicles was impossible and the area could only be reached by boat. Extensive damage to houses and farmland made access to the area impossible. The capacity of the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement to respond to the situation in Jajpur district was better than most NGOs, and the proposed relief and health projects were equally, if not more, appropriate to the Bari block, compared to the Banki and Biridi.

It was therefore decided by IRCS (OSB) and the Federation, that the Red Cross should relocate its efforts by working only in Jajpur District, eliminating any previous duplication, allowing other NGOs to be fully effective in Biridi and Banki Blocks, and addressing more acute humanitarian needs in Jajpur District. As before, the relief and health projects were implemented in the same areas, to make efficient use of logistical and personnel capacity.

Meetings were held with Concern, CRS, LWS and local NGOs, to explain the Red Cross decision. The IRCS OSB-Honorary Secretary attended the Saturday evening Orissa State Disaster Management Association (OSDMA) meeting and presented a letter to further explain the position of the Red Cross, and to urge any other NGO intending to work in Jajpur to coordinate directly with the Red Cross in Bhubaneswar. Telephone calls were made to the Jajpur District Collector, the Bari Block Development Office (BDO), and the Youth Red Cross Coordinators in Jajpur, to announce the decision, and to begin to gather Block information.

2. Targeting of Bari Block (Jajpur district) was based on;

  • Flood Damage.
  • Absence of other international and local NGOs.
  • IRCS volunteer capacity.
3. Targeting of Gram Panchayats (clusters of villages) within Bari Block was based on;
  • Location; in between the two flooding rivers, low lying areas.
  • Flooding damage to houses, public buildings, farmland.
  • Size of caseload; maximum 14,000 families.
4. Targeting villages within Gram Panchayats (GPs).
  • All villages within selected GPs wee affected and therefore targeted.
5. Targeting families within villages.
  • All families in villages wee affected and therefore targeted.
  • Distribution lists from BDO in Bari.
  • IRCS distribution cards were given prior to distribution.
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