India: Floods Emergency Appeal No. 16/2004 Final Report


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In Brief

Request for assistance no. 16/04; Final Report; Period covered: 27 July 2004 to 30 October 2005; Final request for assistance coverage: 99.7%.

Request for assistance history:

- Launched on 27 July 2004 for CHF 2,982,000 (USD 2,352,706 or EUR 1,929,189) for ten months to assist 250,000 beneficiaries.

- Operations update 7 reduced the number of beneficiaries to 200,000 due to low donor response and delays in implementation which led to a change in the vulnerability of targeted beneficiaries.

-Operations Update 8 extended the operational period by three months to 31 August 2005.

- Operations update 9 revised the budget down to CHF 2,034,911 and extended the operation timeframe by another two months to 31 October 2005.

-Operations update 10 marked the closing of the operation, with remaining mitigation activities being transferred to the annual disaster management


-This Final Report replaces the Interim Final Report posted on 22 February 2006 as the reallocation of the remaining balance to the annual

programme is complete. Please refer to the attached Final Financial Report.

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: India Annual Appeal 05AA047, South Asia Regional Appeal 05AA051, Tsunami Emergency and Recovery Plan of Action 2005-2010

Background and Summary

The north-eastern Indian states of Assam and Bihar were severely affected by heavy flooding in June/July 2004 as a result of the monsoon. More than 30 million people were affected and infrastructure and crops suffered severe and significant damage. For details on affected districts in Assam and Bihar, please click here for the attached map.

As the disaster situation emerged there was coordination through all levels from district branches to state braches to national headquarters. The Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) was involved in coordination meetings in the affected areas held by government and non-government organisations. National disaster response team (NDRT) assessment reports were widely circulated both within the national society and to external actors to help ensure a coordinated response.

As the flood situation emerged in June 2004, local resources and volunteers were mobilized to provide food and basic shelter materials and health care. IRCS staff and volunteers also assisted local authorities with search and rescue operations. NDRT members participated in initial surveys in July and prepared preliminary disaster response situation reports which contributed to the design of the eventual request for assistance plan. Prior to the launch of the request for assistance, the IRCS national headquarters had already initiated the dispatch of 20,000 family packs (10,000 each to Assam and Bihar).Media were updated on IRCS activities via information collated at the national headquarters disaster management centres. Three information bulletins (one India-specific and two regional) were written and posted on the Federation website ( ).

On 27 July 2004, the IRCS and the Federation launched an international request for assistance, seeking to assist 250,000 beneficiaries with food and non-food relief items. The operation included a disaster mitigation component, aiming at improving local capacities to cope with this recurring disaster. In the course of the operation, the number of beneficiaries was revised to 200,000 people, due to re-assessed needs in Assam. This followed initial delays in the distribution of relief items because of inaccessibility to some areas in the state.

The emergency phase of the operation was completed in approximately five months (see operations update 8) assisting 37,350 families (approximately 186,750 people) with emergency relief (food and non -food items). In addition to assistance provided through this request for assistance, approximately 300,000 received some form of health care from various Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) district branches in the two states. Clean drinking water was provided by the IRCS to the affected population. One of the main achievements of this operation was that over 500 volunteers were trained in disaster response.

Exchange of disaster management coordinators and deployment of NDRT (national disaster response team) members to assist state branches during disasters in the affected areas for relief distribution, operation coordination and reporting were positive developments. On the medical front, the state branches were quite successful in mobilizing local resources to the extent that Bihar did not need any support from the IRCS national headquarters and Assam was able to support the local authorities in terms of medical needs.

The response covered all areas of flood relief - food, non-food, medical needs, and mitigation components including replenishment of disaster preparedness stocks. There were delays in implementation due to various internal and external reasons, but ultimately the objectives were achieved.

Conducting a participatory action learning study (PAL) with support from the British Red Cross and Finnish Red Cross was an excellent information-sharing initiative. A significant output of the study was increasing the awareness of the IRCS of its previous flood relief operations; areas of improvement in this operation and operational/planning aspects which need to be worked on. The study was widely shared by the national society with donors and other stakeholders.

One of the major constraints was the initial lack of adequate funding. This led to a decrease in the targeted number of beneficiaries. Secondly, the security situation in Assam deteriorated considerably leading to limited accessibility in affected areas of Assam. Another hindrance during the operation was a high turnover of senior staff in the national society which led to decision making and implementation delays including slow replenishment of disaster preparedness stock. The delays were exacerbated by the 2005 monsoon creating problems for progressing with construction activities due to poor ground conditions.

The planned mitigation activities (which had been revised from the original request for assistance - see operations update 9) were not able to be completed within the extended operational timeframe. A long transition period following the leadership change in the IRCS during the reporting period caused significant administrative delays in the transfer of funds from national headquarters to branches. The delays combined with the arrival of the annual monsoon season meant little progress was made.

The the remaining balance of CHF 234,882 has been successfully reallocated to the Federation-supported disaster management programme in India (please refer to attached final financial report). Progress on activities funded by the balance transfer will be reflected in the regular Federation's programme updates of India appeal 2006-2007.


The IRCS leadership is in regular contact with the affected state branches and shares necessary information with various partners, including the Federation. The disaster management department plays a crucial role in keeping the coordination mechanism functioning effectively by working closely with counterparts from the Federation. A task force, established by the IRCS and the Federation India Delegation, is coordinating operations with the state branches and other humanitarian organizations.

The IRCS and the Federation are active members of the Sphere India Initiative ( as managing body members. The IRCS state and district branches are actively participating in their respective coordinating forums.

Good coordination was initiated with the Indian government such as the health department, relief commissioners and deputy commissioners at various levels during the assessment and initial operational response. Daily situation reports were shared among partners initially and later the Federation reporting standards were met.

An inter-agency coordination forum has been established in Bihar state including representatives from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), CARE, Oxfam, Action-aid, and other local NGOs and the IRCS Bihar state branch.

A new initiative was launched during the operation called the participative action learning study which was undertaken by representatives from the Federation, IRCS national headquarters, the Federation regional delegation and a British Red Cross representative. The Finish Red Cross also supported the initiative technically. This study was documented and widely circulated among the Red Cross partners and presented a good picture of the national society. The study was completed in December 2004. It contains an assessment of the effectiveness of earlier disaster preparedness and mitigation programmes in the affected region. In addition, it provides a set of recommendations for the improvement of local capacities for effective response in disasters.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

Indian Red Cross Society: S. P. Agarwal (secretary-general); email:; Phone: +91.11.2371.6424; Fax: +91.11.2371.7454;

Federation country delegation in India: Jim Dawe (acting head of delegation); email:; Phone: +91.11.2332.4203; Fax: +91.11.2332.423

Federation regional delegation in India: Bob McKerrow (head of regional delegation); email:; Phone: +91.11.2411.1125

Federation Secretariat in Geneva: Jagan Chapagain (regional officer, Asia Pacific department);; Phone: +41.22.730.4316; Fax: +41.22.733.0395 or Nelly Khrabraya (regional officer, Asia Pacific department); email:; Phone: +41.22.730.4306; Fax: +41.22.733.0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.

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