South Asia: American Red Cross urges increased commitment to accountability in post-tsunami recovery
Washington, DC, June 22, 2007 - The American Red Cross hosted a meeting of key stakeholders to further the discussion of the benefits of impact assessment in recovery programming and to rejuvenate the momentum for the implementation of the Tsunami Recovery Impact Assessment and Monitoring System (TRIAMS).
Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, humanitarian organizations from around the world mobilized to provide assistance to hundreds of thousands of survivors. For the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the response to the tsunami became its largest ever relief operation, with some 25,000 employees and volunteers distributing relief items, providing shelter, clearing rubble and assisting the wounded.
As humanitarian organizations, like the American Red Cross, developed longer-term recovery programs, several international organizations joined together to launch TRIAMS. This framework is designed to assist humanitarian organizations, governments and beneficiaries in assessing and monitoring recovery plans to ensure that resources are directed to the areas that most need them.
"We recognize the great responsibility we have to effectively monitor progress in recovery and to ensure that our programs fit the needs of survivors," said Gerald Anderson, Senior Director of the Tsunami Recovery Program for the American Red Cross. "Full implementation of TRIAMS will give us a more complete picture of the progress and will enable us to improve our programs based on concrete analysis."
Over the past year, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the American Red Cross and UNDP, along with governments from the most-affected countries have partnered to facilitate the TRIAMS initiative.
At the meeting, Dr. Nevio Zagaria, recovery and transitions coordinator for WHO, shared recent data from tsunami-affected countries to demonstrate the importance of data collection and analysis for TRIAMS. The discussion also highlighted the importance of how TRIAMS can be used to identify people's risks and vulnerabilities during the recovery. Such systems can also be used to inform governments and non-governmental organizations to reduce the damage caused by future tsunamis and other disasters.
"If we do not collect and analyze data and reassess beneficiary needs we will continue to have resources in areas that do not need them," said Zagaria. "We must make an investment as an entire humanitarian community if we are going to learn from our mistakes and make a positive impact for the survivors of the tsunami."
Already, significant tools have been put in place by the humanitarian sector to reinforce quality and accountability practices following the tsunami. Moving into the second full year of TRIAMS, more work needs to be done for this framework to become fully operational and to provide decision-makers with useful information to inform recovery efforts. In doing so, humanitarian organizations will be better equipped to provide clear evidence that their resources are being used effectively to benefit recovering communities.
The American Red Cross has helped people mobilize to help their neighbors for 125 years. Last year, victims of a record 72,883 disasters, most of them fires, turned to the nearly 1 million volunteers and 35,000 employees of the Red Cross for help and hope. Through more than 800 locally supported chapters, more than 15 million people each year gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their homes, communities and world. Almost 4 million people give blood-the gift of life-through the Red Cross, making it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The Red Cross helps thousands of U.S. service members separated from their families by military duty stay connected. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global network of more than 180 national societies, the Red Cross helps restore hope and dignity to the world's most vulnerable people. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.