This report covers the period of 1 May through 30 September 2008, but reports cumulative totals from December 2004 onwards.
In a world of global challenges, continued poverty, inequity, and increasing vulnerability to disasters and disease, the International Federation with its global network, works to accomplish its Global Agenda, partnering with local community and civil society to prevent and alleviate human suffering from disasters, diseases and public health emergencies.
The tsunami recovery programme in India is being implemented by the Indian Red Cross Society - with support from the International Federation, American Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross and Spanish Red Cross - at the national and state levels, primarily Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
The overall programme is progressing well, with major expenditures still being taken up by the Indian Red Cross Society. During this reporting period, the International Federation gave a purchase order for the procurement of 12,000 tents to the identified supplier. An inspection of tents was carried out by an external agency on behalf of the Secretariat and a laboratory testing of the tent material was conducted.
The Canadian Red Cross is making progress in the area of community involvement and ownership, while the Indian Red Cross Society's own health and disaster management projects continue to show good progress and community participation. In the last six months, the American Red Cross has implemented its programme with a strong community involvement and commitment to ensure sustainability. The Spanish Red Cross made good progress with its livelihoods projects in Andhra Pradesh.
During the reporting period, India witnessed a number of security incidents. A series of bomb blasts rocked major cities of the country, including the capital Delhi, killing over 150 people and injuring over 500 people in total. Low-level disturbances of 'communal' violence and the simmering Naxalite insurgency were also seen in some parts of the country. On the economic front, the country was affected by the global turbulence in food and fuel costs which led to a significant spike in inflation, as well as fluctuations in the stock market and impact on the Indian Rupee caused by the global financial crisis, even though the economic fundamentals in India are sound and ties to the sub-prime meltdown are minimal.
This socio-political environment did not cause any major concern in the Indian Red Cross Society's tsunami programme areas and the increasing rate of inflation had a minor impact on the final stages of the tsunami recovery construction projects as these projects were already well advanced. Though the programme proceeded as planned, implementation of some activities were hampered during this period by environmental factors such as the massive monsoon floods that hit about 19 states of the country, killing approximately 2,744 people and affecting over 10 million people.
The Indian Red Cross Society continued work on its tsunami programme, with support from the American, Canadian and Spanish Red Cross Societies. The American Red Cross has been supporting the national society in implementing its tsunami-integrated recovery programme to serve the needs of the tsunami-affected population in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu state, along with a disaster management programme aimed at improving disaster management and response capabilities of both the Indian Red Cross Society national headquarters and the its Andhra Pradesh state branch. The project activities were initiated in January 2008 and will continue until December 2009.
The American Red Cross has one delegate in country and 18 national staff. There are also 42 Indian Red Cross Society staff members contracted as part of the programme implementation team. The American Red Cross personnel are supporting the capacity building of Indian Red Cross Society teams to conduct participatory community and school-based activities through the social mobilization process. This programme supports approximately 443,863 people in 75,000 households of 40 communities and also includes approximately 12,749 school students in 53 schools. The project is focused on empowering communities and schools which have been directly or indirectly affected by the tsunami. Furthermore, the project's multiple components facilitate the promotion of healthier and safer living. The impact of disasters enforced the need for a holistic approach in health and psychological interventions.
The reporting period saw the realization of several planned activities of the Canadian Red Cross, such as trainings and curriculum development, facilitated by regular reviewing of action plans, continued communication with the Indian Red Cross Society in Tamil Nadu and the incorporation of changes needed during the course of programme implementation.
The Spanish Red Cross is supporting the Indian Red Cross Society livelihood projects in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The implementation of the tsunami livelihood project in Andhra Pradesh began in December 2007 while in Tamil Nadu it started in July 2008. The projects aim to create an enabling environment for improvement of livelihoods of targeted tsunami-affected communities through the provision of basic infrastructure and equipment, especially for vulnerable fisherwomen in these communities, and were formulated with active technical inputs from the fisheries department. All activities were verified and modified according to the changing needs of the communities. In addition, two more livelihood projects are also in the pipeline in the districts of Prakasham and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.