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Asia: Earthquake and Tsunamis - Appeal No. 28/2004 Operations Update No. 32 - East Africa Region


In Brief

Revised Preliminary Appeal No. 28/2004; Operations Update no. 32; Period covered: 22-31 January 2005; Appeal coverage: 101.4%

Appeal history:

- Preliminary appeal launched on 26 December 2004 CHF 7,517,000 (USD 6,658,712 or EUR 4,852,932) for 6 months to assist 500,000 beneficiaries.

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 1,000,000.

- Revised Preliminary Appeal issued on 30 December 2004, for CHF 67,005,000 (USD 59,152,246 or EUR 53,439,988) for 2 million beneficiaries for 6-8 months.

- The Preliminary Appeal was originally launched titled "Bay of Bengal: Earthquake and Tsunamis". The title was subsequently changed to "Asia: Earthquake and Tsunamis" in the Revised Preliminary Appeal launched on 29 December 2004.

- Operations update No. 16 revised the Revised Preliminary Appeal 28/2004 budget to CHF 183,486,000 (USD 155,286,000 or EUR 118,669,000) with programme extensions for particularly Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Maldives and East Africa.

Highlights of the Day:

- This Operations Update focuses on resource mobilization in Africa for tsunami-affected persons globally.

- Relationships have been cultivated with the corporate sector throughout the continent.

- An update is provided on the work of national societies and the Federation in Somalia (while waiting for the completion of a Somali Red Crescent/Federation operations review mission) and in the Seychelles.


The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck the area off the western coast of northern Sumatra on Sunday morning, 26 December 2004, at 7:59 am local time (00:59 GMT) triggered massive tidal waves, or tsunamis, that inundated coastal areas in countries all around the Indian Ocean rim - from Indonesia to Somalia. Sri Lanka, the Indonesian province of Aceh, four states of southern India, the Maldives, and coastal areas of Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar were the most severely affected. The earthquake epicentre was located at 3.30 N, 95.78E at a depth of 10 kilometres. The area is historically prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the margins of tectonic plates. However, tidal waves of this magnitude are rare and therefore the level of preparedness was very low.

Thousands of staff, relief and medical personnel, and volunteers of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies of the tsunami-affected countries have provided a vital initial response, in search and rescue, clean-up, providing temporary shelter and immediate relief assistance, emergency medical services, psychological first aid and tracing. It is estimated that over 5,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and 76 relief and medical teams have been mobilized in the disaster-affected areas.

The Federation immediately launched a Preliminary Emergency Appeal on the day of the disaster with a focus on Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives. On 3 January 2005, the ICRC launched budget extensions additional to its 2005 Emergency Appeal for Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Along with initial support from the country and regional delegations, the Federation deployed within 24-72 hours three Field Assessment and Coordination Teams (FACT) and 18 Emergency Response Units (ERU) in the sectors of water and sanitation, health care, aid distribution, telecommunications, and logistics/transportation to Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives.

A total of 102 relief flights have now arrived in the various affected countries and a further 23 flights are in the Federation relief pipeline, making a total of 125 relief flights coordinated through the Federation.

The Federation and the ICRC in Geneva are currently working on an organizational framework for Movement coordination in the tsunami operations. A note has been sent out to national societies and delegations on this today, for consultation. It is expected that the framework, which will set in place strong platforms for coordination, will be finalized shortly, and a final note will be then sent out by the Federation and the ICRC.

East Africa

Focus on African resource mobilization, relationship with the corporate sector and external relations

The tsunami disaster has generated a new dynamic across the African continent. Some of the world's largest recipients of aid in African countries and their Red Cross Red Crescent national societies have, according to their means, joined the international donors' community together with wealthier nations.

All in all, 15 national societies launched emergency appeals or initiated fundraising initiatives. The amounts raised are less important in the African context although the total amount received CHF 2,908,840 (US$ 2,447,877) - with the lion's share going to the South African Red Cross - in less than a month from public and corporate sector is quite impressive. The current wave of African solidarity with people from other parts of the world dismisses the misconception that the continent lacks resources.

The partnerships established between Red Cross societies and private businesses during the tsunami emergency set up a new path for future relations with an impact on the organization's income for long-term activities and general sustainability. African national societies are also aware of their responsibilities to upgrade not only their financial management systems but also to become more transparent and accountable. These are not new commitments; they were reaffirmed during the 2004 Pan African Red Cross Red Crescent Conference in Algiers and are also to be found carved into the Ouagadougou declaration. It only means that the pressure to perform has increased.

The media has been a key factor in the success of the fundraising activities. Entire TV programmes were dedicated to covering the Red Cross Red Crescent response during the emergency. In an unusual and absolutely new development, African national society leaders - used to speaking mainly about their national programmes - have suddenly become spokespersons of the International Federation giving interviews on activities conducted by sister Red Cross societies, thousands of kilometres away in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand or India. The impact was immediate with people donating generously. Being on the spotlight increased the expectations on national societies' performance at home. There are more expectations from the East African Regional Communications Forum, an advocacy, communications and external relations platform, to develop the skills of its members and replicate those at the national levels.

There has been a clear increase in the number of humanitarian diplomatic relationships forged as both national societies and regional delegations of the Federation being approached by embassies for information and for providing donations in favour of tsunami victims on the East African coast. Federation representatives were regularly called to support national societies in preparation of - as well as during the launch of - emergency appeals. The need to strengthen the Federation's regional external relations structures became obvious and work has already started in this direction as well.

While focusing on disaster management, short-term rehabilitation and long-term recovery, the recently adopted Nairobi Initiative and the soon-to-be completed East Africa Tsunami Plan of Action are taking into account all of the above details.

It is important to underline the overall coordinated approach by African Red Cross Red Crescent societies in relation to their fundraising activities. All these actions were aimed at supplementing the global Federation tsunami appeal and contributed to creating an image of strength, unity and coherence in the eyes of the general public.

In East Africa, the fundraising initiative was given by the Seychelles Red Cross Society. Although directly affected by the tidal waves, with its office inundated, the national society launched a national and international appeal as it was conducting emergency operations. Part of the funds raised, more than US$ 9,000, were used to assist some of the 500 affected households while the rest was aimed for supporting the Sri Lankan tsunami victims. A meeting was held by the national society's leadership to consider the assistance strategy and to coordinate with new donors, including German and Spanish Red Cross Societies, in light of the existing support from the Federation and for Rapid Intervention in the Indian Ocean (PIROI).

In Kenya, early warning and disaster preparedness measures taken by authorities and the Red Cross prevented the death of many. Only two deaths were recorded in the coastal resort of Malindi and no deaths or injuries were noted on the busy tourist area of Mombasa. It was a wave of calls from the public that encouraged Kenya Red Cross Society to launch an emergency appeal in the presence of diplomatic representatives from the affected countries, the ICRC and the Federation. The national society has so far contributed nearly US$10,000 from a whole range of private businesses and general public. One anecdotal detail is important to underline in order to describe people's attitude and desire to assist; that of a Kenyan calling the Red Cross and asking if giving KES 100 (US$ 1.5) would help. People across Africa did donate, within their means for doing so.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Kenya: Anitta Underlin, Federation Head of Eastern Africa Regional Delegation, Nairobi; email:; Phone:; Fax

Steve Penny, Federation Eastern Africa Regional Disaster Management Coordinator, Nairobi; email:; Phone: +; Fax: +

In Geneva: Josse Gillijns, Regional Officer for Eastern Africa, Africa Dept.; email:; Phone: +41.22.730.42.24; Fax: +41.22.733.03.95

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 in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full d escription of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at

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