Mongolia

Mongolia: Dzud Appeal No. 02/03 Operations Update No. 1

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Appeal No. 02/03; Launched on 17 January, 2003 for CHF 3,906,000 for 10 months for 115,000 beneficiaries
Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) Allocated: CHF 300,000

Beneficiaries: 115,000 people

Period covered: 17 January - 16 February, 2003

At a Glance

Appeal coverage: 21.5%

Related Appeals: 2003 East Asia annual regional programmes (01.69/2003) Outstanding needs: CHF 3,065,179

Summary: Early donor support has been good but more backing from partners is required to sustain the impact of operations on the lives of families in need.

Operational Developments

The overall aim of this operation is to contribute to the Dzud survival and recovery of 115,000 men, women and children in seventeen Aimags of Mongolia through the provision of wheat flour, children's jackets and trousers, and boots for adults. It is also to revitalise Red Cross local branches in seventeen Soums and three Aimags directly involved in the distribution of this emergency relief.

The recent combined Review/Assessment (November 2002) of the MRCS/International Federation cooperation program, involved, inter alia, evaluating the effectiveness of the previous two dzud emergency response operations. One of the main findings of the Review was that the previous emergency appeals had been launched too late (ie end of February) and that this had resulted in the late distribution of relief goods to affected households. The earlier launch of this year's appeal has allowed the Red Cross to commence distributions sooner.

During the second week of January 2003, the National Society, with support from Federation personnel, on loan from Beijing and Pyonyang Delegations started logistical procedures for the procurement and transport of 1000 metric tonnes (MT) of second grade wheat flour utilising funds allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund, otherwise known as DREF. The DREF allocation of 300,000 CHF was extremely valuable as it allowed the International Federation and Mongolian Red Cross to initiate the operation without waiting for traditional donor contributions which take several days, sometimes weeks, to materialise. The DREF funds have been essential in allowing the Red Cross to distribute food to affected herder families in the three worst affected Aimags.

The short term relief personnel from Beijing and Pyonyang were replaced in early February by the deployment of a Logistics and Relief Delegate dedicated to the whole operational period. A Field Delegate will not be mobilised for the time being, but despite this, it is hoped that the programme will be largely achievable. Plainly it is funding that will determine the extent and the time frame in which this extensive operation can be implemented.

At present 793,121 CHF has been received in hard pledges. This represents a coverage of 21.5 percent. With soft pledges the coverage increases to 36 percent. We are still waiting for the response of several donors. The ECHO representative is currently in the field with Mongolia Red Cross staff and the Head of the Federation Delegation. It is unknown at this stage whether ECHO will make a contribution. It is hoped that contributions will eventually gather pace so that the timeliness/ effectiveness gains are not lost due to lack of funds. Depending on the funding situation, some of the originally planned inputs/outputs may need to be revised.

The primary concern of several donors is that Mongolia is facing a structural crisis and that longer term prevention initiatives would be more appropriate. While the International Federation is cognisant of the need to move away from relief responses, it also believes that it must respond to the immediate needs of those sectors of the population affected by the dzud. Some donors have stated that they are waiting to see if the Government of Mongolia declares a "State of emergency" and if the Government launches an international appeal for assistance.

An interagency co-ordination meeting initiated by the MRCS on 27 February was well attended. Those present at the meeting included representatives from the UN, the Diplomatic Corps, local NGO, international NGOs, and the Red Cross. Being the first of such meeting, it is hoped that these meetings will enable agencies to better coordinate short term and longer term responses.

The Mongolia Red Cross is in the process of identifying soums and bags 1 which will receive wheat flour under plan of action 2.

Footnote:

1 Aimag is the equivalent to a Province, a soum equivalent to a district, and a Bag is the equivalent of a smaller area within a district but can also be a small group of dwellings.

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