As the large-scale relief programme came to an end in late 2008, the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) has transitioned into the recovery phase of programming for cyclone Nargis. MRCS remains committed to ensuring its activities in other parts of the country resume while benefitting from the technical expertise available in-country through the Nargis support. Commitments and plans of action, outside of the Nargis operations, were reviewed taking into account MRCS existing capacities apart from its work in the Ayeyarwady delta area. The MRCS hosted the Nargis Cyclone partnership meeting in Yangon in mid-February, which was well received by the attending 17 partner national societies, and enabled MRCS to have not only direct dialogue on current and future plans and activities, primarily in the delta but also a representation of ongoing work in other parts of the country. MRCS has made headway in some programme commitments, partly brought about through a degree of increased momentum and capacity through the Nargis response operation.
Approaching mid-year, a focus of MRCS to deliver on the Nargis recovery operation remains. In the latter months, the MRCS/International Federation Nargis operations have been faced with emerging challenges (detailed in Nargis monthly situation reports and quarterly operations updates) which continue to require the dedicated attention of MRCS governance and management. Nevertheless, activities in other areas of the country have continued as MRCS continues to surmount the challenge of programme delivery.
MRCS made headway during the start of 2009 with a revised plan of action for response preparedness measures and community-based risk reduction programming A completed disaster management review supported MRCS in outlining key priorities for capacity development over a five-year period. MRCS will hold a contingency planning workshop in July to finalize the process started during 2007 and has in addition been part of inter-agency standing committee (IASC) planning for a country-wide contingency plan.
Health and care:
There have been many health and care initiatives facilitated at the start of the year which will benefit MRCS's ongoing programme development and national society profile. As previously identified, the following three key
areas will continue to be the focus in an eventual revision of the MRCS health strategy later in 2009: public health in emergencies, community-based health promotion, and first aid and safety. A technical working group for the newly revised community-based health and first aid (CBHFA) has been formed by MRCS, which includes Movement partners, with the objective of working to identify a common programmatic approach. Learning generated from activities in the Nargis-affected area will feed into this. Discussions are underway with the Global Fund for support and collaboration in work on tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.
Main achievements in this period include the completion of the branch review (incorporating assessments of capacities in the delta), internal MRCS meetings which have led to an outlined plan of action for collaborative discussions on the Seville Agreement and a plan for an MRCS legal base review, later in the year, initial activities to improve human resource management and the launch of the MRCS volunteer insurance and creation of a volunteer database management system.
Financial situation: The total 2009 budget has been revised from CHF 1,446,213 (USD 1.33 million or EUR 948,500) to CHF 1,700,374 (USD 1.57 million or EUR 1.12 million). Coverage is 111 per cent while expenditure from January to May 2009 is 32 per cent of the total 2009 budget.
Our partners: The Myanmar Red Cross continues to benefit from multilateral and bilateral partnerships. The overwhelming response and continued commitment for MRCS support was demonstrated through the Nargis operation, and the interest and participation of 17 partner national societies during the Nargis Cyclone partnership meeting in mid-February 2009. The meeting was well-received, based on feedback from partners and support pledged towards the Nargis operations and longer-term programmes of MRCS. A number of partnerships have been fostered through the Nargis response. Cooperation with the ICRC was maintained in the area of restoring family links in the delta region until March 2009, and support was provided for water and sanitation activities, initial planning of the livelihoods programme, first aid, and dead body management.
Contributors to this appeal include Australian Red Cross/Australian government, Austrian Red Cross, British Red Cross, Finnish Red Cross/Finnish government, French Red Cross, German Red Cross, Irish Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross, New Zealand Red Cross and Swedish Red Cross. Also contributing to the work of the national society on a bilateral basis are the Danish Red Cross and the French Red Cross.
For the Myanmar Red Cross country-wide commitments, the national society continues to benefit from longer term in-country partner national societies: Danish Red Cross supporting community health projects and the French Red Cross supporting disaster risk reduction and recovery operations. MRCS has agreed a bilateral partnership with the Australian Red Cross, a long-term partner of MRCS, initially in the area of restoring family links. Following the partnership meeting, the Austrian Red Cross have demonstrated interest in an eventual long-term partnership supporting capacity building in the area of water and sanitation. MRCS continues to maintain important partnerships with UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR, Burnet Institute and maintains a relation with the ministry of health and the ministry of social welfare and resettlement.
On behalf of Myanmar Red Cross, the International Federation would like to thank all partners and contributors for their response to this appeal.