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Palestinian Red Crescent Society: Annual Appeal No. MAAPS001 Report 2006-2007

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This report covers the period of 01/01/2006 to 31/12/2006 of a two-year planning and appeal process.

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.

In brief

Programme Summary:

Due to an increase in bilateral funding received by the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in recent years, the Society decided in 2005 not to be part of the International Federation annual appeal structure for 2006-2007. Instead, PRCS relied on its many bilateral partners inside, as well as outside, the Red Cross and Red Crescent (RC/RC) Movement for programme and project funding. Therefore, appeal MAAPS001 was initially launched only to raise funds for the International Federation delegation in Ramallah to provide technical support in Organizational Development.

Following the international financial embargo on the newly elected Palestinian Government in May, monthly funding from the Palestinian Authority to PRCS was suspended and the Society was suddenly in a financial crisis. Through an emergency appeal supported by the Secretariat with a special "Call for Support", sufficient funds were raised for the society to continue its humanitarian mission. The International Federation Representative office in Ramallah has been supporting the PRCS monitoring the response from partners to the "Call for Support". It has also been involved with branch development, planning, reporting, appeal preparation and management.

PRCS decided in the course of 2006 to be one of the pilot societies in the new Operational Alliance concept of the Movement. As a consequence, the International Federation office has been supporting the development of the alliance and helping with cooperation and coordination.

Goal: Close cooperation and work with the PRCS headquarters (HQ) and branches was in general focusing on the overall goal to improve organizational capacities of the PRCS.

Needs: Total 2006-2007 budget was revised in December 2006 from CHF 503,000 to CHF 19,019,488 (USD 15,803,500 or EUR 11,612,750). This appeal budget reflects the entire financial needs of PRCS. Part of this amount is expected to be channelled through the International Federation Secretariat and part to be provided directly to the PRCS. In the attached financial report, the budget amount of CHF 7,964,277 (USD 6,595,425 or EUR 4,832,910), out of which 5 per cent covered, reflects only the International Federation Secretariat component. Click here to go directly to the attached financial report.

No. of people we help: The PRCS Emergency Appeal 2006 was supported by the International Federation through the "Call for Support" and most of the funding was channelled and managed through the Secretariat and country delegation, which were receiving donations from RC/RC and other partners. This made it possible for PRCS to provide humanitarian services to vulnerable people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

The estimated number of beneficiaries from the revised appeal for 2007 is in the range of 1 million, of whom some 59 per cent are females, 15 per cent males and 26 per cent children.

Our partners: The PRCS/International Federation are collaborating with communities in all areas of the 21 branches and seven sub-branches, the 30 primary health centres, the 18 rehabilitation centres, the 27 villages with mobile health clinics, and through the 26 centres for psycho-social programmes, and the PRCS structures in the Diaspora. Cooperation is also with ministries, four United Nations (UN) and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nine partner National Societies on bilateral basis, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Current context

The political situation in the Middle-East as a whole has further deteriorated over the past year with conflict in several countries. The Israel-Palestine case has not been an exception, with the Palestinian people sinking even further into poverty and crisis. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) report of November 2006, the agency is very concerned about the extreme deterioration in living and socio-economic conditions since the beginning of 2006 in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). According to the agency it is especially frightening to see the impact on every aspect of the Palestinian body: the deterioration of law and order; the unravelling of community cohesion; the rise in crime and internal violence; and the increasing radicalization of youth in an environment of economic and political hopelessness. By 2005, after five years of crisis, the real value of output produced (GDP) was estimated to be about nine per cent below its 1999 level, and per capita income was about 33 per cent below the level of that same year. Unemployment averaged 24 per cent of the labour force - twice its pre-crisis rate, and deep poverty affected 22 per cent of Palestinian households, about twice its 1999 rate.

Even long before the official figures for 2006 are available, it is obvious to everybody all around the entire territory that the economic situation has further deteriorated for the vast majority of the population. Public institutions providing health and care services, social welfare, education and security, as well as ministry offices have for months been paralysed by workers on strike due to salaries not being paid. The economic crisis has deepened even further from previous years, and the poverty rate in Gaza Strip is reported to have reached beyond 80 per cent, resulting in an economy on life support, kept barely alive by the drip feed of international assistance.

The wall constructed by the Israeli government in the occupied Palestinian territory has left tens of thousand of Palestinians between the internationally recognised Palestine-Israeli border and the wall. Access for these people to the outside is severely restricted, and access to the villages even for humanitarian organizations to provide health or other dearly needed services is subject to permission by the Israeli authorities, which in many cases is extremely difficult to obtain.

While the people in the Gaza Strip are experiencing being isolated from the rest of the world, the people in the West Bank are facing a dramatic increase in movement restrictions within their land. In the course of the year the number of physical obstacles has increased to over five hundred. This together with the strict travel permission system on all Palestinians moving between villages and cities has put even more pressure on PRCS and other humanitarian organizations to run their services from an unexpectedly high number of locations. PRCS will have to serve the population in their own villages instead of expecting them to come to bigger centres. One historical moment for PRCS in 2006 was the approval at the General Assembly in June, of the society as a full member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between PRCS and Magen David Adom (MDA) signed by both societies, which, together with the adoption by the member states and the RC/RC Movement in November 2005 of the Third Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, paved the way for full membership of the two societies.

The implementation process for enhancing cooperation and smooth implementation of the humanitarian mandate of the societies, has so far not been as tangible as hoped. In fact little of what both societies committed to in front of their own governments and the rest of the RC/RC Movement in 2005 has been implemented.

With the escalating security situation in the Gaza Strip last summer the working environment for all, including the PRCS and other humanitarian actors, became increasingly difficult and at times dangerous. In one tragic moment, two PRCS staff of the ambulance service lost their lives to Israeli rockets in Gaza when on their humanitarian duty treating wounded people.

For further information please contact:

Ola Skuterud, Head of Federation Office; email: ola.skuterud@ifrc.org; Telephone: +972 2 2400484/5; Fax: +972 2 2400484

Evgeni Parfenov, Regional Officer, MENA Department, Federation Secretariat; email: evgeni.parfenov@ifrc.org; Telephone: + 41 22 730 4325; Fax: + 41 22 733 0395

To support or find out more about the Federation's programmes or operations, click on www.ifrc.org