Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Drought Appeal No. 18/2002 Interim Final Report

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The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 178 countries. For more information: www.ifrc.org
Launched on 1 July 2002 for CHF 2,457,000 for 9 months to assist 18,000 beneficiaries; Budget revised to CHF 1,748,000. Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) allocated: CHF 200,000 Interim Final Report (narrative and financia - see attachedl) This operation was closed by mid February. However some activities (e.g. construction of four rain water harvesting tanks) are not yet completed due to external factors such as extreme weather conditions, political developments, and insecurity. The final report will be posted on the Federation website in August.

IN BRIEF

Appeal coverage: 36.3%

Related Appeals: 01.29/2002 Sri Lanka Annual Appeal, 01.24/2002 South Asia Regional Appeal

Summary: Through this appeal, and based on funding available, it was planned to support 3,000 families by providing food packets and water distribution to seven divisional areas of the Hambantota district and to carry out preventive health care activities. The operation also includes demonstrating long term water conservation practices in ten schools by constructing rainwater harvesting water storage tanks.

The final food distribution was completed on 12 March. Reassessment after each distribution phase, including community scrutiny whereby the communities scrutinized the beneficiary lists prepared by the Red Cross, has been carried out to avoid aid dependency. In December an experienced Regional Disaster Response Trained (RDRT) staff member of the Nepal Red Cross was assigned to support the Sri Lanka Red Cross branch to draw from relevant similar experiences from within the region and to support the final phase of implementation of the programme in this regard. He supported the district branch staff in volunteer mobilisation and planning for rehabilitation of the existing tanks as long term measures.

The construction of six-rain water harvesting tanks was completed by the end of April; the remaining four tanks are expected to be completed by the end of June. Due to the sufficient provisions in the funding received already for these changed priorities, the appeal was closed on 30 April (not earlier as incorrectly mentioned in the previous update). The remaining funds have been deployed to support longer term drought mitigation measures to strengthen community level coping mechanisms into the future, including rehabilitation of eleven irrigation tanks in affected villages of Hambantota. Renovation activities of two tanks are fully completed while the remaining nine tanks are to be finished by the end of July. As a result of heavy rainfalls and flood situation in May, 2003 the construction and renovation activities of the tanks in Hambantota has been delayed. The capacity of the National Society has been strengthened through a national level vulnerability and capacity assessment (VCA) training arranged in December 2002, followed by training in February 2003 aimed for staff and volunteers of the Hambantota district.

In addition a regional disaster response training (RDRT) was held in Hambantota beginning of May 2003 for 35 participants. Five participants from Sri Lanka benefited from the training.

Red Cross volunteers trained under the drought relief operation were effectively and smoothly deployed by the Sri Lanka Red Cross to conduct assessments and distribute water to the affected population in Hambantota immediately after the flood disaster hit the area in May 2003.

Operational Developments

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Sri Lanka Red Cross, ICRC and the Federation on 19 March in Colombo. The MOU was based on the spirit of the Strategy for the Movement and Seville Agreement and also aimed at strengthening the co-operation among the Movement partners in order to effectively deliver quality programmers and humanitarian services to the people of Sri Lanka. The MOU is expected to bring about commitment by all partners to work in a coherent and structured manner, with efficiency and cost- effectively towards achieving humanitarian goals of the Movement and to co-coordinate support to the Sri Lanka Red Cross development endeavours.

The overall goal of this operation is "to provide supplementary food and water support to the most vulnerable communities, within the drought affected area, until the anticipated first harvest of crops in January 2003".

Summary of objectives activities and results:

The objective of restoration of food supply to 3,000 families for 9 months has been met as the distributions of supplementary food and water to 3,000 drought affected families (18,000 beneficiaries) was completed within the nine months. The first, second (two phases) and third food distributions were carried out on 11-12 August, on 20 October 2002 (first phase), 15 February (second phase) and 12 March 2003 (third phase) respectively.

In the first distribution, food packets in full ration for two months were distributed to the neediest 1,366 families in eight villages of three divisions of the Hambantota district. As a result of monitoring and assessment of the first distribution, the second distribution of food packets of half rations were given to a targeted 1,854 families in two divisions of the district in two phases. During the third distribution the national society covered 1,531 affected families in seven divisions.

The objectives under the health section to provide drinking water to water collection tanks at schools including rainwater harvesting system has made clear progress. The construction of six-rain water harvesting tanks was completed by the end of April. The remaining four tanks are expected to be completed by the end of June.

The chlorination of water under the objective of dissemination of sanitation and health practices through a sustainable network of volunteers was planned in coordination with the Ministry of Health. However and due to the changed weather conditions in the country, the activity was not carried out.

Coordination

As in the previous drought relief operation, the Federation has played an important role in facilitating co-ordination between all agencies. National level co-ordination meetings under the auspices of the Consortium for Humanitarian Agencies were held on a frequent basis. These were well attended by WFP, Oxfam, UNDP, and UN office of the Resident Co-ordinator, Ministry of Social Services (from both Hambantota District as well as national Ministry levels), World Vision, and the Government's National Disaster Management Cell. A number of coordinated interventions were discussed and planned.

The drought relief operation offered many advocacy opportunities to connect learning from the multi-institutional responses so far, to the need to strengthen the national Disaster Management Policy which is currently being drafted by the Government. Discussions have been held between the Federation and the Government's National Disaster Management Council to explore how the lessons from the drought relief operation can be effectively fed into the drafting of the Government Policy. These discussions continue to be held once in every three months to keep up the coordination and sprit.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The team spirit of the Red Cross volunteers at the branch level has increased significantly as an outcome of the drought operation. Branch capacities in relief distribution and organizing big scale relief operation have also increased.

Red Cross Society

28 Red Cross volunteers were trained in vulnerability capacity assessment from 9 to 13 February in Hambantota. These trained volunteers conducted the assessment when the flood disaster occurred in Hambantota on 17 May, 2003.

Objectives, activities and results

Food supply

Objective 1: To distribute food to 3,000 families for 9 months

Activity 1: Personnel from the NHQ of the Sri Lanka Red Cross, Hambantota Red Cross branch and a Federation delegate will conduct a rapid assessment to identify an immediate 1,000 of the most vulnerable families in the district. This will be completed before mid. July, with an immediate first food distribution to these families by end of July.

This activity has been completed (see operations update no 1).

Activity 2: Food will be procured and distributed to a further 2,000 families starting first week of August until end of February 2003 (four distributions with each distribution consisting of a two month supply and a final distribution of a one month supply and a final distribution of a one month supply.

As a result of heavy rainfalls in 2002 and consequent reassessments by the Sri Lanka Red Cross and the Federation on the beneficiary selection the operation changed. Reassessment after each distribution phase, including community scrutiny, was carried out to avoid aid dependency. In the first distribution, food packets in full ration for two months were distributed to the neediest 1,366 families in eight villages of three divisions of the Hambantota district. As a result of monitoring and assessment of the first distribution, the second distribution of food packets of half ration were given to a targeted 1,854 families in two divisions of the district in two phases.

Following an assessment after the second phase 1,531 families in seven divisions were selected for food support during the third phase. The breakdown of the relief recipients is as follows:

Grama Niladari (GN) division
Total number of families
Half packets
Full packets
Hambantota DS area
1. Julgamuwa
174
116
58
Sub total
174
116
58
Lunugamwehera division
1. Karambawewa
208
111
97
2. Rambukwewa
275
138
137
3. Ranasiripura
215
124
91
4. Keerthipura
66
30
36
5. Samanpura
79
27
52
6. Agbopura
240
109
131
7. Paddawgama
274
164
110
Sub total
1,357
703
654
GRAND TOTAL
1,531
819
712

During the third phase the food items were distributed in the following quantities:

Items
Size of pack
No. of packs
1. Rice (red)
36.0 kg
2,250
2. Dhal (i.e. lentils)
3.6 kg
3,061
3. Sugar (white)
2.7 kg
2,250
4. Coconut oil
2.7 kg
2,649
5. Green gram
3.6 kg
3,399

With the completion of the above third distribution, the food distribution phase of the operation has been concluded. The first, second (two phases) and third food distributions were carried out on 11-12 August, on 20 October 2002 (first phase), 15 February (second phase) and 12 March 2003 (third phase) respectively.

Activity 3: The warehouse currently available in the district will be upgraded and repaired to provide a storage area for relief and food stocks.

The Sri Lanka Red Cross shared the resources made available by the government in order to save time and resources.

Health and care

As per the appeal the "health" programme objectives and activities have been integrated and presented under the following Water-sanitation section as most of the health related disease prevalence is connected to water-sanitation issues in this drought situation.

Water and sanitation

Information on water conservation and personal hygiene practices was given importance during the health-training programme conducted in December 2002. The programme was part of the Sri Lanka Red Cross community based health programme and carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of health. Information about economical use of water as well as preventive health issues and common diseases such as Dengue, diarrhoea etc. was provided to the communities.

Objective 2: To provide drinking water to ten water collection containers at ten schools including rainwater harvesting system and hand pump.

Activity 1: Personnel from the NHQ of the Sri Lanka Red Cross and Hambantota Red Cross branch will identify the ten most suitable schools, in the worst affected areas, to receive water tanks. School assessment will be based on the scarcity of water, quality of the school's roof to maximize run-off catchments, the distance of the school from the village, and the availability of volunteers in the area for maintenance of the tanks and pumps.

This activity has been completed.

Activity 2: Construction of water collection tanks by the end of August.

The construction of rainwater harvesting tanks of 30,000 litres capacity begun on 14 February, 2003 and will be completed before the end of June.

The tank construction began in February in the following schools:

1. Boondala Junior Vidyalaya
2. Gonnoruwa Junior Vidyalaya
3. Keliyapura Junior Vidyalaya
4. Angunakolawewa Junior Vidyalaya
5. Mahaaluthgamara Junior Vidyalaya
6. Sooriyawewa Wedigamwewa Vidyalaya
7. Ranmuduwewa Primary School
8. Weliwewa Primary School
9. Palathuduwa Vidyalaya
10. Wagegoda Vidyalaya

On 14 February the constructions of 10 wire reinforced cement water tanks (Ferro cement tank with 30,000 litres of capacity) started in Hambantota, Lunugamwehera, Sooriyawewa and Tangalle DS divisions. The construction was supervised by the engineers of Construction Training and Development (ICTAD). Six rainwater-harvesting tanks out of ten were completed by the end of April while the remaining four tanks will be completed before end of June. The delay is caused by lengthy administrative procedures that have been followed by those involved in construction process of the tanks and unexpected weather conditions.

The rehabilitation of eleven irrigation tanks in affected villages of Hambantota commenced as intended. Renovation activities of two tanks are fully completed while the remaining nine is to be finished end of July.

The quality and need of drinking purified water in the existing water sources in the villages like Galwewa, Bellagaswewa, Ketanwewa, Gonnoruwa, Keliyapura and Ellalla was assessed by Sri Lanka Red Cross volunteers on 13, 14 and 15 February. The assessment highlighted the need to purify drinking water sources available in the area. Based on the assessment, the Red Cross initially provided water to these villages but at the arrival of the monsoon rains, the support was discontinued

Activity 3: Bowsering (tankering) water to these water points will begin in mid July. In the first month, while tanks are being constructed, water will be distributed directly from bowsers. Bowsers will deposit water directly into the tanks once construction is complete. This activity will continue until the first rains appear in November/December. The contract is to be renewed on a monthly basis until the rains start but with a maximum of five months.

After the heavy rainfall in the area, the water distribution was discontinued on 15 November.

Activity 4: The system will be maintained by volunteers throughout the project.

See activity number 3. It is noteworthy that Red Cross volunteers trained under the drought relief operation were effectively and smoothly deployed by the Sri Lanka Red Cross to distribute water to the affected population in Hambantota immediately after the flood disaster hit the area in May 2003. The Sri Lanka Red Cross correctly identified contaminated wells as the most urgent problem and cleaned more than 70 wells in two days. These volunteers will continue this essential activity in the affected districts.

Objective 3: To disseminate sanitation and health practices through a sustainable network of volunteers targeting female heads of families.

Activity 1: The Sri Lanka Red Cross will train 40 volunteers in Community Based Health and First Aid (CBFA) and provide them with a first aid kit, a bicycle and dissemination material. Two of these volunteers will be selected to be trained as trainers in order to facilitate further development of the volunteer pool.

40 trained Red Cross volunteers have been provided with equipment and materials, according to plan.

National Society Capacity Building

The Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) member deployed from the Nepal Red Cross organised consultative meetings between the District branch and NHQ and supported the progress of the operation for two weeks in December. He supported district branch staff in volunteer mobilisation and planning for rehabilitation of existing tanks as long term measures.

A Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (VCA) workshop for 28 volunteers was held between from 9 till 12 February in Hambantota.

A nine daylong regional disaster response training (RDRT) was held in Hambantota in the beginning of May 2003 for 35 participants. Five participants from Sri Lanka benefited from the training, including participant from Hambantota. The regional participants were exposed to the impact of the relief operation. The assessment exercise carried out in four villages could capture the changed perception of people about the Red Cross Organisation and a commitment for equal participation in terms of money/labour towards long term drought mitigation measures, if any organisation starts work on this.

The success of the drought relief operation resulted into the Red Cross branch taking initiative in providing food packets and water tankering to the current flood affected people. In addition they immediately began the cleaning of wells by coordinating with suitable technical expertise. The entire flood operation is coordinated with government efforts and reflects examples of continued branch development.

Federation Delegation

The delegation office in Sri Lanka has played a pivotal role as hub for information sharing and field monitoring, and the Federation's regional disaster response delegate and the regional disaster preparedness manager provided technical and managerial support during every stage of the operation.

The main role of the Federation delegation in Sri Lanka as well as of the Regional Delegation in Delhi is to provide support to the Sri Lanka Red Cross in its assessment work, and assisting it in the facilitation of national level drought co-ordination meetings with other INGOs, NGOs and UN family agencies.

Advocacy/Public Information

Media continued to sustain a moderate interest over the drought in Hambantota while the political situation captured most of the media interest during this period. News on the Red Cross relief distributions was published in several newspapers.

Outstanding needs

No funding support is required and the Appeal is closed. Some activities such as construction of rain harvesting tanks and renovation of irrigation tanks are nearing completion. All the activities under this operation are expected to be completed before the end of July.

For further details please contact:

  • Country: Mr. Chandra Ranawickrama, Director General, Sri Lanka Red Cross, Phone: +94 1 672 727; Fax: +94 75 367 462, e-mail: slrcsr@yahoo.com
  • Mr. Shunichi Kagami, Federation representative, Phone: +94 74 715 977; Fax: +94 74 715 978;
  • Regional: Mrs. Nina Paulsen, Regional Reporting Delegate, Phone: 91 11 685 86 71/72; Fax:+91 11 685 75 67. Mobile: + 091 9810505398. E-mail:E-mail:ifrcin11@ifrc.org
  • Secretariat: For further details please contact: Ewa Eriksson, Federation Senior Desk Officer Phone: 41 22 4252; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email:eriksson@ifrc.org Ms. Suzana Jekic, Federation Assistant Desk Officer, Phone: 41 22 730 43 523 Fax: 41 22 733 0395; e-mail: Jekic@ifrc.org.
All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

This operation seeks to administer to the immediate requirements of the victims of this disaster. Subsequent operations to promote sustainable development or longer-term capacity building will require additional support, and these programmes are outlined on the Federation's web site. For further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation web site at http://www.ifrc.org.

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