The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.
CHF 320,856 (USD 300,340 or EUR 212,435) has been allocated from the International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARC) in delivering immediate assistance to some 40,000 beneficiaries (8,000 families). Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.
Syria is currently experiencing the dramatic effects of a drought that has been affecting the country since 2006. As a consequence of climate change, the severity of the ongoing drought has now reached a level which forces people to change their coping techniques or to leave the affected region. According to the government of Syria and United Nations assessment missions, some 1,3 million inhabitants of Eastern Syria have been affected by this disaster, out of which 803,000 have lost almost all of their livelihoods and face extreme hardship. One of the most visible effects of the drought is the large migration from the affected areas that has increased substantially over the past months. Figures for migration range from 40,000 to 60,000 families, with 36,000 of them being from the Hassakeh Governorate alone. SARC has mobilised its intervention teams and carried out assessment studies in the most affected regions. The assessment's findings indicated that the villagers started to sell their belongings in order to buy food items. Data from the clinics of SARC indicate that children up to the age of three years are lacking proper nutrition and have a low level of protein and other nutritious agents necessary for proper growth. Many parents are withdrawing their children from elementary schools and are sending them to work to bring income to the families.
The implementation of the DREF operation proceeds with procurement of food items and the registration process of the most vulnerable families in the drought affected areas. The aim is to start the distributions while food items from the Syrian government and the World Food Programme (WFP) become available. SARC and the International Federation are planning to launch an Emergency Appeal focusing on population movement, humanitarian relief and risk reduction and recovery as well as provision of purified potable water.
This operation is expected to be implemented over three months, and will therefore be completed in the beginning of November 2009; a Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by the beginning of February, 2010).