Syria: Drought Emergency Appeal No. MDRSY001 Operations Update No. 1

GLIDE DR-2009-000149-SYR

Period covered by this Ops Update: 26 August to 31 September, 2009

Appeal target (current): 3,255,615 (USD 3,076,415 or EUR 2,145,150)

Appeal coverage: 24%

Appeal history:

- This Emergency Appeal was initially launched on 26 August 2009 for CHF 3,255,615 (USD 3,076,415 or EUR 2,145,150) for 12 months to assist 260,000 beneficiaries

- Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF): CHF 320,856 (USD 303,195 or EUR 211,415 was initially allocated from the International Federation's DREF to support the National Society to respond. The allocation was returned to DREF.

Summary:

The first month of the launch of the Emergency Appeal coincided with the holy month of Ramadan and one week of holiday (Eid al Fitr) to celebrate the ending of the fast. Although this affected the pace of the operation, tendering, purchasing and distribution of 6,500 food parcels were finalised and a water assessment was carried out thanks to the deployment of a field assessment and coordination team (FACT) delegate. The outcome of the water assessment resulted in a decision not to deploy a water emergency response unit (ERU) but to continue with the other planned activities under the water and sanitation objective in the Appeal. In addition, as a result of the recommendations, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (Syrian Arab RC) decided to include affected areas in Al Raqqa governorate in its response. Two other municipalities - Sakhneh and Tadmur Palmyra - administratively belonging to Homs branch but close to Deir az Zor and with similar vulnerability, have also been targeted. The conclusions of the FACT delegate re-affirmed the extreme vulnerability of the population and the relevance and importance to continue providing food assistance.

Access to potable water remains scarce and the quality is not consistent; and the water situation for irrigation remains problematic. Serious shortage of clean water supplies resulted in an increase in the number of diarrhoeal diseases during the reporting period. However, the International Federation's recent assessment indicates that appropriate measures have been taken and the outbreak of water borne diseases was halted.

It is of utmost importance for Syrian Arab RC to have the capacity and knowledge to provide immediate response to a next disaster that unfortunately cannot be ruled out. The International Federation is therefore asking for two water treatment units and a water and sanitation specialist to support the National Society with trainings and further needs assessment during four to six months. The water and sanitation specialist should work jointly with Syrian Arab RC to prepare a plan of action for community based hygiene promotion and education in water handling.

The water assessment also reaffirmed the appropriateness to install filtering, chlorination, coolers and storage systems at schools in the affected area. To ensure sustainability, these needs will have to be identified by a case-by-case assessment to ascertain the appropriate system for each school. In addition, there is a need for support of a water and sanitation expert to work jointly with the National Society, at least during the initial phase of the school assessment. The International Federation will in addition support Syrian Arab RC to ensure maintenance of the installations.

The International Federation wishes to thank the Swedish Red Cross and government, Japanese Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross, Danish Red Cross and government, the Iranian Red Crescent, Canadian Red Cross and government, and the Libyan Red Crescent for their contributions to this Appeal. The International Federation also sends its complements to the Icelandic Red Cross for the deployment of the FACT delegate to assist the representation in Syria and Syrian Arab RC with a water assessment.

In addition, Syrian Arab RC has received bilateral contributions from the Turkish Red Crescent and the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent to support the drought affected population.