Viet Nam

Viet Nam Appeal No. 01.64/2003


(In CHF)
(In CHF)
1. Health and Care
2. Disaster Management
3. Humanitarian Values
4. Organizational Development
5. Federation Coordination
1 USD 1,774,704 or EUR 1,759,745.
2 These are preliminary budget figures for 2004, and are subject to revision.


Vietnam is one of the countries in the Asia Pacific region most vulnerable to natural disasters. Its long coastline and unique mix of geography expose it to frequent typhoons, floods and drought. Deforestation, the pressure of a large and dense population, increasing urbanisation, the impact of the regional economic crisis, health and social problems (particularly the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the legacy of war) combine to make Vietnam one of the region's highest priorities for humanitarian assistance.

Vietnam has a population of 78.1 million (2000) and according to the UNDP Human Development Report (2002), Vietnam is ranked 109 of 173 countries. In 2000 the GDP per capita was USD 416. In the 1990s the percentage of the population below the international poverty line was reduced substantially, from around 58% of the population in 1992/1993 to some 37% in 1997/1998. However, national poverty reduction rates during this period conceal significant disparities. In urban areas, poverty decreased by two-thirds in the period 1993-1998, while the reduction was less than half in rural areas. Nearly 94% of the poor in Vietnam live in rural areas.

Adult literacy has been maintained at over 90% and a similar percentage of the population has access to health services. Access to 'improved water sources' is at 56% (UNDP, 2002), however this figure conceals the urban-rural disparities where an estimated 78% of urban households are using safe water supplies, while only 44% of rural households have access to safe water. Similarly, only 43% of urban households and as few as 15% of rural households have access to appropriate sanitation. By far, the greatest needs are in the rural areas of Vietnam, where approximately 75% of the population live.

The International Federation Delegation in Vietnam was established in the late 1980s with the aim of supporting the organisational development of the Vietnam Red Cross Society (VNRC), strengthening its programmes and enhancing its ability to respond to frequent natural disasters.

The overall goal of this appeal is to seek the necessary resources to enable the International Federation Secretariat, through its delegation in Vietnam, to continue to support the VNRC towards becoming a well functioning national society. Central to this is the need to support the Federation delegation in Vietnam to provide service and guidance to the VNRC and its partner Societies engaged in Vietnam, and to support the implementation of the International Federation's Strategy 2010 and the Strategy for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Country Strategy

Over the last twelve years the VNRC has significantly improved and expanded its programmes for national coverage. Programme implementation has been most prominent in disaster preparedness, disaster response, health and social care. Programme development has in turn assisted with the organisational development of provincial 'chapters' and district and commune level 'branches', particularly in disaster prone areas of the country.

Rapid economic growth in Vietnam may not 'trickle down' to the large numbers of rural poor and the VNRC's beneficiaries base is considerable and demands a high level of support through a variety of programmes. In trying to meet the challenge of serving the most vulnerable, the VNRC has defined the following 'general directions' for itself for the period 2001-2006:

  • upholding and consolidating the achieved results, increasing public awareness of humanitarian causes and of Red Cross Red Crescent activities;

  • building a strong Red Cross organisation, capable of fulfilling its role as the backbone of the Vietnamese humanitarian front; and

  • expanding international relations based on self-reliance, exchange of experience and knowledge, and making effective use of foreign aid in the fields of humanity and socio-economic development.

Over the last two years the VNRC has welcomed and assisted a large number of national societies to establish bilateral programmes of support in Vietnam. This has placed increased pressure on the VNRC to provide coordination and management support and to identify counterpart staff and resources for an increasing number of diverse projects. It is recognised that the bilateral activities of national societies have an invaluable contribution to make towards building the capacity of the VNRC to implement programmes, but at the same time the Society's capacity for coordination and management is not well supported by an intensive bilateral project approach. The Federation Secretariat has both the mandate to assist the VNRC and other national societies with coordination and management and the ability to add value to VNRC/national society partnerships in an efficient and effective manner.

In view of the International Federation Secretariat's change strategy, in general, and the ongoing consolidation of its activities in Vietnam, in particular, the core staffing of the delegation in Vietnam, as from mid-2003, should ideally comprise a maximum of two international delegates and a team of approximately eight national staff. By the middle of 2004, or earlier if circumstances allow, the Secretariat's country presence should reduce to a representative, with a limited number of support staff.

(pdf* format - 138 KB)