This report covers the period 1 January to 31 December 2012
The IFRC’s East Asia regional delegation (EARD) serves to support and build capacities within the national societies (NSs) of the East Asia region. The region includes China, Mongolia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, and Japan. The IFRC supports all five national Red Cross Societies in the region and additionally has long-term planning frameworks specifically for the NSs in China, Mongolia, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
In 2012, the IFRC EARD reorganized itself to provide even more focus on development programmes. A regional development delegate was put in place to head up all support in areas of national society disaster preparedness, health and care, organizational development and long-term development in the East Asia region. Community-based approaches have been strengthened throughout the year, with priorities on supporting community resilience and better integration of needs-based support.
The East Asia regional team is providing direct support to and training opportunities for NS personnel in building up their capacity and skills. The team has also represented the East Asia region at various Asia Pacific and global meetings to contribute to and coordinate resources and knowledge sharing in Asia Pacific region.
China - The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) has officially started a comprehensive reform process since July 2012. The Chinese Government shows extraordinary support to the reform of the RCSC. The support has been evident in the prioritization by Congress of the modification of the Red Cross Law in China, and the State Council statement and implementation guideline to all the government departments to support RCSC reform. A task force of RCSC reform was set up and the IFRC and ICRC have been invited to participate and provide inputs.
In 2012, various natural disasters hit many regions of China affecting more than 290 million people and resulted in over RMB 400 billion (approx. 67 billion dollars) in direct economic losses. With the support of IFRC, the National Society has responded to the disasters in a more efficient and systematic way. The recently formed emergency response teams of the RCSC, with the support of the IFRC regional delegation, have been mobilized more often with greater effectiveness.
DPRK – Tensions remained high on the Korean peninsula throughout the year. A rocket launch by the DPRK government in December caused serious alarm within the international community, and yet there are positive signs of potential economic reform in the country. The DPRK has faced several disasters this year. The spring drought raised fears of a massive decline in crop yield. The heavy rains in July caused serious damage in many disaster prone areas, and CHF 300,969 was allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the DPRK Red Cross Society (DPRK RCS) in delivering immediate assistance to some 2,500 families (10,000 beneficiaries).
The impact of these floods was exacerbated when Typhoon Bolaven hit on 28 August. Nearly 6,000 houses were destroyed and many lives affected. Another CHF 272,817 had been allocated from the IFRC’s DREF to support the National Society on immediate assistance to some 2,515 families (11,600 beneficiaries).
The DPRK RCS has received consistent support over the last decade from IFRC, its Red Cross partner NSs and their donor governments, as well as from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The National Society receives focused and appropriate support through the Cooperation Agreement Strategy (CAS) established between all partners since 2005. The need for humanitarian support through the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and other international organizations is still acute, particularly in the areas of food, health, water and sanitation and disaster preparedness.
Mongolia – In December, the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) of Mongolia issued a dzud warning for the winter of 2012-2013. Many families were forced to evacuate and livestock was not able to survive on the pastures. Mongolia Red Cross Society (MRCS) and IFRC act proactively towards the harsh winter, especially in looking at how communities can increase their resilience. A national vulnerability and capacity assessment (VCA) process has been initiated in 2012 to allow the MRCS to review the vulnerabilities and capacities of many communities and Red Cross branches throughout the country. The findings, expected to be released in 2013, will be shared with stakeholders in Mongolia and partners as a joint mechanism for coordinating appropriate support throughout the country.
Japan – Earthquake and Tsunami – The earthquake of magnitude 9.0 and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March 2011 has posed severe loss of lives and humanitarian consequences. More than two years have passed since the disaster struck, and while immediate physical recovery is gradually picking up speed, survivors were still in much need of support such as psychosocial and long-term recovery. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident has also created much uneasiness among the public, not only in Fukushima but throughout the nation as the evacuation zone is still seriously contaminated and may remain uninhabitable for decades. Collaboration within the Movement commenced almost immediately after the catastrophe. From the onset of the disaster, IFRC has provided support in coordination of partners, communications, reporting, logistics, finance and other areas through frequent visits from the EARD and Asia Pacific zone office as well as from the Secretariat in Geneva. An IFRC representative has been based in the JRCS headquarters in support of the operation and coordination of partners.
Korea – The Korean Red Cross Society (KRCS) has new leadership in place as of 2012 and the IFRC is supporting those leaders as they take on their new responsibilities. A pre-disaster workshop was supported by the IFRC which provided a very useful platform for the KRCS, its government, other stakeholders and the IFRC to better understand response mechanisms and capacities. With technical support of the IFRC, the KRCS also organized its first ever IFRC Model General Assembly, which had great success in bringing together youth to discuss global humanitarian issues.