The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a fund of unearmarked money set up by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross Red Crescent to response to emergencies.

Requests for DREF allocations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are limited up to 1 million Swiss francs per allocation. Allocations to start-up operations in major disasters are considered to be loans and are reimbursed when sufficient funding is received through the emergency appeal. Minor emergencies, referred to as DREF operations, for which no appeal is launched, are considered to be grants and often fully cover the operation budget. Allocations can also be requested to allow preparedness for imminent crises, when the emergency response has not been planned for in an annual appeal.

For more information, visit this link.

Typhoon Doksuri DREF 2017 Distributing relief items at an evacuation centre in Ha Tinh. Photo by Viet Nam Red Cross

Typhoon Doksuri made landfall in central provinces of Viet Nam on Friday, 15 September 2017, causing serious floods in many communities along the costal line in the six provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue. According to the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control (CCNDPC), at least 14 people were killed, 112 injured and four others missing after Doksuri swept through Viet Nam on Friday and Saturday. The typhoon, the tenth to hit Viet Nam this year, caused widespread rainfall of between 100-250mm in provinces from Thanh Hóa to Thừa Thiên-Huế and left 1.3 million people without power.

The typhoon has caused severe damage not only to civil properties but also to community infrastructure such as schools, public buildings, and river and sea dykes among others.

In response to the Typhoon, National Disaster Response Teams (NDRTs) and four Provincial Disaster Response Teams (PDRTs) were activated and deployed to the four most affected provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, and Quang Tri to assist the local chapters to evacuate people to safer places before the typhoon hit as well as coordinate with local chapters to prepare for emergency response. These teams have also actively been involved in the relief distribution and needs assessment after the typhoon.

The Viet Nam Red Cross (VNRC) headquarters has released its pre-positioned stock including 600 shelter tool kits and emergency response funds (equivalent CHF 67,000) to provide initial support to the affected population. Resource mobilization is on-going in order to continue with its emergency operation and the future recovery program.

VNRC carried out a rapid assessment in four provinces on 16 September 2017. The assessment team used a participatory approach for data collection, ensuring the involvement of communities. The rapid assessment team submitted their initial findings on 17 September 2017 and analysis was immediately undertaken by VNRC headquarters.

Based on the collected data, the main impacts of the typhoon have been observed to be shelter and livelihoods as well as rice, vegetable and other crops. The Government of Viet Nam has confirmed rice support to all affected families for a period of three months and cash grants for reconstruction of shelter. However, according to the assessment, there is still a gap in assisting the most affected families to recover from their losses. Therefore, VNRC has launched a national appeal and request for a DREF Operation (CHF 236,580) to provide assistance to 3,600 households in two hard-hit provinces of Ha Tinh and Quang Binh. The assistance is in form of cash grant to 700 households and shelter tool kits to 2,900 families. The operation is expected to end within 60 days.

In August 2016, Lao Red Cross responded to landslides and flooding that has occurred across the northern part of the country over the past weeks. Earlier, heavy rains started pouring down in the provinces of Luangprabang, Oudomsay, Salavan and Sayyabuly. More rains arrived later and the province of Xiengkhuang suffered the brunt of the rainfall. The government reports that around 18,800 people have been affected in Oudomsay, a mountainous province in the northwest of the country in which most of the population still practices subsistence agriculture. Read more by clicking the tabs below on Lao Red Cross activities supported by IFRC using from its DREF (see the Emergency Plan of Action) to Lao Red Cross.

Household visit Beneficiary Satisfaction Survey (BSS) in Namkong village, Beang district, Oudomxay. Photo: IFRC

Household visit Beneficiary Satisfaction Survey (BSS) in Namkong village, Beang district, Oudomxay. Photo: IFRC

In the aftermath of the severe floods occurring the second week of August in the Northern part of Laos, in which Oudomxay was one of the hardest-hit provinces, Lao Red Cross, with the support of the IFRC, has requested and implemented a 3-month DREF Operation. The ultimate goal of the DREF is to address the immediate needs of 5,160 people in 23 villages of two districts: Baeng and Houn of Oudomxay province. The DREF Operation has been successfully implemented over the last three months since the launch.

In order to measure the outcomes of the operation and to find out if there have been any positive or negative changes to the lives and livelihoods of the floods affected communities and to learn how in the future, delivery of appropriate aid can be done more effectively covering the most affected populations. A one-day post distribution monitoring and beneficiary satisfaction survey was carried in 2 out of 23 villages followed by one-day Lessons Learned Workshop with the aim to:

  • Review the effectiveness of the DREF operation in meeting the planned objectives; and outputs in the emergency plan of action;
  • Provide a means of identifying key results achieved/successes, challenges, lessons learned from the operation in order to inform recommendations for future DREF or Emergency Appeal operations, specifically those related to floods.
  • Make recommendations for sustainability and the ownership of Lao Red Cross.
22 participants attended the Lessons Learned Workshop in Oudomxay. Photo by: Lao Red Cross

22 participants attended the Lessons Learned Workshop in Oudomxay. Photo by: Lao Red Cross

The review and lessons learned workshop was attended by Lao Red Cross leadership, operational team, Oudomxay Red Cross branch, departments of social welfare and health in Oudomxay as well as representatives from two districts local authorities, social welfare, health and targeted villages.

The event saw positive feedback from local authorities and beneficiaries toward the quality of items and services provided by Lao Red Cross during the course of three months.

Recommendations made to Lao Red Cross: to further improve its procurement process as well as to strengthen its pre-positioning stocks to immediately reach affected people when a crisis occurs in the future.

The total number of people affected stood at 12,242 (as of 23 Sep 2016) in which Oudomxay was confirmed to be the hardest hit and Lao Red Cross’ (LRC) operation targeted area.

The LRC is leading the implementation of this operation with technical support from IFRC, in particular, through the deployment of a Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) member from the Thai Red Cross Society for an initial period of one month, as well as the deployment of a logistics staff member from the IFRC Country Cluster Team (CCST) in Bangkok for 10 days. LRC also ensured gender and diversity inclusion (particularly for people living with disability, lactating and pregnant women, and women and girls in general) in discussion with IFRC CCST and this highlights their responsiveness to our recommendations to both the assessment approach and the delivery of relief items especially menstrual hygiene kits.

LRC arranged technical meetings for LRC colleagues from the Oudomxay branch office, focusing on the main features of the operation, its requirements and related plan of action.

Furthermore, LRC leadership visited Oudomxay from 3-7 September 2016 as part of a high-level visit together with government officials. The following week was dedicated to the establishment of an LRC taskforce among departments at national level to manage this flood operation. Detailed assessments in the field for beneficiary selection were initiated on 12 September 2016, along with a survey of rice suppliers in Oudomxay province to inform the planned tendering process. For more information on the DREF operations, see this operation update.

Lao Red Cross has started to work with village, district and provincial authorities, to assess the damage and address the most immediate needs. Distribution of rice, food, drinking water, blankets and clothes to the most vulnerable communities has been the first priority. In addition, the Red Cross is preparing kits with hygiene items such as bars of soap, detergent, female sanitary pads, mosquito nets and water purification tablets, and basic medical items.

The IFRC has released 128,687 Swiss francs (131,555 US dollars) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to Lao Red Cross, to assist 5,000 of the most affected people in Oudomsay, an Regional Disaster Relief Team (RDRT) logistics alert was sent to the National Societies.

e-mail: Mr. Hung Ha Nguyen, at

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