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Red Cross personnel with a forklift loading a pallet with boxes on a truck

X-STOCK platform for cross-border transfer of relief items now operational

By project X-STOCK staffPublished on

After 2.5 years of preparation the X-STOCK platform is ready to support cross-border disaster response in Southeast Europe. Ten Red Cross warehouses in the Western Balkans and Austria are now connected through a virtual platform to share emergency stocks in an accelerated and simplified manner. This reduces lead times for the distribution of relief items to a disaster-affected population.

Multi-hazard

The central output of X-STOCK, a web-based software application linking Red Cross emergency stocks of five neighbouring countries in Southeast Europe, is now ready for use. This new software tool has been fully operational since May 2023. Now the emergency stocks of the Red Cross societies in Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia as well as Austria, are virtually connected via this new database. The first five countries are fully participating in X-STOCK to receive and send relief items, whereas Austria is additionally sharing some stocks in support. 

Emergency relief items, such as tents, blankets, heaters or kitchen sets, are shared in a “joint virtual warehouse”. This virtual warehouse allows users to access information about shared relief stocks in other countries and to request support directly through the system in case of need. The majority of the administrative processes needed for the shipment of relief items between the countries is also reflected in the system.

Home screen of X-STOCK platform for registered users
Screenshot X-STOCK platform

“A long cherished dream came true, to have this virtual warehouse between six Red Cross partners developed and operational! Besides that, the most positive outcome of the project was the development of a professional and really excellent relationship to our national CP authorities. We will definitely maintain the habit developed during the X-STOCK simulation exercises of sending liaison officers to each other’s emergency operation centres for improved coordination.”

Exercises and way ahead

Over the last months of the X-STOCK project a series of remote tabletop exercises (TTX) was held in all participating countries. They offered a test environment for the new software platform which could be improved and adapted continuously based on the lessons learnt from each exercise. During the last virtual TTX, organised regionally with the participation of organisations from all six countries, the final version of the software proved to be a valuable complement to the tools used by Red Cross partners to coordinate their joint response to a cross-border flood scenario in Serbia and Croatia. Representatives of the national civil protection authorities were either directly involved in the exercise or joined as observers. Also, representatives of DG ECHO remotely monitored the response operation of six Red Cross national societies, directed and coordinated by the IFRC country cluster office in Sarajevo. 

In the Red Cross movement, a tool for collaboration in cross-border disaster response with this level of preparation and detail, and the inclusion of the respective national civil protection authorities, is likely unprecedented. Currently, there are five countries fully participating in X-STOCK and one additionally sharing its stocks under the coordination of IFRC. Within the next two years, the goal is to expand the regional network to a total of ten additional countries.

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