8 May 2015, Geneva / Rome. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today launched an emergency appeal for 2.7 million Swiss francs (2.6 million euros) to support the Italian Red Cross as it delivers assistance to 85,000 people on the move.
Since the beginning of 2015, more than 35,000 people from Africa, Asia and the Middle East have set off from Libya and from other points along the North African coast and embarked on a perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea, often risking their lives on unsafe vessels. Tragically, in the last five years, thousands of them have died during their perilous journey”
“As favourable weather in the Mediterranean settles in, we have to be prepared for an increasing number of people who will need humanitarian assistance,” said Francesco Rocca, President of the Italian Red Cross and Vice President of the IFRC.
The Italian Red Cross has already reacted to the recent increase in migrant arrivals by activating hundreds of its volunteers and organizing its dedicated structures to receive, care for and protect migrants in a dignified manner.
“The unwavering dedication of our volunteers to help vulnerable migrants over the past months and years remain an untold story. They do not see migrants, they see human beings who need to be given a helping hand,” Rocca said. “However, our commitment to support these people and protect their rights must be accompanied by the political will to promote solidarity and respect these rights; a political will to offer safe and legal avenues for those who seek protection.”
The appeal launched today will help the Italian Red Cross to scale-up on-going protection and emergency response operations on the shores of Italy, including the distribution of food, water, hygiene kits and other essential goods.
In the past week alone, Italian Red Cross volunteers in Sicily and Calabria have delivered humanitarian assistance to more than 4,000 people rescued by the Italian Coast Guard off the Libyan coasts. They provide the first line response at landing points focusing on the primary needs of people when they disembark from the vessels.
In Italy, Red Cross staff and volunteers are present in every port, providing support to people based on their needs, regardless of their legal status.
This emergency appeal is part of a global initiative to enhance the Red Cross Red Crescent response to migration issues, and this within communities in countries of origin, transit and destination.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 189 member National Societies. Together, IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
For more information or to setup interviews
▪ Laura Bastianetto, Media Relations - Italian Red Cross
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▪ Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, team leader – public communications, IFRC
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▪ Stephen Ryan, emergency communications, IFRC Europe Zone Office
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▪ Alberto Monguzzi, disaster management coordinator;
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