The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network.
Our secretariat supports local Red Cross and Red Crescent action in more than 192 countries, bringing together almost 15 million volunteers for the good of humanity.
A simple search for “Kharkiv” on the internet today yields scenes of grey ash covering splintered buildings. This is how much of the world now sees Ukraine. Far from this perception are locals’ memories of crackling fireplaces and walks under the trees—so many of which now stand lifeless. But at least one small clump of spring green remains—a few little plants in one Kharkiv resident’s back yard. The only ones to survive raining missiles in a garden once lush and vibrant. “He called them hope plants,” says Ana Blanco, one of 20 emergency responders from the Spanish Red Cross working in Zahony, Hungary. “He and his wife arrived at Zahony train station with two of them, having travelled all this way from Kharkiv. And every day I’d see them take such great care and pride ensuring they stayed alive on the windowsill of the shelter.” For this man, these plants are his token of home. And while they may not be the most practical thing to carry with him on his journey, Ana understands they are vitally important to his mental wellbeing. Having been an emergency responder with the IFRC since 2011, Ana knows that survivors of disasters and conflicts can be resilient. She’s seen it with her own eyes while providing emergency relief in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and water and sanitation support after the 2015 Nepal earthquake. But this doesn’t mean hope always flourishes on its own. That’s what brought Ana from her home in Valencia to Zahony—her experience teaching her that supporting the mental health of people affected by disaster or conflict is just as important as supporting their physical health. She came with 20 fellow health specialists from the Spanish Red Cross to work alongside the Hungarian Red Cross, ensuring their teams have what they need to meet people’s immediate mental and physical health needs. And to help set up a health clinic in Zahony so they can provide effective longer-term support too. This is not Ana’s first time supporting refugees. Twice, she has worked in camps in Greece helping refugees express their emotions through art therapy. Her eyes light up as she speaks, “It was remarkable. Even though there was a huge language barrier, we relied on universal ways of communicating.” Whether it’s through creating art, or delicately tending to small plants on a windowsill—everyone has something to say, because everyone has something to feel. And these feelings need somewhere to go. “I grew up in a family that has always helped people. I feel something is missing in me when I see a crisis and I can’t go – if I’m not available to respond. It’s an earthquake inside of me,” Ana explains. It’s this innate desire to help others, to be kind to others—shared by so many millions of our Red Cross and Red Crescent family—that has motivated Ana during her time in Hungary. For many weeks she’s worked patiently to get to know so many of the people staying in Zahony and build trust with them, helping them to open up. Speaking about another man she met early on who would sit alone on a bunk bed in the corner of the shelter, Ana says: “He didn’t want to go outside when I first met him. He’d been traveling alone, the possibility of reaching a friend abroad growing scarce.” “Every so often, I’d say to him, ‘hope to see you at the train station!’ ‘Hope to see you around for a meal soon!’” And within a few days, she saw him emerge from the dark and step outside, interacting with her and the others. On her last day in Zahony, Ana goes out of her way to help connect him with a helper on the other end of the phone. She finishes her mission knowing that for millions, home now looks very different to the one they once had. Many do not know where their journeys will end. Ana holds a truth that so many disaster responders keep close to their hearts: we can never guarantee someone will be okay or that everyone will make it.But we do whatever we can to nurture seeds of hope, so that one day the lives of people affected by crises such as that in Ukraine can fully bloom again. -- Click here to learn more about the IFRC's Emergency Appeal for Ukraine and impacted countries.If you would like to donate to support our work responding to this crisis, please click here. You can also visit our mental health page to learn more about the IFRC's work providing mental health and psychosocial support around the world.
Kuala Lumpur/Dhaka, 28 June 2022 -Record-breaking floods in Bangladesh have wreaked havoc as an estimated 7.2 million people have been affected and are in desperate need of shelter and emergency relief items in the north-eastern region of the country. From early in the month of June, torrential rain and upstream water have completely submerged around 94 per cent of the town of Sunamganj and 84 per cent of Sylhet districts, in northeastern Bangladesh, bordering the Meghalaya state of India. Parts of Meghalaya have experienced the highest amount of rainfall in decades, which has led to overflowing of large river systems running between India and Bangladesh and completely swallowing surrounding areas. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society Secretary General Kazi Shofiqul Azam said: “We have never seen this sort of flooding in our living memories in that region. Hundreds of thousands of people took refuge as their houses went under water and almost all their neighborhoods inundated. Large parts of Sunamganj and Sylhet were completely cut off due to severe disruption of road communication and power cuts. “Our volunteer teams were on the ground helping people with much needed dry foods, cooked food, safe drinking water. Bangladesh Red Crescent has launched a strategy involving USD 10 million to carry out relief and recovery operations in the affected areas.” While Sylhet and Sunamganj have almost been cut off from other parts of the country, multiple districts nearby including Netrokona, Kishoreganj are also experiencing floods. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society teams are also providing food package to last at least two weeks, heath care services through mobile medical teams, hygiene and dignity kits and tarpaulins and jerrycans. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) haslaunched an emergency appeal for CHF 7.5 million (USD 7.8 million) to support the Bangladesh Red Crescent to scale up and expand reach of its localized response and recovery efforts to prevent and alleviate the suffering of 300,000 people affected by the recent floods. IFRC Head of Bangladesh Country Delegation Sanjeev Kafley said: “Within just a month, Sylhet and Sunamganj have been flooded and the scale of devastation this time is so much more than the previous ones. We are scaling up our operations alongside Bangladesh Red Crescent due the urgency of the situation. The greater focus is on the urgent needs of the affected population for first three months by expanding and scaling up the response of Bangladesh Red Crescent. After that, recovery assistance will also be provided ensuring that the affected population will self-recover from the crisis in a sustainable way and strengthen their resilience to impending disasters.” For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: In Dhaka: Mahmudul Hasan, +880 1716 103333, [email protected] Raqibul Alam, +880 1714069707, [email protected] In Kuala Lumpur: Rachel Punitha, +60 3 9207 5700, [email protected]
Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders commit to accelerate efforts to tackle rising humanitarian challenges
Geneva, 23 June 2022 - The Council of delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement concluded today in Geneva with commitments from Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders and youth representatives from around the world, to work together and scale-up efforts to take urgent action on a range of critical humanitarian issues. Representatives of 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) passed a series of resolutions to address a range of humanitarian challenges, including; the growing existential threats posed by the climate crisis; the escalating migration crisis; the devastating impacts of war in cities and the need to continue efforts to work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. "Urban warfare has a devastating humanitarian impact, including the appallingly high number of civilian deaths, the physical and mental suffering, the destruction of homes and critical civilian infrastructure, the disruption to essential services and the widespread displacement of people. We have seen that sad reality playing out in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere. The Red Cross and Red Crescent must mobilise all its influence and resources to meet the challenges that lie ahead,’ said ICRC President Peter Maurer. ‘To be clear: the consequences of urban conflicts are not inevitable. They are the result of the behaviour of the parties fighting in these environments and we call for international humanitarian law to be upheld as an urgent priority’. IFRC President Francesco Rocca said: “How we work to tackle and mitigate against the impacts of climate change will define our work, not just for the next few years, but for decades to come. “All over the world, our volunteers and staff are working with people in their communities to help them adapt to the climate crisis and, frankly, they are demonstrating greater readiness, eagerness, and leadership than the majority of our global political leaders. We need action from them, not more words. And now. “The same goes for the international migrant crisis. The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement speaks of leaving no person behind, of solidarity, and humanity. But, all over the world, we see world leaders failing to take the plight of migrants seriously enough and too easily prepared to neglect the human rights of those fleeing conflict, hunger, persecution, and, of course, those parts of the world where climate change has already done untold damage to their communities.” Francesco Rocca, IFRC President, was re-elected to serve a second four-year term in office at the IFRC’s General Assembly on 19 June. For more information on resolutions adopted at the Council of delegates is available here For other information and interview requests, contact: IFRC: Benoit Carpentier, Tel: +41 792 132 413 Email: [email protected] Paul Scott -+44 (0)7834 525650 email: [email protected] ICRC ICRC: Ewan Watson - m. +41 (0)79 244 6470 email: [email protected] ICRC: Crystal Wells - m. +41 (0)79 642 8056 email: [email protected] For further information about the statutory meetings please visit rcrcconference.org
The Afghan Red Crescent, together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has mobilised to support communities affected by a deadly 5.9 magnitude earthquake which struck the south-East region of Afghanistan early morning Wednesday 22 June. Based on initial reports, at least 1000 people have been killed, with the number of casualties expected to increase as rescuers reach hardest-hit villages where people remain trapped in rubble. Remote districts in the provinces of Khost and Paktika have been most affected. Afghan Red Crescent staff and volunteers from affected communities were among the first responders working alongside local authorities and other humanitarian organisations. Additional teams have been deployed from Kabul and neighbouring provinces to boost the speed of assistance. Furthermore, food supplies, non-food items and medicines that were in stock have been redirected to areas hardest hit by the quake to address immediate needs. Dr Mohammad Nabi Burhan, Secretary General of Afghan Red Crescent, said: “This latest earthquake is another horrific tragedy for Afghanistan, as if there were not enough. It struck in a grim backdrop where more than 50 per cent of our people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance due a combination of catastrophic crises.” “It is heartbreaking to see such human suffering among people who were already struggling to recover from effects of decades of conflict, severe drought, flooding, and extreme economic hardship among other shocks.” Afghan Red Crescent trucks with relief items and medicines as well as ambulances have been dispatched to the affected areas. These will complement mobile health teams that were already operational in Paktika, of which some have been redirected to address immediate needs resulting from the earthquake. Necephor Mghendi, IFRC’s Head of Delegation for Afghanistan, said: “Local responders and institutions have played a critical role in saving lives of thousands who would otherwise still be trapped in rubble. Strengthening local preparedness capacity is the surest and quickest way to an effective response." “We only recently revised our Emergency Appeal to increase emergency relief, health services and recovery assistance in almost all province of Afghanistan which are battling a cocktail of catastrophic humanitarian crises. Following the deadly earthquake, we will have to scale up further our operations in Khost and Paktika.” The IFRC has released 750,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) in support of a timely response by the Afghan Red Crescent. Increased global support and solidarity to deliver humanitarian assistance is needed. As part of its ongoing support, the IFRC is urgently appealing to the international community for 90 million Swiss francs to support the Afghan Red Crescent to deliver emergency relief, health services and recovery assistance to more than 1 million people in the provinces hit by multiple crises. This includes an extra 10 million Swiss francs to address the needs wrought by the quake. For more information or to arrange interviews: In Geneva: Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, Director A.I, Communications Department, Mob: +41 (0)79 213 24 13, Email: [email protected] In Asia/Pacific: Rachel Punitha, Manager A.I., Communications, Mob: +60 19 791 3830, Email: [email protected]
"My name is Madi, and I am a mother of 12 children. My family had always lived in Maga peacefully alongside other ethnic groups, even if from time to time there were tensions. I never imagined that one day we would have to leave. One evening as my children and I were already in bed, my husband hurriedly came in and urged me to wake them up. More tensions had flared up. But this time houses were being burnt, people were being killed, livestock were being robbed. To save our lives, we had to leave. He asked me to take the few things we could carry with us and we set off immediately. To what destination, I did not know. But the screaming and shouting I heard near our house convinced me that we needed to move quickly. We walked with our children day and night across the savannah, resting here and there to regain our strength. Hundreds of us fled that night with the few personal belongings we could grab in a hurry. By the grace of God, we were able to find refuge in the locality of Bogo, about 45km from Maga, where the host population greeted us with food and drink. Tented camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) were soon set up by humanitarian workers. Some people from our community were with us in our camp, while others were placed elsewhere, miles away. But what mattered was that we could finally rest, sleep peacefully with our children, and allow them to recover from long days of walking. Once we settled, we were visited by several humanitarian organizations, including the Cameroon Red Cross. Volunteers went from shelter to shelter to see how we were doing. They taught us how to keep our shelters clean and how to prevent diseases such as cholera and COVID-19. But most importantly, they listened to us when we talked about the hardships we had been through and all the loved ones we had lost back in Maga. A few weeks later, we received basic items from the Cameroon Red Cross. The volunteers handed out buckets, cooking pots, blankets, soap, and dignity kits to enable our girls to take care of their personal hygiene. We are extremely grateful for this support, but unfortunately it is not enough. When we lived in Maga, my husband had an income, we could meet our daily needs. But now that we have lost everything and are far from the land we’re familiar with, we lack food. Access to drinking water is a difficult journey. We have to walk up to 7km to find a water point, which is very difficult without our donkeys to help us. Our children have not been to school since the crisis. And at night we share our shelter with many others because there is not enough space. We are grateful to receive weekly visits from nurses who come to see our children, vaccinate them, and give us treatments for diseases. And we hope to receive further assistance from the Cameroon Red Cross Society. For the moment, we do not plan to return to Maga. The after-effects of the crisis are too fresh in our minds and the tension has not yet subsided. We want to stay here for now because we are safe. But we need support." ------------- The Cameroon Red Cross, with DREF support, has provided household items, water, hygiene supplies and dignity kits to 299 households in Bogo and Pette, in addition to running awareness campaigns on disease prevention and peace culture. We are currently considering how we can best provide further assistance to communities—potentially through cash assistance. Speaking about the response, IFRC Regional Disaster Management Coordinator, Josuane Tene, said "At this stage, the needs identified are multifaceted. The shelters provided by humanitarian partners are not sufficient. Many of them are makeshift shelters and with the rainy season approaching, which is usually very severe in this part of the country, those affected need safe shelters. They also struggle to feed themselves properly. Cash assistance and livelihood support will certainly help them to meet their needs with dignity." The IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) is a central pot of money through which we can quickly release money to National Societies—enabling them to prepare for, and respond to, small and medium-sized disasters like the conflict in northern Cameroon. You can donate to the DREF today to support people just like Madi. The IFRC also provides country support to the Cameroon Red Cross, and other National Societies in the region, through our Cluster Delegation based in Yaoundé, Cameroon. You can learn about this work in our cluster support plan for 2022.
Uganda: Population movement
Escalating conflict in eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has triggered a large-scale displacement of refugees across the border into Uganda. Tens of thousands of people have fled since late March 2022, many with limited or no possessions, and basic social services in the settlements are struggling to cope with the increased demand. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC will support the Uganda Red Cross Society to scale up its support to refugees—specifically its provision ofshelter, essential household items, health care, and water and sanitation services.
Torrential rain and incessant downpours from upstream regions since mid-June 2022 have caused the worst flooding in living memory in north-eastern districts of Bangladesh.An estimated 7.2 million people have been affected, with a further 3.7 million people affected by monsoon flooding in northern districts. There is widespread damage to infrastructure, homes, water and sanitation facilities, croplands and fisheries. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC will support the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society to provide affected people with safe water and sanitation facilities, shelter, cash assistance and health services.
Sri Lanka: Complex emergency
An economic crisis and a ban on synthetic fertiliser in Sri Lanka have sparked civil unrest and food insecurity across the country.Severe food shortages are expected within the coming months, along with shortages of fuel, cooking gas and medicines. Many people are resorting to emergency coping strategies, such as withdrawing their children from school or selling their assets. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC will support the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society to provide livelihoods and basic needs assistance, as well as safe drinking water and hygiene services, to 500,000 of the most vulnerable people
Angola: Hunger crisis
Angola is facing its worst recorded drought in 40 years, with southern provinces experiencing the fifth consecutive year of drought conditions. The drought has led to poor harvests, depleted reserves, loss of livestock and rising food prices—with an estimated 1.58 million people now facing high levels of acute food insecurity. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC will support the Angola Red Cross to save lives, reverse the deterioration of food security and nutrition, and improve the resilience of affected populations in the hardest hit areas.
Niger: Food insecurity crisis
In Niger, more than four million people are facing the devastating effects of food insecurity caused by several failed rainy seasons and decades of increasing desertification of the Sahel region. People are struggling to access food and are exposed to many other threats, including climate-related disasters, epidemics and insecurity—all of which are leading to population movement and increased competition for resources. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC will support the Niger Red Cross to save the lives and protect the livelihoods of the most food-insecure people through cash assistance, support to farmers, and nutrition.
Everyone Counts Report 2022