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.
Geneva, 30 January 2023—No earthquake, drought or hurricane in recorded history has claimed more lives than the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the world’s largest disaster response network, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The shocking death toll—estimated at more than 6.5 million people—has inspired the humanitarian organization to take a deep dive into how countries can prepare for the next global health emergency. Two groundbreaking reports released by the IFRC today, the World Disasters Report and the Everyone Counts Report, offer insights into successes and challenges over the past three years—and make recommendations for how leaders can mitigate tragedies of this magnitude in the future. Jagan Chapagain, IFRC’s Secretary General, remarks: “The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for the global community to prepare now for the next health crisis. Our recommendations to world leaders center around building trust, tackling inequality, and leveraging local actors and communities to perform lifesaving work. The next pandemic could be just around the corner; if the experience of COVID-19 won’t quicken our steps toward preparedness, what will?” The IFRC network reached more than 1.1 billion people over the past three years to help keep them safe from the virus. During that time, a theme that emerged repeatedly was the importance of trust. When people trusted safety messages, they were willing to comply with public health measures that sometimes separated them from their loved ones in order to slow the spread of the disease and save lives. Similarly, it was only possible to vaccinate millions of people in record time when most of them trusted that the vaccines were safe and effective. Those responding to crises cannot wait until the next time to build trust. It must be cultivated through genuinely two-way communication, proximity, and consistent support over time. In the course of their work, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams documented how the COVID-19 pandemic both thrived on and exacerbated inequalities. Poor sanitation, overcrowding, lack of access to health and social services, and malnutrition create conditions for diseases to spread faster and further. The world must address inequitable health and socio-economic vulnerabilities far in advance of the next crisis. In its Everyone Counts Report—which surveyed National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from nearly every country in the world—the IFRC found that teams were able to quickly respond to the pandemic because they were already present in communities and many of them had engaged in preparedness efforts, had prior experience responding to epidemics, and were strong auxiliaries to their local authorities. “Community-based organizations are an integral part of pandemic preparedness and response. Local actors and communities, as frontline responders, have distinct but equally important roles to play in all phases of disease outbreak management. Their local knowledge needs to be leveraged for greater trust, access, and resilience,” states Mr. Chapagain. “It has been a brutal three years, but we are releasing this research and making recommendations in an act of hope: The global community can learn lessons and do justice to this tragedy by being better prepared for future health emergencies.” The World Disasters Report offers six essential actions to prepare more effectively for future public health emergencies. The Everyone Counts Report highlights the need for accurate and relevant data in pandemic preparedness and response. Both are available to practitioners, leaders, and the public. Note to editors: Photos and b-roll available here Media contact: In Geneva: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803 [email protected]
Malawi, 25 January 2023—Malawi is currently facing its worst cholera outbreak in two decades, with over 29,000 cases reported and more than 900 people dead. The Malawi Red Cross, in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and in-country partners—Danish Red Cross-led consortium and Swiss Red Cross—is scaling up its cholera response to assist over two million people. Since the first recorded case in February 2022, cases have continued to spread, with all 29 districts affected. Cholera is now putting over 10 million people at risk, including more than five million children. “Malawi Red Cross Society is committed to continue supporting the Government of Malawi in responding to the cholera outbreak and other health emergencies. We are grateful to the IFRC and other Movement partners for continued finance and technical assistance to the MRCS Cholera response plan,” said McBain Kanongodza, Secretary General for the Malawi Red Cross Society. According to the Malawi Ministry of Health’s cholera update on 22 January 2023, over 29,364 cases and 960 fatalities were reported, leaving the fatality rate at 3.27 per cent, which is considerably higher than the acceptable rate of less than 1 per cent set by WHO. The Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) is already providing lifesaving treatment at the community level by administering Oral Rehydration Therapy. Volunteers ensure that water supplies are safe and that sanitation facilities are working. They also go door-to-door to raise awareness on preventing the disease from spreading. With the rainy season underway, it is crucial that people take precautions to protect themselves and their families. “We have been monitoring the developments on the ground since the first cases, and we are deeply concerned that this outbreak has taken a foothold in every corner of Malawi. We need to support the joint efforts of the MOH and Malawi Red Cross in their response to this devastating situation. As the outbreak worsens, partnerships are crucial to ensure lives are saved,” said John Roche, Head of IFRC’s Delegation for Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The IFRC and its membership are launching an Emergency Appeal seeking 5.2 million Swiss francs, which will help the Malawi Red Cross reach a further 1,385,391 people in need of assistance. Malawi Red Cross and its partners with the IFRC aim to target 15 affected districts, with the core objectives being to prevent and control the spread of the outbreak, reduce morbidity and mortality due to cholera and improve the availability of safe water and sanitation facilities, through continued support to communities and district health offices. For more information, please contact: In Lilongwe: Felix Washon, +265 999 95 57 21, [email protected] In Harare: Ella Mcsharry, +263 78 689 3350, [email protected] In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe, +254 731 688 613, [email protected] In Geneva: Marie Claudet, +1 202 999 8689, [email protected]
Last year ‘eighth in a row’ of temperatures above pre-industrial level, threatening Paris target of 1.5°C
This article was originally posted on the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre website here. The past eight years were the warmest on record globally, fuelled by “ever-rising emissions and accumulated heat”, according to six international datasets consolidated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and explained yesterday. The WMO says the global temperature last year was 1.15°C above an 1850–1900 baseline, and 2022 was the eighth year in a row that it reached at least 1°C above pre-industrial levels, apress releasefrom Geneva said. “The likelihood of – temporarily – breaching the 1.5°C limit of the Paris Agreement is increasing with time,” it added. The persistence of a coolingLa Niña, now in its third year, means that 2022 was not the warmest on record, but at least the sixth warmest nevertheless. The WMO work shows a ten-year global average to 2022 of 1.14°C above the 19th century baseline, compared to the IPCC’s most recent figure 1.09°C for the decade to 2020, indicating that long-term warming continues. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said yesterday: “In 2022, we faced several dramatic weather disasters which claimed far too many lives and livelihoods and undermined health, food, energy and water security and infrastructure. “Large areas of Pakistan were flooded, with major economic losses and human casualties. Record-breaking heatwaves have been observed in China, Europe, North and South America [and] drought in the Horn of Africa threatens a humanitarian catastrophe. “There is a need to enhance preparedness for such extreme events and to ensure that we meet the UN target of early warnings for all in the next five years.” The WMO said its provisionalState of the Global Climate in 2022report speaks of “record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere”, continuing to cause extreme heatwaves, drought and devastating floods, and affecting millions of people. Responding to the latest figures on global temperature, IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said: “People around the globe are feeling the effects of our warming climate, and scientific data continues to reinforce this terrifying reality. Inclusive climate action, led by those most at risk, is key to combating the climate crisis. "The window to implement life-saving adaptation measures is slowly closing, but there is still time to help communities adapt to climate-related disasters, including investments in early warning systems that reach everyone.” Last September, the IFRC unveiled aOne Fund, Two Pillarsapproach for its Disaster Response Emergency Fund, reflecting an increased commitment to anticipatory action. Temperature rankings of individual years should be considered in the long-term context since the differences between years can be marginal, the WMO press release added. “Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one. This is expected to continue.”
Nukualofa/Suva, 13 January 2023 – One year since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that cut off Tonga from the rest of the world, homes are being rebuilt for over 200 displaced families. The complex process of rebuilding shattered communities, devastated from the triple disasters of the Volcano, its resultant Tsunami and then a first wave of the COVID Pandemic, has also included cleaning water supplies polluted with ash, re-establishing lost livelihoods and providing cash assistance for people with disabilities and those displaced from their damaged homes. Tonga Red Cross Society has been working with a variety of partners – including the Tongan government to support displaced households, some of whom – one year later are still seeking shelter with families, friends and in church halls. Secretary-General of Tonga Red Cross Society, Sione Taumoefolau, said: "The disaster continues to make its presence felt in the lives of all of us in Tonga, but especially those on the outer islands, where communities were flattened, and fragile livelihoods destroyed. "We must continue to strengthen our efforts to help the most vulnerable among us, many of whom are still without homes. "Working alongside our Red Cross partners, we are determined to stand with the most affected communities as they undertake the long process of rebuilding their lives." Tonga Red Cross has been distributing cash voucher assistance to most affected households both in Tongatapu, and outer island groups of Ha’apai and ‘Eua. Teams have also been working with a variety of stakeholder groups to assist people with disabilities, including families and students of ‘Ofa Tui moe Amanaki disability school. In an innovative pilot project of Tonga Red Cross working alongside the government and the Nomuka community, a cash for work project saw equipment and financial support provided to assist community members in cleaning debris from their fresh-water lake. With access to clean and safe drinking water a priority, Red Cross has also undertaken a number of water projects, including the installation of water filters in affected communities. Tonga Red Cross has also been providing much needed psychological first aid training and as a result - it is only just now, one year on, that people are beginning to talk more freely about the events of that day and revealing some of the trauma they felt and how they are coping. Head of the IFRC Pacific Office, Katie Greenwood, said: “A disaster of this scale requires a coordinated effort between local, national and international actors. Our Red Cross partners have been an important part of this, coordinating closely with response and recovery efforts at the community level. “Given the magnitude of this disaster, it will continue to take some time to rebuild and get things back to normal. IFRC will be right there with Tonga Red Cross every step of the way.” For more information or to arrange a media interview, contact: In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected]
Kuala Lumpur / Geneva, 26 December 2022 - Every day, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) supports thousands of people in Afghanistan to cope with disasters, hunger, and access to health care. At the heart of these services are women and girls: as recipients, designers, and deliverers. They are the centre of our work. Women are the main clients of the primary health services supported through the Afghanistan Red Crescent Society. Female medical staff make these services possible as doctors, nurses, midwives, and outreach workers. Women lead the vocational training and care and support for destitute women in our Marastoon centres across the country. Women are critical to how we design and monitor services for women and girls. They should not, and cannot, be replaced by male colleagues. IFRC is extremely concerned by the recent announcements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) suspending women’s access to higher education and to work in national and international non-governmental organisations. It is not clear yet how these announcements will apply to the IFRC. We remain committed to gender diversity, to our female colleagues and to service continuity involving female colleagues. That is how we reach communities and the most vulnerable across the country. We will represent this commitment to the authorities. However, whatever the direct effect of the announcements on our work, such exclusion is devastating for the country in the short term and long term. Its impact on those in need of humanitarian services will be appalling. We urge the authorities to consider this impact and to find solutions that enable continuity of life-saving assistance across Afghanistan, in the interests of women and girls, and of all Afghans. For more information, contact: Afrhill Rances, +60 19 271 3641 [email protected] Rachel Punitha, +60 19 791 3830, [email protected]
Malawi: Cholera outbreak
Malawi is battling its worst cholera outbreak in two decades. Initially limited to the southern part of the country in early 2022, the outbreak has since spread country-wide, putting at risk more than 10 million people - including more than five million children. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC is supporting the Malawi Red Cross in its life-saving cholera prevention and control efforts across 15 priority districts. Activities include providing safe water, setting up sanitation facilities, and promoting good hygiene practices in cholera hotspots.
Unprecedented torrential rains in Chad since early August 2022 have caused significant damage to houses, key infrastructure and agricultural land in the capital, N'Djamena, and surrounding provinces. Nearly 750,000 people have been affected by the floods, and communities are at a high risk of water-borne diseases, particularly cholera, due to a lack of appropriate hygiene and sanitation in areas of displacement. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC is supporting the Chad Red Cross to provide shelter, livelihoods, health, water, sanitation, hygiene and protection services to affected people.
Nigeria is experiencing the worst flooding in at least a decade. The floods have damaged homes, infrastructure and large areas of farmland across the country. More than 600 people have died and an estimated 2.8 million people have been affected, many of whom have been displaced from their communities.Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC is supporting the Nigeria Red Cross Society to reach 500,000 affected people with multi-purpose cash assistance, health services, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support, and emergency shelter assistance.
Africa: Hunger crisis
Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing one of the most alarming food crises in decades—immense in both its severity and geographic scope.Roughly 146 million people are suffering from acute food insecurity and require urgent humanitarian assistance. The crisis is driven by a range of local and global factors, including insecurity and armed conflict, extreme weather events, climate variability and negative macroeconomic impacts. Through this regional Emergency Appeal, the IFRC is supporting many Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies across Africa to protect the lives, livelihoods and prospects of millions of people.
Cuba: Hurricane Ian
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Pinar Del Rio province, Cuba in the early hours of 27 September—battering large swathes of western Cuba and causing heavy damage to infrastructure, housing, agriculture, electricity, and telecommunications services. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC is supporting the Cuban Red Cross to help 5,000 families whose houses were significantly damaged. Humanitarian assistance includes emergency shelter, health and care services, safe water, hygiene supplies, and protection services.
World Disasters Report 2022