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.
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]
Somalia: Likelihood of famine will increase by an estimated 25 per cent if displaced people don’t get the help they need
Nairobi/Geneva, 19 December 2022 - Somalia’s worst drought in 40 years is forcing more and more people to leave their homes in search of food security and greener pastures for livestock. Without special attention to displaced people, the likelihood of famine will increase by about 25 percent, according to estimations by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The ongoing hunger crisis in Somalia does not yet meet the threshold for a famine categorization, according to the latest report by theIntegrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC)—the international organization responsible for monitoring global hunger—but the situation is likely worsen in the coming months. IPC forecasts famine between April and June 2023 in parts of Somalia. Mohammed Mukhier, IFRC’s regional director for Africa explained: “Displacement is one of the four major factors, or ‘threat multipliers for famine’, in Somalia. The other three factors include worsening drought, increasing food prices and fighting. Addressing the unique needs of displaced people efficiently will reduce the probability of famine significantly.” Over one million people have been forced to leave their homes as the hunger crisis rages—and this number is expected to rise. The increasing number of displaced people in already overcrowded temporary settlements will limit access to clean water, sanitation, nutrition and health services. Further, although some displaced people live with their friends and relatives, this arrangement puts additional strain on host families, who share their limited food reserves with guests. Providing displaced people with tailormade humanitarian assistance is one of the most efficient ways of protecting host families from slipping into hunger themselves, while at the same time ensuring people on the move meet their nutritional needs. Bringing humanitarian assistance to families who are continually on the move is one of the greatest challenges aid workers face. One of the methods used by Somali Red Crescent teams, supported by the IFRC, is to reach nomadic communities with mobile clinicsto provide basic health services in remote regions of the country. Some of the urgent actions needed to reduce the likelihood of famine include the strengthening of health and nutrition services, cash assistance and shelter. Mukhier added: “We reiterate our call to prioritize the growing hunger crisis in Somalia, the country’s worst drought in 40 years. As an organisation, our focus is on displaced people, because of our unique ability to reach them with assistance.” The Somali Red Crescent Society has a countrywide network of branches and a large number of volunteers in all parts of the country. It also has a wide network of health facilities. Red Crescent teams’ focus is on delivering cash to families to meet their food, health and other urgent needs. Cash gives people the freedom to choose what they need most to help their families stay healthy and is more convenient for nomadic communities who would otherwise need to carry in-kind aid with them as they move. According to IPC, the April-June 2023 rainy season is likely to be below normal and there is a 62 per cent probability that cumulative rainfall will be within the lowest tercile. This will represent the sixth season of below-average rainfall. Food prices will also remain high, and insecurity will limit access to markets and will impede humanitarian assistance. Displaced people will be among the most affected. For more information, please contact: In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe, +254 735 437 906, [email protected] In Dakar: Moustapha DIALLO, +221 77 450 10 04 [email protected] In Geneva: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803 [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.
Global Plan 2023