Americas: IFRC launches regional plan to provide 2.2 million migrants and displaced people with humanitarian assistance and protection

People wait to be treated at the Humanitarian Services Point

February 2021 – The Panama Red Cross supports people in the mobile Humanitarian Service Point in Lajas Blancas, Darien.

Photo: Susana Arroyo Barrantes, IFRC

Panama City, 23 May 2022 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched today a four-year plan to extend its assistance and protection to migrants and displaced people along the migratory routes of greatest complexity, risk and humanitarian concern in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

This new plan brings together Red Cross Societies in 22* countries across the Americas that will work with the IFRC to support over 2.2 million people in Central America, the Caribbean and the Andean and Southern Cone regions between 2022 and 2025. The Red Cross network will continue to focus its response on women, children, the elderly, the disabled and LGBTQI migrants regardless of their legal status. This plan will also support returnees and host communities. 

Martha Keays, IFRC Regional Director for the Americas, said: 

“In recent years, we have supported people on the move all across the Americas, and we have witnessed the marks left by migration and displacement on the bodies, minds, and lives of millions of people. The response to their needs, which continue to be unmet despite the efforts of multiple stakeholders, must be agile, effective, innovative, and, above all, humane and dignified. This is what the Red Cross does, all while prioritizing attention along the routes where migrants and displaced persons face bureaucratic barriers, hostile climates, stigma, discrimination, violence, insecurity, and even loss of life.” 

At the core of IFRC’s route-based approach is its network of Humanitarian Service Points. These are neutral, safe spaces—whether fixed or mobile—where the Red Cross provides health care, psychosocial support, and information, among other services.  With migration flows increasing due to the socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, continuing political crises, disasters, and pre-existing inequalities and vulnerabilities in the region, this model continues to save lives and reduce suffering along migratory pathways. 

The main areas of intervention include providing first aid, primary health, nutrition, water and sanitation services, and implementing cash and voucher assistance for health, food, rent and other essential needs. Campaigning for inclusion and against xenophobia, establishing safe referral systems for migrants and victims, and improving the information management supporting migrant needs and migratory flows will also be priority activities. 

The plan aims to improve the preparedness system in cross-border areas, promote educational services in host communities, increase participatory processes at local levels and foster livelihoods through capacities development in sync with market needs.  

The IFRC is appealing for 99.7 million Swiss francs (USD 100.99 million) to implement this four-year plan that will complement the millions of humanitarian services the organization has provided for migrants in the Americas since 2018. 

The American continent is home to nearly 73 million migrants and displaced persons from different origins and backgrounds. In 2021 in Panama alone, migrants from more than 40 countries crossed the perilous Darién Gap. They arrived mainly from Haiti, Cuba, Chile, Brazil and Venezuela, from where more than six million people have left since 2017. Others came from Asian and African nations such as Angola, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. 

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*IFRC's 2022-2025 plan on migration and displacement will be implemented in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica Panama, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Venezuela, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Guayana, Jamaica, Suriname, Belize and Trinidad & Tobago. 

 

For more information and to set up interviews, contact: 

In Latin America and the Caribbean:  
Susana Arroyo Barrantes [email protected] +507 69993199 

In Geneva:  
Anna Tuson [email protected] +41 79 8956924