Red Cross Red Crescent reaching 1.5 million people on the move in MENA, yet millions are left without support

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Middle East and North Africa have set up Humanitarian Service Points aiming to provide essential services to vulnerable people on the move, irrespective of their legal status. In Egypt, the Service Points include mobile medical clinics and setting up community centres popular with the migrant community. Migrants waiting for the mobile clinic medical services in Cairo in September 2021.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Middle East and North Africa have set up Humanitarian Service Points aiming to provide essential services to vulnerable people on the move, irrespective of their legal status. In Egypt, the Service Points include mobile medical clinics and setting up community centres popular with the migrant community. Migrants waiting for the mobile clinic medical services in Cairo in September 2021.

Photo: Fabrizio Anzolini / IFRC

Beirut, 16 December 2021 – Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies are reaching more than 1.5 million migrants, refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Middle East and North Africa, yet the number of people on the move left without essential support is colossal, a report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has found.

Ahead of International Migrants Day on 18 December, the IFRC is calling for a stronger commitment to support people on the move during their journey, not only once they have managed to reach their planned destination – if they ever do.

Fabrizio Anzolini, Migration Regional Advisor for IFRC MENA, said:

“Countless migrants face inhumane conditions along their way, including violence, lack of food, shelter and access to health services. Climate change and conflicts are only expected to accelerate the number of people migrating out of the region in the coming months and years. We need to act right now on the routes and advocating for durable solutions.”

The region, with more than 40 million migrants and 14 million internally displaced people, has some of the world’s longest protracted conflicts, combined with frequent natural disasters, man-made crises and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Regional hotspots include the population movement from Afghanistan to Iran, the migration flows from Morocco, Tunisia and Libya to Europe, the extensive number of internally displaced persons in Syria, as well as the route from the Horn of Africa to Yemen, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. 

Rania Ahmed, IFRC MENA Deputy Regional Director, said:

“Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are reaching more than 1.5 million migrants and displaced people in the Middle East and North Africa, but it is not enough. We need bigger investment and greater long-term commitment to address their plight. We need to mobilize all efforts and resources to ensure people on the move receive humanitarian assistance and protection. Migrants and displaced populations are intensely vulnerable and must be included in COVID-19 prevention, response, and recovery plans. We urge governments to ensure that people on the move have equal access to vaccinations, health care and basic services.”

With the engagement of the IFRC, Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the MENA region are on the frontline attempting to cover the enormous gap between people’s needs and the support that is available for them. Red Cross and Red Crescent teams provide multidisciplinary assistance, including health services, livelihood support, protection for children and victims of violence, mental health, and psychosocial support, as well as cash assistance. These support services are also widely available to host communities, leaving no one behind.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies remain committed to continue responding to the needs of migrants and displaced people as well as advocating for the support that they need at country, regional and global levels through evidence-based humanitarian diplomacy. However, their continued activities are hampered by shrinking funding. In addition, access to migrants is often limited, especially in conflict zones and due to restrictions put in place to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can access the full report here: MENA Red Cross and Red Crescent Activities on Migration and Displacement – Snapshot 2021. The survey includes responses from twelve Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Middle East and North Africa.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

In Geneva: Rana Sidani Cassou, +41 766715751 / +33 675945515, [email protected]

In Beirut: Jani Savolainen, +961 70372812 / +358 504667831, [email protected]