Israel / Palestine conflict: our response so far
As the escalation of hostilities in Israel and Palestine enters its second month, the conflict continues to take the lives of civilians, disrupt the delivery of life-saving medical care, interrupt critical services that people rely on to survive, and leave families grieving the loss of loved ones.
The IFRC has called on all parties for humanitarian access across Gaza and West Bank, the release of hostages, the protection of civilians, hospitals and humanitarian workers from indiscriminate attack and compliance with international humanitarian law.
Among those killed have been humanitarian aid and health workers who lost their lives while trying to save others, as well as people seeking safety and care at health facilities.
IFRC and National Society response
Meanwhile, IFRC member National Societies in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories continue to respond to urgent humanitarian needs and to provide life-saving assistance and other essential services. The IFRC, meanwhile, is supporting its National Societies Magen David Adom in Israel and the Palestinian Red Crescent in their on-going, live-saving work.
Magen David Adom in Israel (MDA) has been supporting affected communities since the beginning, with ambulance and medical services on call 24/7. Staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly, putting their lives and well-being in harm's way to tend to the wounded and deceased. A total of 1,500 ambulances and 10,000 first responders (EMTs and paramedics) have been mobilized. Since 7 October, they have treated over 4.000 patients.
These staff members and volunteers have been working under difficult and dangerous circumstances. Tragically, several volunteers and staff have died in line of duty, killed while treating patients. Several others also suffered major or minor injuries while on duty. Ambulances have also come under attack at various times during the hostilities.
The MDA has also supported the Ministry of Health in the transfer of patients and the evacuation of bed-ridden people close to the border. MDA is also helping communities prepare in case of further escalation. For example, the National Society offers free, first-aid training focusing on trauma care. It has also gathered, tested and processed over 50,000 units of blood to supply ambulances, mobile intensive care units, hospitals and clinics.
As the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated – with little humanitarian aid reaching impacted communities – Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCRS) teams are working around the clock in extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances. Already, several PRCS volunteers have been killed in the escalating violence. Meanwhile, there are drastic shortages of critical basic necessities, such as fuel, water, food and medical supplies.
Despite the challenges, PRCS has continued to provide critical, life-saving care. In the Gaza Strip, the PRCS has provided emergency medical care to more than 8,800 injured people as of 4 November. PRCS ambulance crews have also transported more than 2,800 people killed since the escalation began.
PRCS’s Al-Quds hospital in Gaza city has cared for 1,061 injured people and taken in long-term patients from the main hospital. The National Society’s Al Amal hospital in Khan Younis has cared for 873 injured people as of 4 November and has also taken in long-term patients from the main government-run hospital.
This life-saving work is being done in the face of regular power and communications blackouts as well as the extreme danger posed by the on-going conflict. PRCS teams have reported shelling very close to their hospitals, ambulance center, main warehouse, and headquarters causing injuries, damaging the buildings and restricting access to the hospitals. Eight ambulances are inoperable due to severe damage, according to PRCS. Al Quds hospital, meanwhile, has continued operation despite demands that it be evacuated.
Meanwhile, PRCS staff have distributed relief items to more than 60,000 internally displaced families in temporary shelters and at their hospitals. Aid items include food parcels, milk, blankets, mattresses, water as well as some hygiene kits, kitchen sets, and baby necessities.
In the West Bank, PRCS has provided emergency medical care to more than 2,300 injured people. Ambulance crews have also transported 49 people killed in the fighting.
Aid delivery to Gaza so far
On 21 October, the first 20 humanitarian aid trucks were allowed to cross the border from Egypt into the Gaza strip. The Rafah border crossing — a key lifeline for essential goods into the Gaza strip — had been closed since the escalation of violence on 7 October.
Since the border was re-opened, 756 trucks carrying food, water, relief items, medicine and medical supplies have been allowed in as of 9 November – an average of 33 trucks per day. The aid that has been received is only a drop in the ocean considering the immense needs of Gaza’s two million people. So far no fuel has been allowed to enter the Gaza strip. The aid deliveries were coordinated by the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC) the only relief organization with access to North Sinai, including the Rafah border crossing.
New humanitarian flights
On 7 November, two new European Union Humanitarian Air Bridge flights for the people of Gaza took off from Ostend, Belgium and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, transporting almost 115 tonnes of assistance supplies to al-Arish, Egypt, near the Rafah Border Crossing Point.
The flights were organised through a coordination platform managed by the EU and the IFRC. The cargo from Dubai carried logistical items such as refrigerators and containers, a crucial element for the treatment of aid arriving in Egypt and Gaza. These items were purchased by the EU and donated to the World Food Programme in order to strengthen the logistical capacity of the Egyptian Red Crescent and to facilitate relief operations in the region.
Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt
In view of the scale of likely needs and in order to complement the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS)’s response efforts outlined in their appeal, the IFRC will enhance the capacities to respond through an Emergency Appeal by coordinating the response in neighbouring countries to the occupied Palestine Territories.
The IFRC will be supporting – in close coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - the response of its membership, as significant humanitarian actors in their own geographies, and strengthen their organizational capacities. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC and its membership seek CHF 30 million (CHF 20 million of which is expected to be raised by the IFRC Secretariat) to support the Lebanese Red Cross, Egyptian Red Crescent, Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Jordanian Red Crescent in preparing and strengthening their response readiness to the potential escalation of hostilities in the region and subsequent humanitarian needs.
On 13, October, the IFRC also allocated CHF 1 million from its Disaster Emergency Relief Fund to support a wide range of humanitarian assistance in the occupied Palestinian territories impacted by the hostilities.
The highest price
Since the escalation of hostilities began on 7 October, the IFRC has decried the fact that civilians are paying the “highest price” in the hostilities and has called on all parties to allow humanitarian organizations to safely access and support people impacted by the crisis.
In a joint statement on 14 October, IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain and ICRC Director General Robert Mardini said they were “appalled to see the human misery that has unfolded” and that “civilians - including women and children, the elderly, and the wounded and sick - are currently paying the highest price.”
“Human suffering is happening on all sides,” the statement said. “And it is always devastating. The death of a son or daughter, a sibling, a parent, is a human tragedy no matter where it happens or who it happens to. Civilian life must be protected on all sides.”
“We call on all parties to exercise restraint, to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, and to protect civilians – which must remain at the core of everything we do,” they wrote, stressing the critical need for all parties to respect and facilitate impartial and neutral humanitarian assistance to all those impacted by the violence.
The IFRC governing board, which includes National Society leaders from all parts of the globe, also expressed its shock and horror at the “growing humanitarian needs and the mounting loss of life” in a special statement released on 20 October.
“This situation underscores the critical importance of access to all civilians, including those held hostage,” the statement continued. “We urge all parties involved to prioritize the safety and well-being of civilians and to commit to ensuring rapid, safe, and unimpeded access, including the opening of the Rafah border crossing, for humanitarian organizations to provide essential humanitarian assistance and ensure protection.”
If you are a journalist and would like more information or to request an interview about this emergency, please email [email protected].
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@elsharkawi - IFRC MENA Regional Director, Hossam Elsharkawi
Middle East: Complex emergency crisis
The dramatic escalation of hostilities in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories since October 7 has left millions of people living in fear, interrupted critical services that people rely on to survive, and left families on both sides grieving the loss of loved ones. The humanitarian needs are immense and the situation is expected to deteriorate as more people are displaced by the fighting. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC and its membership seek CHF 30 million (CHF 20 million of which is expected to be raised by the IFRC Secretariat) to support the Lebanese Red Cross, Egyptian Red Crescent, Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Jordanian Red Crescent in preparing and strengthening their readiness and response. View the appeal document in Arabic here.
| Press release
IFRC welcomes first aid into Gaza but says much more is needed
Geneva, 21 October 2023:The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is very pleased that the Rafah border crossing from Egypt into Gaza was opened briefly on Saturday morning.
Twenty is a tiny number of trucks given the needs in Gaza, but it is better than nothing and represents hope. We now call on all parties to allow in further vehicles to ensure regular aid into Gaza, where it is desperately needed.
On the trucks were medicines and food. The life-saving supplies were provided by the Egyptian Red Crescent and the United Nations and received by the Palestine Red Crescent with the support of the United Nations.
We ask that further aid includes fuel for hospitals as well as water. We also ask that safe passage is ensured so that aid can be delivered wherever in Gaza it is needed most.
Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the IFRC said:
“We’re grateful that the Egyptian and Palestine Red Crescent societies have been able to help get the first humanitarian supplies into Gaza. But the ongoing humanitarian needs in Gaza are immense. Much more aid will be needed to meet them.”
Marwan Jilani, the Director General of the Palestine Red Crescent said: “The operation went relatively well but this is just a drop in the ocean relative to the needs of Gaza. The Egyptian Red Crescent has many trucks that are packed - they are loaded - and they are waiting to get into Gaza anytime we are given the green light to go. From the Palestine Red Crescent side, we are ready to receive.”
For further details or interview requests please contact [email protected]
Andrew Thomas: +41 76 3676587
Caroline Haga: +358 505980500 / +961 70 483 543
Our Resilient and Empowered African Community Health (REACH) initiative, in partnership with Africa CDC, aims to improve the health of communities across Africa by scaling upeffective, people-centred and integrated community health workforces and systems.
| Press release
Sudan: Critical funding needed urgently to continue aid to people affected by conflict
Khartoum/Nairobi/Cairo/Beirut/Geneva, 2 June 2023 – In its seventh week, the conflict in Sudan has depleted the resources of the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS), prompting the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to double its Emergency Appeal to 60 million Swiss francs. It is also launching a second regional appeal of 42 million Swiss francs to support the influx of people fleeing to neighboring countries.
SRCS Secretary General Aida Elsayed said:
“Without this support, the people of Sudan will suffer grave humanitarian impacts as they will simply not be able to meet their basic needs and the consequences will be severe. The fighting shows no signs of slowing down and the human toll continues to grow every day."
“If funded, this revised appeal will mean SRCS can continue with evacuations, provision of water, food, shelter, first aid and psychological support as well as reuniting families. It will surely mean the difference between life and death for many people. It will certainly be a deciding factor in whether countless families experience extreme suffering.”
Shortages of medicine, food, water and fuel, destruction of hospitals, residential buildings, energy and water infrastructure as well as the risks of death and injury due to the fighting and lack of access to cash means people are not able to access essential goods and services or move to safety.
With 40,000 volunteers in 18 branches around the country, SRCS is the largest humanitarian organization on the ground in Sudan and has so far provided more than 40,000 meals and food parcels, 24,000 first aid and medical treatments, and evacuated 740 wounded people. SRCS is also conducting safe and dignified burials for those who lost their lives.
“While our SRCS volunteers have been working tirelessly to help people since the start of the conflict despite the dangers and the fact that they and their own families are also affected, much more is needed. But this will only be possible if we receive the funding. Without it, we are leaving the people of Sudan to face impossible situations that many may not survive,” said Ms Elsayed.
Nine million people have been affected by the conflict in a country where 11.7 million people were already in need of food and livelihood assistance.
“With these pre-existing vulnerabilities and lifesaving food aid almost completely stopped, the consequences will be disastrous for families relying on this assistance,” said Ms Elsayed.
The new Regional Population Movement Appeal will support the humanitarian response activities of National Societies in the neighboring countries of Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Ethiopia and Libya.
IFRC Regional Director for Africa Mohammed Mukhier said:
“More than 330,000 people have fled the devastating conflict in Sudan seeking safety in neighboring countries. The situation is extremely volatile and as the conflict continues, the movement across borders will only increase. These were already vulnerable people, with the majority women and children, and a significant number are fleeing violence for a second time having been displaced from camps in Sudan.”
Outside Sudan the presence of Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies staff and volunteers at border points is crucial. They are operating Humanitarian Service Points to provide people fleeing the conflict with essential services such as psychosocial support, medication, first aid, food and sim cards as well as restoring family links.
For more information or to request an interview, please contact: [email protected]
Rita Nyaga, +254 110 837 154, [email protected]
Susan Cullinan, +61 457 527 197, [email protected]
In Beirut: Mey el Sayegh, +96176174468, [email protected]
Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924
Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 4367
Sudan crisis: Regional population movement
The ongoing conflict in Sudan has led hundreds of thousands of people—many of whom are women, children and older people—to flee the countryto find safety across borders. Those arriving in neighbouring countries have experienced dire humanitarian conditions. Many have been caught in the crossfire and struggled to access food, water, and health services for some time. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC is supporting Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR), Ethiopia and Libya to provide essential humanitarian assistance to people fleeing Sudan.
| Press release
Migration and displacement crisis in MENA: Responding to the basic needs of people on the move
Beirut, September 12, 2022 - The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with more than 40 million migrants and 14 million internally displaced persons, has some of the world’s longest protracted conflicts, combined with frequent natural disasters, man-made crises, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Ukraine conflict has added another layer of complexity.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has joined forces with three Red Crescent societies in the region to address the basic needs of people on the move, including refugees, migrants, and internally displaced persons.
Fabrizio Anzolini, the IFRC’s regional migration advisor for the MENA, said: “The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement approaches migration and displacement from a purely humanitarian perspective, without encouraging or discouraging it. However, we do respond to the needs of people on the move.”
As part of IFRC’s efforts to support more than 4,000 people on the move, the IFRC has signed three project agreements on migration and displacement in the region since July.
The agreements with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the Egyptian Red Crescent, and the Algerian Red Crescent were established in the framework of the IFRC’s ‘Humanitarian assistance and protection for people on the move.
This three-year programme focuses on humanitarian assistance to migrants, displaced people, and host communities on the migration routes of greatest humanitarian concern spanning Africa, the Middle East, and Europe and involves 34 Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies.
The agreement with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent aims to improve the livelihoods of internally displaced persons, returnees, and host communities in Syria, while the agreement with the Algerian Red Crescent was developed to improve the living standards and reduce the vulnerability of migrants, refugees and displaced persons in Algeria.
The agreement with the Egyptian Red Crescent focuses on providing comprehensive and structured support to children on the move and the community by establishing community schools and ensuring access to basic humanitarian services.
“This example of collaboration and coordination with other Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies would not have been possible without the support of the Italian Red Cross, which played a crucial role in facilitating the establishment of these three agreements,” Anzolini added.
Rania Ahmed, IFRC’s deputy regional director in the MENA, said: “The IFRC's attempts to make a difference in the migration and displacement crises in the Middle East and North Africa are at a critical juncture. Until long-term sustainable solutions are in place, we ensure that people on the move have access to health services and psychosocial support, and offer protection to children and victims of violence, as well as livelihood support and cash assistance.”
Ahmed added that as the link between climate change and the displacement of the most vulnerable is becoming more obvious by the day, “IFRC is eager to bring this issue to the states’ attention during the upcoming COP 27 Conference in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt”.
For more information, please contact
IFRC-MENA: Mey Al Sayegh, Head of Communications,
Mobile: +961 03229352,
E-mail: [email protected]
Kuwaiti Red Crescent and Egyptian Red Crescent support people fleeing Ukraine
Since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine, Kuwait Red Crescent Society and Egyptian Red Crescent Society teams have rushed to provide humanitarian relief to the neighbouring countries of Ukraine. The Kuwaiti Red Crescent has provided food, medical aid, and necessary supplies to fleeing people affected by the conflict. While the Egyptian Red Crescent has assisted and evacuated Egyptians from Poland and Romania, and provided humanitarian support to others affected alike, including Arabic-speaking people.
Dr. Hilal Al Sayer, President of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) said after meeting his Polish counterpart, Jery Bisek: “Kuwaiti aid includes medicines, medical supplies, food, milk for children and other necessities, and it reflects the Kuwaiti leadership and people’s solidarity with affected people living under such difficult circumstances.”
Al-Sayer affirmed his country’s keenness to participate in humanitarian relief in all parts of the world, in line with the Kuwaiti humanitarian obligations. He stressed the need to further explore all ways to enhance cooperation and joint coordination to help alleviate the suffering of refugees from Ukraine, with partner organizations in the humanitarian field and with the Polish Red Cross.
In turn, the President of the Polish Red Cross expressed his appreciation and gratitude after a Kuwaiti military aid plane loaded with relief materials and medical aid, estimated at 33.5 tons, arrived at Warsaw Airport in Poland.
Bisek said: “The Kuwaiti Red Crescent is one of the first National Society responders that stepped in to provide the necessary support and assistance for those fleeing Ukraine”, adding that "the needs are still massive".
In parallel, the Egyptian Red Crescent Society continues to provide aid and support to the Egyptian students and families it helped evacuate safely home after they had fled to Poland and Romania.
Volunteers have worked tirelessly to ensure transportation for Egyptians fleeing from Ukraine across the borders of Poland and Romania to the airport. They also provided them with free hotel accommodation and food, travel documents, cash assistance, medical services, and psychological support.
Students and their families expressed deep gratitude to the Egyptian Red Crescent Society for standing by their side in this ordeal, meeting their needs, and ensuring their safe return to their home country.
The Egyptian Red Crescent Society, in collaboration with Polish and Romanian Red Cross Societies, has also established two relief centres at the Ukrainian-Romanian and Ukrainian-Polish borders to provide aid to Egyptians, Arabic speakers and others fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, especially women and children.
The Egyptian Red Crescent Society also published a slogan on its Facebook page “Safety and Relief Without Discrimination’.
Prior to the conflict, 6000 Egyptians lived in Ukraine, 3,000 of whom are students enrolled in the country’s universities.
| Press release
Red Cross Red Crescent humanitarian leaders agree on a road map to alleviate the suffering in MENA
Cairo, 1 March 2022 -The first ever Middle East and North Africa Humanitarian Leadership Conference will conclude today with a set of recommendations to address the increasing humanitarian challenges in the region. The conference, held under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Egypt, brought together humanitarian actors to address key humanitarian concerns in the region, home to some of the worst protracted crises in the world.
The two-day conference, organized by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Egyptian Red Crescent Society (ERCS), discussed how to enhance collaboration to alleviate human suffering and support those affected by climate change and related disasters, conflicts and health emergencies.Participants included representatives from the Egyptian Government, the World Health Organization, World Bank, International Committee of the Red Cross as well as Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies.
Dr. Nivine Al Qabbage Minister of Social Solidarity, Vice president of Egyptian Red Crescent Society said:
“We, as Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies, are the first responders to humanitarian crises in our respective countries. We meet here today with other humanitarian actors to ensure that international humanitarian coordination mechanisms are aligned and relevant as well as to develop innovative partnerships that mobilize resources to continue supporting our communities.”
The countries in the Middle East and North Africa continue to suffer from decades of extreme climate conditions, including severe heat, limited groundwater and rainfall and scarcity of agricultural and arable land, which make them particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts.
An estimated 70 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the region. Young people in particular continue to pay the price of protracted crises and disasters. The region has the highest youth unemployment rates in the world and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, leading to an average of up to 40 per cent of young women being without a job.
Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, IFRC Regional Director said:
“Even after two years, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to amplify the inequalities in the region. It is imperative that all humanitarian actors come together to better assist those most vulnerable, who too often fall between the cracks. This can only happen when we shift the leadership to truly locally led humanitarian efforts while committing to respectful partnerships focused on local priorities.”
At the end of the conference, the participants will agree on a call to action that will shape their joint humanitarian response operations during health emergencies, climate related disasters, migration and partnerships.
Participants agreed on:
Working hand in hand with nature, use nature-based solutions to enhance and/or build resilience.
Engage in the development of National Adaptation Plans since Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies are auxiliaries to their governments and can lead the climate action from the local level.
Empower youth as agents of change in changing leaders’ mindset and advocating for change and addressing the climate and environmental crises.
Proactively work to formalize and implement cross-sectoral and multi-agency partnerships that include key governmental bodies/authorities to scale up humanitarian preparedness and response focused on vulnerable communities, people on the move, protracted crises, epidemics/pandemics, and natural disasters.
Support IFRC in leading the Localization work stream, supervising the implementation of efforts aiming to make humanitarian action “as local as possible and as international as necessary”.
Continue embarking on IFRC’s strategic approach to National Society Development that aspires to strengthen National societies and their branches when it comes to quality leadership, transparent financial management, relationship with authorities and community engagement and participation.
Conduct Humanitarian diplomacy efforts to better recognize the added value of Red Cross/ Crescent National Societies through our auxiliary role to public authorities and grassroots access through volunteers.
For more information or to organize interviews:
Silvia Simon, Egyptian Red Crescent Society, [email protected], 00201227404477
Rana Cassou, IFRC MENA, [email protected], 0033675945515
| Press release
Red Cross Red Crescent reaching 1.5 million people on the move in MENA, yet millions are left without support
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]
Amman Humanitarian Declaration: Concerted efforts to help as many people as possible in Iraq, Jordan and Egypt
The Iraqi, Jordanian and Egyptian Red Crescent societies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have agreed on the "Amman Declaration," during a tripartite meeting that took place in Amman, Jordan on 11-12 August 2021. The declaration develops a model of cooperation that is consistent with local strategic orientation and with IFRC’s strategy 2030.
The partners agreed to work on a joint plan of action that addresses common challenges such as climate change, food security, livelihoods, particularly in light of the global consequences of the Covid19 pandemic on people's lives.
Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, Regional Director of IFRC MENA, said: "As partners, we are determined to adopt the best ways and mechanisms that translate our strategic visions into concrete actions on the ground. Particularly, in the fields of disaster preparedness and response, climate change, volunteer management, livelihoods and food security. We agreed to share our experiences notably in regard to working with refugees and displaced people with technical support from IFRC.”
Donor fatigue and the need to find new ways of funding was one of the topics discussed. Partners agreed to develop a joint plan of action to attract resources locally and regionally. They decided as well to form a capacity strengthening task force that will develop a training roadmap to strengthen the skills of the Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers.
For more information:
Rana Sidani Cassou: Mobile: +96171802779
Egyptian Red Crescent Society
Egyptian Red Crescent shows localization at its core
“I am impressed and inspired how the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC) has scaled up and modernized services to respond to many emergencies, including COVID19," says Dr. Hossam Elsharkaw, IFRC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). "I was happy to meet ERC dedicated staff and volunteers working to preserve dignity. They are a strong and diverse teams of men and women working in the front lines. They are potentially a pool of expertise that can benefit the whole region and beyond."
IFRC Regional Director and Ms. Rania Ahmed, Deputy Regional Director visited the Egyptian Red Crescent in Cairo earlier this week to discussstrategic directions, the programmes, the challenges, and the cooperation with the Government and the communities.
The visit included strategic meetings with Dr. Nevine El Kabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity and Dr. Rami Al Naser, the Director General.
Minister Nevine El Kabbaj, praised the collaboration with the Egyptian Red Crescent and the role the National Society has been playing in COVID-19 response. Including interventions in the areas of public awareness and behavioral change campaigns, health clinics, food distributions, mental health and psycho-social support. Dr. El Kabbaj encouraged investing in Mental Health and Psychosocial support and expanding the services to support other countries in Africa and beyond.
Dr. Elsharkawi reiterated the role of IFRC in support of ERC and other National Societies in the MENA region, including focused commitment to capacity strengthening, stronger partnership, coordination and resource mobilization.
One of the main highlights of the visit was the Red Crescent Community Center in the area of Zeinhom, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cairo. The center ensures tackling the needs of the public from a holistic approach, providing, health, mental health, child protection, education and income generating opportunities and trainings for women, youth and education of children. “Hundreds of people benefit from Zeinhom center. Great example of how the Egyptian Red Crescent responds to the needs and emphasis the trust and acceptance among the communities. This is trusted access and localization at its core," Dr. Elsharkawi says.
The team visited as well the blood bank and witnessed the high quality and standards applied to ensure a safe national blood supply.
Dr. Elsharkawi visited ERC programs related to health, migration, livelihood and protection: “Red Crescent staff and volunteers efforts go way beyond the emergency response and disseminating the health messages. ERC is supporting communities, including migrants and refugees with socio-economic and income-generating activities.”
Egyptian Red Crescent is the largest national provider of humanitarian and relief services in Egypt.
Suffering from COVID-19 in utter isolation, an ERCS volunteer tells his story
Randa El Ozeir: One of the greatest challenges is to live a lonely fortnight on the lookout for your body vital functions undeviatingly, stranded in a tiny apartment situated in a bustling, lively, and populous city.
In a heart-to-heart interview that delved into his story of contracting COVID-19, Mostafa Refaat Nagy, the Youth Representative Board member in the Egyptian Red Crescent Society (ERCS) at Dakahlia Branch and the volunteer in Central Operation Room in the ERCS’ headquarters in Cairo, recounted how the hours of the 14 days passed full of worry and apprehensiveness. “I stayed home with absolutely no human contact for fear of transmitting the infection to others. I spent my time alternating between awakening and slumbering, swept by waves of obsession and frightfulness while monitoring my symptoms’ progress day in day out. Have I had an increase of coughs today? Has my body temperature gone higher? Am I going to wake up to a temperature exceeding 38 degrees Celsius? I measured my temperature three to four times daily. And I was often wondering if what I was experiencing would be considered within the normal range or have things escalated”.
The quarantine period for Nagy in Cairo went by with him isolating himself from his parents and colleagues, exclusively relying on the Emotional Support Team in the ERCS. He said, “I didn’t want to get my parents worried, so I cancelled my weekly visit to their house, as well as refraining from spreading the news among my colleagues in the Society, excluding my superiors. I didn’t want for the colleagues who kept on doing their field missions to be held back by their leader’s infection, namely the younger group. I received a daily follow-up call from the Emotional Support Team that helped me to hang in there. They were my lifejacket, and I know well the primordial role of the emotional state during the isolation. At times, boredom started to take hold of me with their frequent calls, but I was grateful. They saved me from frustration and excessive anxiety and lifted my spirits. Also, they swiftly provided me with prevention measures, such as face masks. It was an extremely awful feeling that I wouldn’t wish it on anyone”.
Even after recovering and going back to work, Nagy feels the scare with every on-the-ground mission. He resorts to his inner voice to regain self-control and leans on protection measures and safety guidelines. He believes that “the team and group spirit strengthens us when we are working with people. My life is devoted to ERCS and I give it my all. With the time, we became more vigilant in our behaviours and actions and left behind any carelessness that puts us at risk. The situation has changed now, and I grew to be more concerned about myself and my team. We certainly know that we are at risk given the nature of our job, even if we get it (contracting the virus) by chance. We realize our true message when serving the people in need, however small that service could be. It is not about delivering aid boxes or sterilizing tools, it is also about offering others a sense of reassurance our uniform radiates whenever we are present”.
In a hindsight, Nagy remembered how the ERCS was prepared for the worst case scenario since the onset of COVID-19. The ERCS, via its Central Operation Room, has embarked on monitoring and tracking the very first cases, including the mild ones. It has focused as well on awareness and sterilizing campaigns, aid interventions, distribution of disinfectants and personal hygiene stuff, and provision of food for the poor communities in the capital city and throughout all the country’s governorates with no exception. He said, “the ERCS visits the hospitals to support the medical teams and deliver thank-you notes. I was able, through my job in the Board at Dakahlia Branch, to closely understand the needs and concerns of the youth volunteers. And I coordinated between the volunteer field teams and the Central Operation Room”.
The ERCS doesn’t have any shortage in the number of volunteers or the individuals who are willing to volunteer. Gearing up the energetic youth volunteers with the indispensable equipment and tools and offering them the required training to properly perform their job are what the ERCS actually need. “There is an increasing demand now with COVID-19 for equipping hospitals and setting field hospitals in many places, such as Al-Fayoum, Ismailia, and Ash Sharqia”, explained Nagy, “we only have one mobile clinic so far, but the situation calls for much more than this. Whatever is available for us, we would need more, particularly to respond to the necessities of the African, Syrian, and other refugee communities. We are perhaps the only party that provides them with services along with the International Organization for Migration (IOM)”.