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Libya: Storm Daniel

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Article

Whether flood, earthquake or other crisis, calamity has immediate and lasting impact on access to clean water

Disasters come in many forms, from the earth-shattering violence of earthquakes to the relentless inundation of floods. Amid the chaos and destruction, one critical need transcends the specifics of the catastrophe: access to clean water.The people of Morocco and Libya came face-to-face with this reality after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Morocco on September 8, 2023 and then devastating floods that overwhelmed parts of eastern Libya a couple of days later following a massive storm.In the immediate aftermath of these two disasters, dehydration became a threat, which is especially dire for vulnerable populations like children and the elderly. However, the dangers extended far beyond thirst.“Contaminated water, a consequence of disrupted infrastructure or floodwaters spreading sewage, becomes a breeding ground for waterborne diseases like cholera and dysentery,”says Jamilee Doueihy, a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) senior officer for the IFRC in the Middle East and North Africa region.“These diseases can quickly overwhelm already strained medical resources, adding another layer of suffering to an already devastated community.”A delicate balance disruptedDisasters disrupt the delicate balance of water infrastructure. Earthquakes can rupture pipes and damage treatment plants, while floods can leave them submerged and inoperable. This loss of access to a clean, reliable water supply creates a ripple effect, impacting sanitation, hygiene, and the ability to prepare food safely.In the immediate aftermath of a major catastrophe like the massive, sudden flood in Libya, dead bodies near or in water supplies can also lead to serious health concerns.The impact goes beyond immediate health concerns, however. Without water for basic needs, people struggle to maintain hygiene, increasing the risk of infection. Displaced communities facing water scarcity often resort to unsafe alternatives, further jeopardizing their health. Water scarcity can also stall recovery efforts, as people are forced to spend time searching for water instead of rebuilding their lives.The good news is that providing clean water is a powerful intervention in times of disaster.“In both Morocco and Libya, water was an essential part of the relief efforts during the initial phase of the two emergencies,” Doueihy says.In many temporary settlements, which sprang up as people left their unsafe homes, running water and safe drinking water were simply not available. People also lacked access to toilets and sanitation facilities.Along with first aid, emergency tents and other critical supplies, therefore, the Moroccan Red Crescent, the IFRC and other partner National Societies delivered hygiene kits and installed temporary WASH facilities (toilets, showers, water points and incinerators) for people living in temporary settings.In Libya, meanwhile, the Libyan Red Crescent — along with partners in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement — addressed the immediate water, sanitation, and hygiene needs by distributing more than 240,000 bottles of waters and roughly 6000 hygiene kits, among other things.Other National Societies supported the efforts. The German Red Cross, for example, supported the installation of two water treatment plants, which were later replaced with filtration systems that better respond to evolving needs. To date, five simple desalination plants have been installed, in addition to the maintenance of groundwater wells, among other efforts.The next big challenge, Doueihy says, is to help communities develop longer-term solutions.“We provided clean drinking water for the affected population, but thegradual shiftfrom emergency phaseto a long-term recovery phase means that sustainable solutions – such as repairing damaged infrastructure – are needed to restore water security andthe communities’ ability to access clean water.”Water security is not a luxury in the face of disaster, it's a lifeline. By prioritizing clean water access in short-term and long-term disaster response, we can save lives, prevent disease outbreaks, and empower communities to rebuild.-Support the people of Morocco and Libya on their way to recovery by donating to the two Emergency Appeals:Morocco: Earthquake andLibya: Storm Daniel.

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Article

Three months after catastrophic floods, Libyan Red Crescent works on to support survivors

Storm Daniel hit north-eastern Libya on Sunday 10 September, bringing strong winds and sudden heavy rainfall, which led to massive flooding, devastation and deaths. Infrastructure was severely damaged, including dams near Derna that burst, causing flooding that swept away entire neighbourhoods. Libyan Red Crescent teams and volunteers were first on the ground, evacuating people and providing first aid and search and rescue. The IFRC quickly allocated resources through its Disaster Response Emergency Fund.The IFRC then launched an emergency appeal to support the Libyan Red Crescent in providing emergency shelter, psychosocial support, healthcare, clean water and food to affected communities. Teams also worked tirelessly to help people reconnect with family members. With the IFRC network backing it up, Libyan Red Crescent workers performed heroic work. But there’s more to be done. The IFRC emergency appeals sought to raise CHF 25 million (CHF 20 million of which is expected to be raised by the IFRC Secretaria) to support the Libyan Red Crescent. So far, just more than CHF 8.3 million has been raised. And the needs continue as many are still displaced from their homes and the psychological and economic shock lingers. The disaster also garnered support from around the IFRC network. To support the response of the Libyan Red Crescent in the aftermath of the devastating floods, the Turkish Red Crescent dispatched cargo planes from Türkiye, carrying search and rescue, emergency medical teams and relief teams along with equipment and humanitarian supplies. What happened in Derna should be a ‘wake up call for the world’ on the increasing risk of catastrophic floods in a world changed by climate change, according to the IFRC. A rapid analysis by the World Weather Attribution group — a group of scientists supported by the IFRC — analyzed climate data and computer model simulations to compare the climate as it is today, after about 1.2°C of global warming, with the climate of the past. The scientists found that human caused climate change has made heavy rainfall in north-eastern Libya up to 50 times more likely to occur than it would have been in a world not experiencing human-caused climate change. They also found there was up to 50 percent more intense rain than there would have been in a comparable rainstorm in a pre-climate change world.  Something as ordinary as rainy days and nearby seashores have sadly become a source of fear for those living in eastern Libya, especially for those who experienced first-hand the massive floods that swept-away homes, cars, and loved ones in the blink of an eye. Signs of experienced trauma, such as children screaming during their sleep or sleepwalking, have become a nightly occurrence in Derna, and even in the nearby city of Benghazi, where most of families fled to following the devastation.   “People are associating rain with death," said Ali Gharor, mental health and psychosocial support officer at the Libyan Red Crescent Society, which has provided a wide range of continuing mental health and psychosocial support to survivors of the flood. “All groups of people in the city need psychological support, including volunteers.”

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Article

Libya: A sudden flash flood took their lives, but their volunteer spirit lives on

By Mey Al Sayegh What makes Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers so critical during emergencies is that they live in the communities they serve. That also means they are just as vulnerable to the hardships, the losses and the pain as their neighbours and loved ones. The floods that struck Derna in eastern Libya on the night of Sunday, 10 September were certainly no exception. Selflessly helping those in need, Libyan Red Crescent Society (LRCS) volunteers jumped to the call and provided aid and support after the north-eastern region of Libya was struck by heavy rainfall caused by Storm Daniel. The heavy rainfall then led the crumbling of two dams in the early hours of 11 September. Tragically, four Libyan Red Crescent volunteers lost their lives in the subsequent deluge, three of them while helping to save the lives of others. This is their story. But it’s also a testament to all the volunteers around the world who have suffered losses this year, or who have made the ultimate sacrifice while giving others a second chance. In the act of helping others Abed Alqader Atiya Alkherm had served previously as the head of the media department at the Libyan Red Crescent branch in Derna, where he used his photographic and communications skills to convey the voice of people and their stories. But he had decided that he also wanted to help people more directly, so he joined the Libyan Red Crescent emergency response teams in Derna. When disaster struck on 10 September, the 31-year-old volunteer did not hesitate. “Abed laid the camera down and risked his life to save others,” says Bahaa Kawash, the director of media and Communications at LRCS. “He and all Libyan Red Crescent heroes will be in our hearts and memory.” In the days that followed that tragic night, their grieving colleagues shared memories and stories of the volunteers’ bravery, competence and compassion. 29-year old Khaled Abed Alkareem Aldwal had developed a strong reputation for his skills in first aid and his readiness to help others, recalls the former director of media and communications at LRCS, Tawfeq Al Shokry. Khaled was remembered for once saving the life of a man at a restaurant where he used to work, providing him with first aid. Following the floods in September, one of the survivors wrote on his Facebook page that Khaled risked his life to save his two daughters before the floods washed him away. Hussein Bou Zanouba arrived at the Derna branch as normal at 6 PM that evening, many hours before the flood. When the floodwaters began crashing through the city, he did not hesitate to join the rescue teams. During his rescue mission, the ambulance collided with an electric power pole, leading to his tragic drowning. During those early morning hours, his mother tried to call him 23 times. But her calls were in vain as he had left his phone back at his home in Al Bayda, another city in eastern Libya that was heavily affected by the floods. It was an agonizing time for his colleagues who searched for Hussein amid the dead bodies and refrigerated mortuaries in Derna, remembers Ali Hweidi, the former director of Youth and Volunteers at LRCS in Benghazi. Enduring tragic losses The loss of these volunteers hit their colleagues hard. But they maintained their courage, resilience, and unwavering dedication to helping those in need, continuing their critical work that through the days and months after. In addition to those who lost their own lives, many volunteers in Derna that night suffered other types of horrendous losses. one Libyan Red Crescent colleague, Abdallah Abou Shayana, sadly perished along with his whole family as their home was inundated by the deluge of water that swept through downtown Derna that night. Many other dedicated volunteers, who actively helped save those threatened by the devastating floods, had to endure other kinds of tragic losses, with some losing family members, neighbors and friends. Hamdi Ahmed Baleid last spoke to his mother at 2 AM in the early morning of 11 September. Along with his colleagues, he was helping others throughout the night. In what was to be their last call, his mother urged him to stay dry to not get sick himself. Upon returning home, he found his family’s house had been completely obliterated. His entire family was gone. By some sort of miracle, volunteer Ayman Abed Arzaak Agribyal survived the flash floods that threatened to sweep him away. Unfortunately, however, he ultimately lost his mother. Despite their losses, both Hamdi and Ayman continue to work daily with the Libyan Red Crescent to assist people as they rebuild their lives after the catastrophe. For Hamdi, he finds solace in the conviction that helping others is the best way to navigate through his profound grief. Through these difficult times, the IFRC Emergency Response Unit deployed after the flood offers psychosocial support to all survivors, including volunteers. However, more will be done says the IFRC’s Storm Daniel Operations Manager Mamdouh Al Hadid, adding that a more long-term "Caring for Volunteers" program is in development. In the meantime, the IFRC honors the bravery and selflessness of the Libyan Red Crescent teams, as well as volunteers around the world for their tireless efforts and sacrifices in the face of great dangers in 2023. Three months ago, the floods may have taken these volunteers physically, but their humanitarian spirit continues to inspire their friends and teammates at the Libyan Red Crescent, as well as countless others around the world.

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Press release

One month after Libya floods: Urgent mental health support needed

Geneva/Beirut/Benghazi, 11 October 2023 — One month after devastating floods struck Libya, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Libyan Red Crescent Society (LRCS) are urgently calling for support to meet immediate needs in clean water, sanitation, cash assistance, and crucially, psychosocial support. The floods have wreaked havoc, displaced thousands and straining already fragile infrastructures in regions such as Derna and Tobruk. The disaster led to overwhelming destruction, with people losing homes, family members, and their sense of security. Libyan Red Crescent Society teams were the first responders, providing vital services from search and rescue to first aid. To date, 450 dedicated volunteers have been actively involved in these efforts, some even losing their lives while saving others. Tamer Ramadan, IFRC Head of Delegation in Libya, said: "The emotional and physical toll of this disaster has been immense. While we have been diligent in our immediate response, the recovery process is far from over. Attention must not wane." In Libya, the focus of aid is not just immediate relief but also long-term recovery. Cultural norms favor financial autonomy; hence cash assistance is essential. Furthermore, with damaged sewerage systems contaminating water sources in Derna, there's a heightened risk to community health. Teams are also focusing on providing holistic psychosocial support, especially given the emotional toll of losing entire families. The LRCS has been indispensable in relief efforts. With a central emergency operation room in Benghazi and two temporary centers in Derna, their services range from family reunification to relief item distribution. They've supported over 54,000 people through various services to date. In light of the escalating needs, IFRC has officially launched an appeal for 10 million Swiss francs to support the ongoing efforts of LRCS in providing comprehensive aid and care for survivors. As of now, 3 million Swiss francs have been raised, leaving a crucial 70 percent of funding appeal yet to be met. Donations can be made through participating national societies and directly via the IFRC website. More information To fund the emergency appeal and support the people of Libya in their time of dire need, visit the IFRC website. For b-roll footage, visit the IFRC newsroom. To request an interview, contact: [email protected] In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67 Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06 In Beirut/Bengazhi: Mey Alsayegh: +961 3 229 352

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Article

Terrified of rain and sea: Mental health a ticking time bomb in Libya after devastating floods

By Mey Al Sayegh, IFRC MENA Head of Communications Something as ordinary as rainy days and nearby seashores have sadly become a source of fear for those living in eastern Libya, especially for those who experienced first-hand the massive floods that swept-away their homes, cars, and loved ones in the blink of an eye, on the night of 11 September. It is not an exaggeration to say that the most of the citizens of the worst-hit city of Derna, whose memories are burdened with painful images, are in need of some kind of psychosocial or mental health support. Signs of experienced trauma, such as children screaming during their sleep or sleepwalking, have become a nightly occurrence in Derna, and even in the nearby city of Benghazi, which is where most of families fled the devastation. Urgent mental health support needed In a poignant example from last week, two Libyan Red Crescent volunteers, well-versed in dealing with disasters, ran terrified to the Derna branch and hurriedly closed the doors behind them closed the doors because it had started to rain. “People are associating rain with death," said Ali Gharor, mental health and psychosocial support officer at the Libyan Red Crescent Society. “All groups of people in the city need psychological support, including volunteers.” Even those who have sought safety in Benghazi are affected. Haya Al-Hadar, a Libya Red Crescent volunteers, shares how the Red Crescent tried to provide a chalet for a family by the sea but they adamantly refused: “I will never forget that night. I received a call at 1:30 am, and I was informed that the man refused to stay near the sea, because of his fear of coastal areas," he recalled. "[He] insisted on returning with his wife and children to where they came from. We provided them with an apartment outside the city.” Despite Libyan Red Crescent providing psychosocial support and psychological first aid, the need for mental health professionals in the region is urgent. “Children and the elderly visit my clinic on a daily basis and ask for psychological support in this field hospital," saysDr. Al-Siddiq Al-Haj Ali, who serves as head of mental health at the Misrata Center affiliated with the Libyan Ministry of Health and who also volunteers in Derna."Time is of the essence. If those affected are not given psychological support during the next three to six months, we can expect to see more psychological disorders and even cases of suicide.” Red Crescent volunteers among the affected Through IFRC’s visits to affected areas and conversations with volunteers, it was evident that Libyan Red Crescent volunteers are also in dire need of mental health support, some of them having lost their families, loved ones, and homes. For volunteer Hamdi Ahmed Belaid, one of the first responders to the disaster, time has stood still since the night of 11 September, when a phone call he received from his mother at approximately 2:15 am turned out to be the last time he heard her voice. When Hamdi returned to his neighborhood he was devastated at the sight of his home having been swept away, taking the lives of his parents and three brothers as well as the lives of many neighbours., In spite of his personal tragedy, Hamdi insists on continuing his work to help those affected: “Assisting those affected cools the fire in my heart," he adds. Ali Gharor, the mental health and psychosocial support officer for the Libyan Red Crescent, understands Hamdi's predicament very well.“Unfortunately, there seems to be no time for volunteers to grieve, and this will likely reflect negatively on them later on," he says. "Our customs and traditions are also preventing some of them from showing weakness, but it is necessary to let grief take its time.” IFRC specialized mental health unit will support Libyan Red Crescent Given the massive needs, IFRC and other Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement partners have agreed with the Libyan Red Crescent to provide support in this critical field, while being mindful of the cultural context and customs in relation to mental health support in the country. The IFRC is preparing to send an emergency response unit specializing in mental health and psychosocial support to the affected areas very soon. Raja Assaf, Head of IFRC Emergency Operations in Libya, explains that the unit will include mental health specialists, medication and other equipment, as well as a team to train more local Libyan Red Crescent staff and volunteers in providing psychosocial support. “For us and the Libyan Red Crescent, this is a clear priority as we definitely try to avoid any mental health ticking time bomb and care for those affected as best as we can,” he concludes.

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Press release

Dead bodies from natural disasters and conflict do not generally pose health risks, Red Cross and WHO say

Geneva –Amiddevastatingloss of life due to disasters and conflict, there is often unfounded fear and misunderstanding concerning the dead. It is therefore important that communities have the tools and information they need to manage dead bodies safely and with dignity.This is in part to help survivors along the path to recovery,the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. When many people die in natural disasters or armed conflict, the presence of these bodies is distressing for affected communities. Some may move quickly to bury bodies, such as in mass graves, in part in an attempt to manage this distress, and sometimes because of the fear that these bodies pose a health threat. This approach can be detrimental to the population, the organizations said. Though local authorities and communities can be under immense pressure to bury the dead quickly, the consequences of mismanagement of the dead include long lasting mental distress for family members as well as social and legal problems. Well managed burials include easily traceable and properly documented individual graves in demarcated burial sites. This should ensure that the exact location of each dead body, as well as the associated information and personal belongings, is known as outlined in guidance developed by the organizations, in particular theICRC/IFRC/WHO Manual for the Management of the Dead After Disasters. Cremations should not take place before the body is positively identified. In order to support better management of the dead, the organizations provide supplies and expertise to local authorities to help them manage the sometimes-overwhelming task of burying the dead. Today in Libya, Red Cross and WHO teams are working directly with authorities, communities and the Libyan Red Crescent Society, supporting them with guidance, materials, and training. The ICRC and WHO are both delivering body bags in Libya to help with the dignified treatment of the dead. The bodies of people who have died following wounds sustained in a natural disaster or armed conflict almost never pose a health danger to communities. This is because victims who have died from trauma, drowning or fire do not normally harbour organisms that cause disease with common precautions. The exceptions are when deaths occur from infectious diseases such as Ebola or Marburg diseases or cholera, or when the disaster occurred in an area endemic for these infectious diseases. Under any circumstance, dead bodies near or in water supplies can lead to health concerns, as the bodies may leak feces and contaminate water sources, leading to a risk of diarrheal or other illness. Bodies should not be left in contact with drinking water sources. “The belief that dead bodies will cause epidemics is not supported by evidence. We see too many cases where media reports and even some medical professionals get this issue wrong,” said Pierre Guyomarch, the head of ICRC’s forensics unit. “Those who survive an event like a natural disaster are more likely to spread disease than dead bodies.” “We urge authorities in communities touched by tragedy to not rush forward with mass burials or mass cremations. Dignified management of bodies is important for families and communities, and in the cases of conflict, is often an important component of bringing about a swifter end to the fighting,” said Dr Kazunobu Kojima, Medical Officer for biosafety and biosecurity in WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme. “An unnecessary rush to dispose of bodies of those killed in disasters or conflict deprives families of the opportunity to identify and mourn their loved ones, while providing no public health benefit. Dignified treatment of the dead requires appropriate time to identify the deceased and mourn and perform funeral rites in accordance with local cultural and social norms,” said Gwen Eamer, IFRC’s Senior Officer for Public Health in Emergencies and Head of Emergency Operations, Morocco Earthquake Response. The ICRC, IFRC and WHO wish to remind authorities and communities of the following: While it is distressing to see dead bodies, community leaders or authorities should not hastily bury bodies in mass graves or carry out mass cremations. Burial or cremation procedures must keep in mind cultural, religious, and family concerns. The bodies of those who die from natural disasters or armed conflict are generally not a source of disease. Unless the deceased has died from a highly infectious disease, the risk to the public is negligible. However, there is a risk of diarrhoea from drinking water contaminated by faecal material from dead bodies. Routine disinfection of drinking water is sufficient to prevent waterborne illness. Rapid, disrespectful mass burials or cremations, make identification of the dead and notification to family more difficult and sometimes impossible. The only time dead bodies pose a health risk of epidemics is when the deaths resulted from some infectious diseases or when a natural disaster occurs in an area where such a disease is endemic. Lime powder does not hasten decomposition, and since dead bodies in disaster or conflict are generally not an infectious risk, the disinfection of these bodies is not needed. After any contact with the deceased, hands should be washed with soap and water, or cleaned with alcohol-based hand rub if there is no visible soiling. The ICRC, IFRC and WHO urge all parties to conflict, and responders in disasters, to follow established principles for the management of dead bodies, for the good of all of society, and have offered further support as needed. For more information, please contact: ICRC media office:[email protected] IFRC media office:[email protected] WHO media office:[email protected]

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Press release

Libya floods: Climate change made catastrophe ‘far more likely’

Geneva/New York19September 2023- What happened in Derna should be a ‘wake up call forthe world’ on the increasing risk of catastrophic floods in a world changed by climate change, saysJagan Chapagain,Secretary Generalof the International Federation of Red Crossand Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).Chapagain was talking in the light of a reportsaying climate change made the disaster in Libya significantly more likely. Rapid analysis by theWorld Weather Attribution group– a group of scientists supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - analyzed climate data and computermodel simulations to compare the climate asit is today, after about 1.2°C of global warming, with the climate of the past. Thescientistsfound that human caused climate change has made heavy rainfall in north-eastern Libya up to50 times more likely to occur than it would have been in a world not experiencing human-caused climate change.They also found there was up to 50% more intense rain than there would have beenin a comparable rainstormin a pre-climate change world. The scientists are clear that, even in a 1.2°C ‘warmed’ world,therainfall that fell on Libya was extreme. It was an event that would only be expected to occuronce every 300-600 years.Even so, that frequency is much higherthan would be the case in a world that had not warmed. Rainfall alone did not make the Derna disaster inevitable. Enhancedpreparedness, less construction in flood-prone regions and better infrastructure managementof dams wouldhavereducedthe overall impact of Storm Daniel.Nonetheless, climate change was a significant factorin causing and exacerbatingtheextremeweather event. Julie Arrighi, Interim Director at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre which hadresearchers working on the World Weather Attribution report said: “This devastating disaster shows how climate change-fuelledextreme weather events are combining with human factors to create even bigger impacts, as more people, assets and infrastructure are exposed and vulnerable to flood risks. However, there are practical solutions that can help us prevent these disasters from becoming routine such as strengthened emergency management, improved impact-based forecasts and warning systems, and infrastructure that is designed for the future climate.” Jagan Chapagain, SecretaryGeneralof the International Federation of Red Crossand Red Crescent Societies said: “The disaster in Derna is yet another example of what climate change is already doing to our weather. Obviouslymultiple factors in Libya turned Storm Daniel into a human catastrophe; it wasn’tclimate change alone. But climate change did make the storm much more extreme and much more intense and that resulted in the loss of thousands of lives.That should be a wake upcallfortheworld to fulfill the commitment on reducing emissions, to ensure climate adaptation funding and tackle the issues of lossanddamage.“ More information: To request an interview, please contact: [email protected] In Geneva: Andrew Thomas: +41763676587 Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06 Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67

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Press release

Libya floods: IFRC announces CHF 10 million appeal for urgent relief efforts

Geneva, 13 September 2023 - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has announced an emergency appeal for 10 million Swiss Francs to scale up the Libyan Red Crescent's relief efforts in response to the floods caused by Storm Daniel in north-eastern Libya. The disaster, which struck on Sunday, 10 September, has led to overwhelming destruction, leaving thousands of people missing and severely straining already fragile infrastructure. Areas like Derna, Benghazi, and Tobruk are among the worst affected. Despite the challenges, Libyan Red Crescent volunteers were the first on the ground, assisting in evacuations and administering first aid and ensure a respectful and dignified burial of the dead. The emergency appeal is designed to further strengthen the Libyan Red Crescent’s capacities in emergency healthcare, emergency shelter, psychosocial support and water and sanitation services. Red Crescent teams will especially support vulnerable groups including women, children and the elderly and the disabled. IFRC's Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said: "We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those affected by this disaster, including three brave Libyan Red Crescent volunteers who lost their lives during rescue operations. We are faced with an acute and unprecedented situation. International solidarity and support is crucial for the ongoing operations and for preventing a second wave of crisis related to disease and further distress." Chapagain further urged the international community and said: "The time to act is now. We call upon the international community, partners, and donors to contribute generously to this emergency appeal. Your solidarity can transform lives, rebuild communities and offer a beacon of hope to those engulfed in this large-scale disaster." More information Click here to donate to our Emergency Appeal for Libya. To request an interview, please contact: [email protected] In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67 Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06 In Beirut: Mey Alsayegh: +961 3 229 352

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Emergency

Libya: Storm Daniel

Storm Daniel hit north-eastern Libya on Sunday 10 September, bringing strong winds and sudden heavy rainfall which led to massive flooding, devastation and deaths. Infrastructure has been greatly damaged, including dams near Derna that burst, causing flooding which has swept away entire neighbourhoods. Libyan Red Crescent teams and volunteers were first on the ground, evacuating people and providing first aid and search and rescue efforts. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC is supporting the Libyan Red Crescent to provide emergency shelter, psychosocial support, healthcare, clean water and food to affected communities and restore family links with missing loved ones.

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Press release

SOS Mediterranee and IFRC call upon all governments to ensure humanitarians can provide lifesaving support at sea without risking their lives

Central Mediterranean,10 July 2023 -The lives of shipwrecked personsand a humanitarian crewfrom SOS MEDITERRANEEand IFRCwereputin danger on Fridayafternoon, July 7, during a rescue operation at sea.TheLibyancoastguard fired shots in close proximitytoa rescue crew.This isthe third incident this year,andpart ofa context of increasinginsecurityin the MediterraneanSea.  The crew onboard humanitarian rescue ship Ocean Viking, operatedby SOS MEDITERRANEEandthe International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), responded to a mayday relay call about a small boat in distress in international waters off the Libyan coast. It was the second operation of the day after a first rescue of 46 persons that also took place in international waters in the Libyan Search and Rescue Region.  Shortly after the evacuation of the eleven shipwrecked personsby the Ocean Viking’s smaller inflatable rescue boats,a Libyan Coastguard patrol vessel approached the scene at high speed and started to fire multiple shotsat close range.The gunshots were fired less than 100 meters from the humanitarian rescue crew and the shipwrecked persons– including a woman and five unaccompanied children – as they were trying to get back to the Ocean Viking.  While all shipwrecked persons and crew members made it to safety onboard the Ocean Viking, all are in shock and some sustained injuries because ofthe dangerous manoeuvres of the Coastguard.Giannis, leader of the inflatable rescue boat closest to the Libyan patrol vessel, describes the imminent danger of the incident: "The impact of the wake created by the Libyan patrol vessel on our boats was so strong that I injured my back. As they continued shooting and chasing us, the safety of the rescued people and crew were in the hands of a gunman."  It is the third time since the beginning of this year that the crew of the Ocean Viking faced a dangerous incident during a rescue operation. IFRC and SOS Mediterranee call uponall governments to ensure humanitarians can providelifesavingsupport at sea without risking their lives. Ashumanitarianorganizations, our focus is on saving lives, filling the gap in search and rescue left in the Mediterranean and these situations put people at increasing risk. At the same time, numbers of dead and missing at Europe’s southern border continue to mount.  “We are extremely worried about the security situation onthe MediterraneanSea.We have seen devasting numbers of people that perishedat seathis year, with the horrific shipwreck off the coast of Greeceas a recent example. At the same time, humanitarian organizations tryingto help people in distress at seafear for their safety. Thisdangerous situation can lead to the loss of more lives, even though all these deathsofpeopleat sea are preventable,”saysMariaAlcazar Castilla, DeputyRegional Director for Europe and Central Asiaat IFRC. 2023 has been a particularly deadly year so far: 1,728 people have died trying to cross the central Mediterranean in search of safety and peace in Europe since January. It is the highest death toll since 2017 and almost certainlyan undercount. To prevent more deaths, it is crucial that humanitarianscan operatesafely to assistpeople in distress at sea. Note to editors Photos and footage of the incident can be found here. OnJanuary25, the Libyan Coastguard interfered with an ongoing rescue operation by preventing the SOS MEDITERRANEE Search and Rescue team on arigid-hull inflatable boat to return to the mothership. All survivors and crew eventually reached safety onboard the Ocean Vikingwhere IFRC provided them with post-rescuesupport. On March 25, a Libyan Coastguard patrol vessel came dangerously closeto the Ocean Viking (less than 50 meters). Not answering to VHF calls, the Libyan Coastguard started firing shots in the air in close proximityof the Ocean Viking as therescue ship was trying to leave the scene. Only after firing gunshots, the Libyan Coastguard in Arabic language requested the Ocean Viking to leave the area.  The operational partnership between IFRC and SOS Mediterranee onboard the Ocean Viking fills an important gap in the humanitarian response to assistand rescue persons in distress at sea. We do this by providingessential humanitarian services such as food, items for basic needs, and access to protection and health services to all survivors, regardless of their migration status. For more information, please contact: IFRC: Julie Enthoven/+36 70 508 5702/[email protected] SOS MEDITERRANEE PRESS CONTACTS: International Alisha Vaya /+33 6 34 10 41 33 /[email protected] France MérylSotty / +33 6 11 74 10 11 / [email protected] Italy Francesco Creazzo / +393478151131 / [email protected] Federica Salvati / +393332091366 / [email protected] Switzerland Alice Ganguillet/ +41 78 301 81 30/ [email protected] Germany Julia Schafermeyer/ +33 6 12 52 15 69/ [email protected] /

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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] In Nairobi: Rita Nyaga, +254 110 837 154, [email protected] Susan Cullinan, +61 457 527 197, [email protected] In Beirut: Mey el Sayegh, +96176174468, [email protected] In Geneva: Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924 Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 4367

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Emergency

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.

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Article

National Society Investment Alliance: Funding announcement 2022

The National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) is a pooled funding mechanism, run jointly by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It provides flexible, multi-year funding to support the long-term development of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies—particularly those in complex emergencies and protracted crisis—so they can increase the reach and impact of their humanitarian services. The NSIA can award up to one million CHF of accelerator funding to any one National Society over a five-year period. In addition, bridge grants of up to 50,000 CHF over 12 months can help National Societies prepare the ground for future investment from the NSIA or from elsewhere. This year, the NSIA is pleased to announce that the following six National Societies have been selected for accelerator funding in 2022: Burundi Red Cross Kenya Red Cross Society Malawi Red Cross Society Russian Red Cross Society Syrian Arab Red Crescent Zambia Red Cross Society These National Societies will receive a significant investment of up to one million CHF, to be used over a maximum of five years, to help accelerate their journey towards long-term sustainability. Three of these National Societies (Syria, Malawi and Zambia) previously received NSIA bridge awards, proving once again the relevance of the fund’s phased approach towards sustainable development. In addition, 14 other National Societies will receive up to 50,000 CHF in bridge funding: Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Nicaragua, Palestine, Panama, Rwanda, Sierra Leone. In total, the NSIA will allocate 5.4 million CHF to 20 different National Societies this year. This is more than double the funds allocated in 2021 and represents the largest annual allocation since the NSIA’s launch in 2019. This landmark allocation is made possible thanks to the generous support from the governments of Switzerland, the United States, Canada and Norway, and from the Norwegian and Netherlands’ National Societies. Both the ICRC and IFRC have also strongly reinforced their commitment, by allocating 10 million CHF and 2 million CHF respectively over the coming years. The Co-chairs of the NSIA Steering Committee, Xavier Castellanos, IFRC Under-Secretary General for National Society Development and Operations Coordination, and Olivier Ray, ICRC Director for Mobilization, Movement and Partnership, said: “We are pleased to have been able to select 20 National Societies’ initiatives for funding by the NSIA in 2022. Our vision and plans are becoming a reality. We see Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies operating in fragile contexts accessing funds for sustainably developing to deliver and scale up their humanitarian services. This is localization in action and at scale. It is particularly encouraging to see that the NSIA’s two-stage approach, with initial funds providing a springboard to help National Societies prepare for increased investment aimed at achieving sustained impact on the organization and vulnerable communities, is working. We hope to see many more National Societies planning and following this journey. 2022 will be remembered as a milestone for the NSIA. Our ambition is to maintain this momentum and continue to grow in the years to come. We see this mechanism as a valuable and strategic lever to support National Societies in fragile and crisis settings to undertake their journey towards sustainable development.” For more information, please click here to visit the NSIA webpage.

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Article

World Immunization Week: going the last mile to keep communities safe from COVID-19

Immunization is the foundation of healthy communities. And right now, in the continued fight against COVID-19, vaccines are one of many important tools we have to keep communities around the world safe and healthy. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is supporting COVID-19 vaccination efforts in 172 countries. And, together, our National Societies have supported more than 325 million people to access COVID-19 vaccination globally. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve made special efforts to reach vulnerable, marginalized and hard-to-reach communities worldwide. To go what we call the ‘last mile’—because all people, no matter who or where they are, deserve access to health services, vaccines, testing and lifesaving treatment. And because we know that no one is safe until everyone is safe. So, what does this work actually look like? Scroll down to discover photos and examples from five different countries: Papua New Guinea, Libya, Zambia, Kyrgyzstan and Canada. And if you like what you read, sign up to the IFRC’s immunization newsletter for a monthly round-up of immunization activities in response to COVID-19 and other diseases. Papua New Guinea Papua New Guineahas one of the lowest vaccination coverage rates in the world. The Papua New Guinea Red Cross is working closely with provincial health authorities in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, and a crucial part of this work involves building public confidence in vaccination. Volunteers are providing accurate, reliable and trusted public health information about COVID-19 vaccination. In many cases, they work in partnership with local community groups—such as the Country Women Association in Madang province—to reach people in spaces they already feel comfortable in. By listening and responding to people’s concerns about the vaccines, they are dispelling people’s fears and encouraging more and more people to come forward for their jab. Libya The Libyan Red Crescent Society is partnering with the Libyan National Centre for Disease Control to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination—with a focus on community engagement and logistical support. More than 600 volunteers have been going out and about in their communities to engage with local people and answer their questions about vaccines. Volunteers have been helping with vaccine registration and data entry, so people can sign up for their jabs, and several Libyan Red Crescent health clinics in the south of the country are currently being used as vaccination centres. Zambia Zambia Red Cross Society volunteers are running a mobile COVID-19 vaccination campaign to take vaccines out to remote and hard-to-reach communities across the country. They’re working with trusted local community leaders, helping them to be advocates for COVID-19 vaccines so that their communities feel confident coming forward. Volunteers are also working hard to continue routine immunization activities across the country so that all Zambian children are fully immunized before the age of 5. Kyrgyzstan Hundreds of Kyrgyzstan Red Crescent Society volunteers across the country have dedicated their time to supporting the Ministry of Health and Social Development’s rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. They set up a special COVID-19 vaccination hotline to answer the public’s questions and address rumours and misinformation about vaccines. And they’ve been deployed to vaccination centres to lead vaccine registration and data entry so people can easily schedule their appointments. Canada In Canada, the Canadian Red Crosshas been supporting provincial, territorial and Indigenous health authorities in vaccination efforts among remote and Indigenous communities. For instance, in Northern Alberta, CRC’s Indigenous staff have been embedded into mobile vaccination teams to help understand and address the roots of vaccine hesitancy. They’ve been supported virtually by an Indigenous People’s Help Desk, set up to respond to the unique needs of Indigenous leadership during the pandemic. -- For more information, visit our immunization page or sign up to the IFRC's monthly immunization newsletter.

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Article

Empress Shôken Fund announces grants for 2022

The Fund The Empress Shôken Fund is named after Her Majesty The Empress of Japan, who proposed – at the 9th International Conference of the Red Cross – the creation of an international fund to promote relief work in peacetime. It is administered by the Joint Commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which maintains close contact with the Japanese Permanent Mission in Geneva, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Meiji Jingu Research Institute in Japan. The Fund has a total value of over 17 million Swiss francs and supports projects run by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to benefit their communities in various ways. The first grant was awarded in 1921, to help five European National Societies fight the spread of tuberculosis. Since then, over 14 million Swiss francs have been allocated to 170 National Societies. The Fund continues to encourage new and innovative approaches with the potential to generate insight that will benefit the Movement as a whole. An innovation campaign was launched in December 2021 to further increase awareness of the Fund and what it stands for. The campaign resulted in 52 proposals being submitted versus only 28 in 2021, and more innovative proposals compared to previous years, further strengthening the Fund’s positioning as supporting innovation. The imperial family, the Japanese government, the Japanese Red Cross and the Japanese people revere the memory of Her Majesty Empress Shôken, and their enduring regard for the Fund is shown by the regularity of their contributions to it. The grants are announced every year on 11 April, the anniversary of the death of Her Majesty Empress Shôken. The selection process The Fund received 52 applications in 2022, covering a diverse range of humanitarian projects run by National Societies in every region of the world. This year the Joint Commission agreed to allocate a total of 471,712 Swiss francs to 16 projects in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jordan, Libya, Mongolia, Niger, Portugal, Serbia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Yemen. The projects to be supported in 2022 cover a number of themes, including first aid and rescue, support for young people, disaster preparedness, health, social welfare and National Society development. The Fund continues to encourage new and innovative approaches with the potential to generate new insight and learning that will benefit the Movement as a whole. Reports from the National Societies whose projects were funded and implemented in 2020 generated insights in the areas listed below. Top 10 key learnings from project implemented in 2020 Skills development Process improvement Adaptability and agility Leveraging synergies Project management Digitalization Change management Taking a pilot approach Aligning strategies Improving communications The 2022 grants The Burkinabe Red Cross Society plans to strengthen psychosocial care and the capacities of community volunteers and first-aiders in communities affected by the crisis. The grant will allow the National Society to assist victims of attacks by armed groups in areas where security is a challenge. In 2017, over 43.8% of Ivorians were illiterate, and the disparities between men and women and by places of residence were enormous. The Red Cross Society of Côte d’Ivoire will use the grant to help improve the education and increase the autonomy of young women in the Bounkani Region who have not attended school. The Croatian Red Cross will use the grant funds to spread awareness of the humanitarian ideals and educate children from an early age, through the Humanity Corner. The Dominica Red Cross Society will provide support for and help introduce farming techniques and other solutions for managing climate change and other risks. The funds will be used to train 15 farmers as Agri First Responders in their community. The Dominican Red Cross will help build young people’s capacity to carry out local social support activities. The grant will be used to develop a virtual introductory course on planning and coordinating social support activities that is adapted to the young people’s local reality, so that they are equipped with the techniques and tools to address the needs of their community. The Ecuadorean Red Cross aims to identify and provide primary care for the negative feelings and emotions in young people from age 15 to 30 years in the city of Quito. The grant funds will provide immersion technologies to addresses the heightened need in the community owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Jordan National Red Crescent Society has recognized young people and volunteers as the beating heart of the National Society, especially during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, during which they served local communities across the country, when mobility was restricted. This grant will help them improve the management system for recruiting, developing, promoting and retaining volunteers to support humanitarian operations. Libya is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, given its arid climate. This grant will help the Libyan Red Crescent raise awareness of the risks associated with climate change and highlight personal behaviours that could help mitigate these risks for communities. The Mongolian Red Cross Society wants to use digital communication tools funded by the grant in order to help ensure there is meaningful community participation across all programmes and operations, improve its public relations management and strengthen its transparency and accountability to communities. In the event of an accident, smartphones can provide information that is essential for providing effective first aid. Thanks to the grant, the Red Cross Society of Niger will educate and inform the public about how to store useful information in the “emergency call” section of their phones. The Portuguese Red Cross will address young people's social exclusion and the lack of space and opportunities to develop relevant skills and digital literacy, through the Platforms of Change, funded by the grant. Through the “Their life is in your hands” digital marketing campaign, funded by the grant, the Red Cross of Serbia will raise the general public’s awareness of the value of CPR skills and AED use and provide the related training. The Republic of Korea National Red Cross will focus on supporting disaster risk reduction in many countries in the Asia Pacific Region. The grant will fund development of virtual reality training content by the Asia Pacific Disaster Resilience Centre, provide sets of virtual reality devices to seven National Societies and provide virtual reality training on disaster risk reduction. The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society is aiming for better nutrition and improved water, sanitation and hygiene in vulnerable communities that are drought-prone. The grant will introduce groundwater recharging practices into the catchment and tank ecosystem areas, to facilitate groundwater retention. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, communities face challenges in gaining access to reliable, up-to-date information and in overcoming the rumours, myths and misconceptions around the vaccine. Supported by the grant, the Tanzania Red Cross Society will develop a mobile application, “UJANJA KUCHANJA”, to enhance information-sharing, build trust and increase information access and reach. In a mountainous district of Yemen, frequent rockslides often injure people and domestic animals, disrupt transport networks and cut people off from their livelihood activities. Thanks to the grant, the Yemen Red Crescent Society will take measures to prevent rockslides and help reduce the number of victims and the damage caused.

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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]

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Press release

IFRC: Inclusive vaccination and protection measures urgently needed to stop the new pandemic waves in North Africa

Beirut, 02 August 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the Middle East and North Africa, is concerned that the increasing COVID-19 transmissions in the region could spark a domino effect with catastrophic health, social and economic impacts, unless vaccination rollouts are stepped up and protection measures reinforced. Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia reported the greatest number of new cases in the past weeks, with Tunisia reporting the greatest increase in new reported deaths. Concerns for the future are mounting as variants continue to spread, health systems are on the verge of collapse and the vaccination rates in the Middle East and North Africa region continue to lag dangerously behind. Dr Haytham Qosa, Head of IFRC MENA Health Unit, said: “Leaving countries behind on vaccines will only serve to prolong the pandemic, not just in the region, but globally. Many countries are facing other vulnerabilities, including conflict, natural disasters, water shortages, displacement, and other disease outbreaks. This makes people even more vulnerable to the devastating impacts of COVID-19. This alone should be a reason enough for global solidarity to ensure equitable vaccine access in the region. At a global level, vaccine equity is key to reducing the likelihood of variants and saving lives by limiting the spread of the virus. This is the only way we can truly end this pandemic.” The Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 response since the outset. IFRC has been supporting the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in MENA with: Efforts to accelerate vaccination campaigns in support of the national vaccination plans. Provision of cash assistance, food parcels, hygiene kits, and masks to affected people. Provision of medical supplies including oxygen concentrators, ventilators & generators, and PPEs to local health authorities. Monitoring of the vaccination campaigns for quality, standards, fairness and equity. Technical support with risk communication and community engagement. Despite lofty rhetoric about global solidarity in terms of vaccine equity, there is a deadly gap in the global plan to equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines. In MENA region, only 10 doses per 100 people have been administered in many countries, including Libya, Algeria, Egypt, and Iraq. In Syria and Yemen, there has been less than one dose per 100 people. Dr Hosam Faysal, Head of IFRC MENA Disasters, Climate and Crises Unit, coordinating the IFRC response to COVID-19, said: “The new waves of the pandemic remind us that the battle against it is unfortunately not yet over. However, it also highlights the critical role of the our Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers as trusted local actors who are able to quickly response to new surges of cases. Across the region they are working tirelessly to support health system, help protect communities and ensure vaccines make it into arms of the most vulnerable. But without more vaccines, there cannot be vaccinations.” Notes to Editors Algeria: In the past 4 weeks, we have seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections. In response to the latest peak, the Algerian Red Crescent (ARCS) has scaled up the COVID-19 activities quickly once the numbers climbed up to alarming level but the situation is far from over. More than 2 million people have already been vaccinated by ARCS doctors and nurses not only in cities but also in remote areas. Many vaccinations centers have been opened recently to reach the national target set by authorities to reach 20 million people by the end of 2021. More than 20,000 ARCS volunteers are fully active: Supporting authorities in the vaccination campaigns. Distributing 2 million masks since the start of the pandemic and 100.000 hygiene kits for families living in remote areas. Providing Oxygen concentrators to hospitals in the “hot Spot” areas. Tunisia: In the past weeks, Tunisia registered its highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic as the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads and vaccine availability remains low. The health care system is struggling to cope especially the intensive care departments that are full and doctors overburdened by a rapid outbreak of cases and deaths. Tunisia has one of the highest per capita death rates in the world. Vaccinations have been slow. As of 29 July 2021 and according to WHO, of the 11.7 million population, 1.677446 million were vaccinated with at least one shot (14.1% ) whereas 934,004 ( 7.9% ) are fully vaccinated. The Tunisian Red Crescent as auxiliary body to the public authorities has been scaling up its response to the increased humanitarian needs and focusing on supporting the health system in country with risk communication campaigns,  homecare provision of Oxygen concentrators as well as the provision of PPEs such as masks and other materials to front-line health workers. 3,000 volunteers deployed from 24 branches all over the country continue raising awareness campaigns, helping population registering on the E-Vax platform especially the elderly, migrants and people in most distant rural areas, providing at the same time food and hygiene kits assistance. In almost all vaccination centers, TRC volunteers assist health workers in checking registration, appointments, and onsite immediate post vaccination monitoring. In the past two weeks, the IFRC, Qatar Red Crescent and Kuwait Red Crescent have shipped more than ten tons of medical equipment, including oxygen concentrators, ventilators, personal protective equipment and sanitizer to the Tunisian Red Crescent. TRC has reached 10 million people since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak by raising awareness campaigns in public places and institutions, conducting screening and triage, and managing queues in front of public facilities and vaccination centres. Morocco: There is a sharp increase in cases in the past 4 weeks. 40% increase in the number of COVID-19 infections in week 29 compared to the previous week. As of 14 July, only 27% of the population is fully vaccinated. The Moroccan Red Crescent has mobilized more than 2,000 volunteers to support the vaccination campaigns alongside MRCS doctors and nurses. In addition, 5,000 volunteers are active in 75 branches all over the country to sensitize the population about the importance of vaccine and reinforce the respect of risk communication messages. In support from IFRC, MRCS distributes food, medicines, hygiene items, masks to communities in urban settings an in remote areas reaching at least 190,000 households. The pandemic is affecting the mental health of the population. 150 volunteers trained on psychosocial first aid, manage the hotline to listen to community, provide emotional first aid, receive requests for medicines, food, etc. Libya:The COVID-19 pandemic is adding another layer of crisis on years of armed conflict in Libya that has led to a weakened health care system, a dire economic situation, a lack of basic services and serious humanitarian conditions suffered by migrants transiting to through the Mediterranean. Libya is currently witnessing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, where on the 13th of July it recorded its highest daily rate of COVID 19 infections with 2,679 new cases, a 161% increase compared to the previous week. With the low rate of vaccination, these concerning figures promises a serious wave that can further shatter the country. To combat this wave, Libya has imposed new precautionary measures to curb infection rates that included the closure of the borders with neighbouring Tunisia on the 8th of July, the closure of coffee shops and restaurants, the banning of weddings and funerals and the halting of public transportation for two weeks. The Libyan Red Crescent Society (LRCS), in coordination with IFRC, has been supporting host communities and migrants with food, hygiene items, health services, child protection, Humanitarian Service Points for Migrants and the engagement in Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) activities around COVID-19 prevention and the importance of immunization against the disease The LRCS is playing a key role in managing vaccination sites all over Libya with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The LRCS has directly reached 35,500 persons in its response to COVID-19 through support from the IFRC. For more information In Beirut: Rana Sidani Cassou, Head of Communications, IFRC MENA, +96171802779 [email protected]

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National society

Libyan Red Crescent

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Press release

Amidst escalating crises, Middle East humanitarian leaders meet to chart new course

Baghdad, 18 April 2018 – Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa gather today in Baghdad to discuss the region’s escalating humanitarian crises. More than 140 attendees, including representatives from 16 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, will attend the conference to explore a range of issues, including the shrinking of neutral and impartial humanitarian space, and the rising vulnerabilities of millions of migrants. “The Iraqi Red Crescent Society is pleased to welcome our Red Cross and Red Crescent partners to plan our collective strategy for the next decade,” said Dr Yassin, the President of the Iraqi Red Crescent. “Only together, standing by our humanitarian principles, and advocating for protected humanitarian space, can we alleviate the suffering of millions of vulnerable people in our region.” The Middle East and North Africa region is home to the world’s most pronounced humanitarian crises. The conflict in Syria, now in its seventh year, has left 13 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. In Iraq itself, 15 years of conflict and economic stagnation have left more than 8.5 million people relying on humanitarian relief. In Yemen, more than 80 per cent of the population is in need of aid today – 3.4 million people more than one year ago – after conflict devastated the health system and other essential infrastructure. Only 45 per cent of Yemen’s health facilities are currently functioning. In Libya, 9 per cent of the country’s estimated one million migrants are minors, and 40 per cent of these are unaccompanied. These crises are happening in parallel to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Palestine. The region’s conflicts are defined by growing disregard for humanitarian laws and norms. Civilians are increasingly bearing the brunt of the fighting, and aid agencies are finding it more and more difficult to access communities in need. As a further consequence, an estimated 35 million people have been displaced from their homes across the Middle East and North Africa, according to the International Organization for Migration. Mr Francesco Rocca, the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: “Across the region and around the world, these people – who have fled their homes because of war or violence – struggle to access the services and support they need to survive. Even worse, they are increasingly falling victim to policies and laws that prioritize border control over humanity and dignity. “All people migrating, regardless of their status, must have access to humanitarian protection and assistance. Human rights are migrant rights.” During the conference, the Iraqi Red Crescent will nominate renowned artist Naseer Shamma as a Good Will Ambassador, in recognition of this efforts to help Iraqis affected by the conflict. At the end of the two-day conference, participants will aim to adopt the Baghdad Declaration, which will address a range of humanitarian issues and underline the importance of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in bringing hope and support to vulnerable communities. About IFRC: IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world. www.ifrc.org - Facebook - Twitter - YouTube