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16/12/2021 | 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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13/08/2021 | Press release

Combination of wildfires and COVID-19 threaten tens of thousands of lives in Algeria and Tunisia

Algeria/Tunisia/Beirut, 13 August 2021–The wildfires currently spreading in Algeria and Tunisia threaten the lives of tens of thousands, while also damaging local ecosystems, infrastructures and livelihoods. Both countries face a multi-hazard situation, as an alarming number of COVID-19 infections have been reported in the past weeks. Flames have killed dozens of people and forced hundreds of families to leave their homes. Hundreds of people have lost their houses, farms and livelihoods. Thousands of hectares of land have been burned down. Red Crescent volunteers and staff have been supporting communities by providing first aid, psychosocial support, emergency shelter, drinking water and other necessary relief items. For example, the Algerian Red Crescent has already set up 200 tents for emergency shelter and supported shelter solutions in host communities for an additional 8,000 families. Anne E. Leclerc, Head of the North Africa Country Cluster Delegation for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: ”Most of the northern parts of Tunisia and Algeria have already been severely impacted by multiple fires. Extreme weather conditions intensify the risk of additional fires in the region. The Red Crescent Societies of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco are on high alert, mobilizing volunteers and providing assistance to affected communities in close coordination with local authorities. "Climate change is here. It impacts people across the globe every day. Combined with the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the region, we are tackling multiple crises simultaneously. The combination of these is stretching already strained healthcare systems to their limits.” In Algeria, the fires have been raging since Monday and are spreading to new areas. So far, the Algerian Red Crescent has mobilized more than 300 volunteers to the response operation. IFRC is releasing financial resources from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the response operation and is planning together with the Algerian Red Crescent for a possible request for more international support. Dr. Saida BenHabyles, the President of Algerian Red Crescent said: “The momentum of national solidarity, initiated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been reinforced during this wave of multiple fires that struck parts of the country. The Algerian Red Crescent, one of the links in this great chain of solidarity, has been working tirelessly on the ground since the start of the pandemic and since the first hours of the outbreak of the fires. This disaster comes with another great danger, the COVID 19 pandemic. We are facing a double challenge when working against the spread of the COVID-19 and providing assistance to those affected by the fires.” In Tunisia, more than 100 families have already lost their homes as the fires have been spreading to new areas. The Tunisian Red Crescent is providing affected families with emergency shelter, household items, as well as psychosocial support. The IFRC has released 99,897 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the fire response by the Tunisian Red Crescent. In addition, the IFRC supports the coordination of both response operations as well as monitors the heatwave patterns and real-time wildfire alerts across the region, disseminating early warnings and calls to action to the affected countries. Algeria and Tunisia have been witnessing an increasing number of wildfires. The fires are linked to climate change, which is causing more extreme weather conditions, such as scorching temperatures and less rainfall. Notes to Editors Algeria: The IFRC is working with the Algerian Red Crescentto release initial financial support from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the wildfire response in Algeria. Ongoing operational planning is also ongoing for a possible request for more international support. In the past 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 its COVID-19 activities. More than two million people have already been vaccinated by ARCS doctors and nurses both in cities and in remote areas. Many new vaccination centres have recently been set up to reach the national target set by authorities to have 20 million people vaccinated by the end of 2021. Tunisia: The IFRC has released 99,897 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the fire response by the Tunisian Red Crescent. The wildfires have particularly affected the governorates of El Kef, Jendouba, and Kasserine. Communities urgently need emergency shelter, safe drinking water, livelihoods support and health care. The first phase of support will be targeted especially for the families that have lost their homes or source of income, women-headed households, families which have members with special needs including disabilities, the elderly, lactating and pregnant women, and children under five. In the past weeks, Tunisiahas registered the highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic as theDelta variant of the coronavirus is spreading and vaccine availability remains low. The health care system is struggling to cope and intensive carecapacities are inadequate. Tunisia has one of the highest per capita COVID-19 death rates in the world. DREF The IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a pooled fund that allows for flexible and urgent disbursing of funds in acute emergencies or for anticipatory action. Any time a Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. Funds can be requested for small and medium-scale disasters, or to provide initial funding before emergency appeals are launched for large-scale operations. The IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. Contributions for donors to replenish DREF are very welcome, to enable local actors to act swiftly in support of vulnerable people on the ground, before larger funding arrives. Audio-visual materials: What to do before, during and after wildfire EN | AR | FR News bulletin video

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03/09/2021 | Press release

الإتحاد الدولي: هناك حاجة ماسة إلى الإسراع في التلقيح ضد كوفيد19 لوقف موجات الانتشار في شمال أفريقيا

بيروت، 2 أغسطس/آب 2021 – يعبّر الاتحاد الدولي لجمعيات الصليب الأحمر والهلال الأحمر في الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا عن قلقه من أن يؤدي تزايد انتقال فيروس كوفيد19 في المنطقة إلى إحداث تأثير كرة ثلج تصيب كل بلدان المنطقة وترتب أثارا صحية واجتماعية واقتصادية كارثية. ويدعو الإتحاد الدولي الى تعزيز عمليات التلقيح وتدابير الحماية من العدوى والوقاية منها. وأبلغت تونس والجزائر والمغرب وليبيا عن أكبر عدد من الحالات الجديدة في الأسابيع الماضية، حيث شهدت تونس أكبر زيادة في عدد الوفيات الجديدة. وتتزايد المخاوف بشأن المستقبل مع استمرار انتشار الفيروس بأشكاله المتحورة واتجاه النظم الصحية الى الانهيار، واستمرار تأخر معدلات التطعيم في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا بشكل خطير. وقال الدكتور هيثم قوصة رئيس وحدة الصحة في الاتحاد الدولي: "إنّ تأخر بعض الدول في حملات التلقيح لن يؤدي إلا إلى إطالة أمد الوباء، ليس في المنطقة فحسب، بل على الصعيد العالمي. وتواجه بلدان عديدة مواطن ضعف أخرى، بما في ذلك الصراعات والكوارث الطبيعية ونقص المياه والتشرد وغير ذلك من الأمراض المعدية. وهذا يجعل الناس أكثر عرضة للآثار المدمرة فيروس لكوفيد19. وينبغي أن يكون هذا وحده سببا كافيا للتضامن العالمي لضمان الحصول العادل على اللقاح في المنطقة. وعلى الصعيد العالمي، يعد الإنصاف في اللقاحات عاملا رئيسيا في الحد من احتمال وجود نسخات متحورة اضافية للفيروس. وهذه هي الطريقة الوحيدة التي يمكننا بها إنهاء هذا الوباء حقا". ويستمر متطوعو وموظفو الصليب الأحمر والهلال الأحمر بالعمل على خط المواجهة في الاستجابة منذ بداية الجائحة بدعم من الاتحاد الدولي من خلال: 1. الجهود المبذولة لتسريع حملات التطعيم الوطنية. 2. تقديم المساعدات النقدية والطرود الغذائية ومستلزمات النظافة والكمامات. 3. توفير الإمدادات الطبية بما في ذلك أجهزة تكثيف الأكسجين وأجهزة التنفس الصناعي والمولدات الكهربائية وأدوات الحماية الشخصية للسلطات الصحية المحلية. 4. رصد حملات التطعيم من أجل التأكد من جودة تطبيقها وفقا للمعايير الدولية والإنصاف. 5. الدعم التقني الخاص بالإعلام والنشر حول المخاطر والمشاركة المجتمعية. وعلى الرغم من الخطاب النبيل بشأن التضامن العالمي من حيث الإنصاف في اللقاحات، هناك فجوة قاتلة في الخطة العالمية لتوزيع لقاحات كوفيد19 توزيعا عادلا. على سبيل المثال في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا، تم إعطاء 10 جرعات فقط لكل 100 شخص في العديد من البلدان، بما في ذلك ليبيا والجزائر ومصر والعراق. في سوريا واليمن، كان هناك أقل من جرعة واحدة لكل 100 شخص. وقال الدكتور حسام فيصل، رئيس وحدة الكوارث والمناخ والأزمات في الاتحاد الدولي: "تذكرنا موجات الوباء الجديدة بأن المعركة ضده لم تنته بعد للأسف. ومع ذلك، فإنه يسلط الضوء أيضا على الدور الحاسم لموظفي ومتطوعي الصليب الأحمر والهلال الأحمر كجهات فاعلة محلية موثوق بها وقادرة على الاستجابة بسرعة لموجات جديدة من الانتشار. وفي جميع أنحاء المنطقة، يعمل المتطوعون والموظفون بلا كلل لدعم النظم الصحية، والمساعدة في حماية المجتمعات المحلية، وضمان أن تصل اللقاحات الى الفئات الأكثر ضعفا. ولكن بدون المزيد من اللقاحات، لا يمكن أن تكون هناك حملات تطعيم". ملاحظات إلى المحررين الجزائر في الأسابيع الأربعة الماضية، نرى زيادة حادة في انتشار عدوى كوفيد19. واستجابة للذروة الأخيرة، قام الهلال الأحمر الجزائري بزيادة أنشطته بسرعة بمجرد أن ارتفعت الأرقام إلى مستوى ينذر بالخطر، لكن الوضع لم ينته بعد. وقد تم بالفعل تطعيم أكثر من مليوني شخص من قبل أطباء وممرضي الهلال الأحمر ليس فقط في المدن ولكن أيضا في المناطق النائية. وقد تم افتتاح العديد من مراكز التطعيم مؤخرا للوصول إلى الهدف الوطني الذي حددته السلطات وهو تلقيح 20 مليون شخص بحلول نهاية عام 2021. ويعمل أكثر من 20.000 متطوع على: 1. دعم السلطات في حملات التطعيم. 2. توزيع مليوني كمامة منذ بداية الوباء و100.000 مجموعة من أدوات النظافة للأسر التي تعيش في المناطق النائية. 3. توفير المكثفات الأكسجين للمستشفيات في مناطق تكثر فيها حالات الإصابة. تونس وفي الأسابيع الماضية، سجلت تونس أكبر عدد من الوفيات اليومية منذ بداية الوباء في ظل انتشار المتحور دلتا وانخفاض توافر اللقاح. وتكافح نظم الرعاية الصحية للتعامل مع هذه الزيادة وخاصة أقسام العناية المركزة التي هي مشغولة بالكامل. ويثقل الفيروس كاهل الأطباء بالتفشي السريع للحالات وتزايد عدد الوفيات. لدى تونس واحد من أعلى معدلات وفيات الفرد في العالم. ولا تزال حملات التطعيم تسير بشكل بطيء. وحتى 29 يوليو/تموز 2021، ومن بين 11.7 مليون نسمة، تم تطعيم 1.677446 مليون نسمة بجرعة واحدة على الأقل (14.1٪). في حين أن 934.004 ( 7.9 ٪ ) تم تطعيمهم بالكامل. وقد عزز الهلال الأحمر التونسي، كهيئة مساعدة للسلطات العامة، استجابته للاحتياجات الإنسانية المتزايدة، وركز على دعم النظام الصحي في البلاد من خلال حملات التوعية بالمخاطر، وتوفير الرعاية المنزلية لمكثفات الأكسجين، فضلا عن توفير وسائل الوقاية الشخصية مثل الكمامات وغيرها من المواد للعاملين الصحيين في الخطوط الأمامية. ويواصل 3000 متطوع منتشرين من 24 فرعا في جميع أنحاء البلد حملات التوعية، ويساعدون السكان في التسجيل على منصة التطعيم ولا سيما كبار السن والمهاجرين وسكان المناطق الريفية النائية، ويوزعون في الوقت نفسه الغذاء ومستلزمات النظافة. في جميع مراكز التطعيم تقريبا، يساعد متطوعون العاملين الصحيين في التحقق من التسجيل والمواعيد، ومراقبة أي آثار جانبية قد تحصل ما بعد التطعيم مباشرة. وفي الأسبوعين الماضيين، قام الاتحاد الدولي والهلال الأحمر القطري والهلال الأحمر الكويتي بشحن أكثر من عشرة أطنان من المعدات الطبية، بما في ذلك أجهزة تركيز الأكسجين والتنفس الصناعي ومعدات الحماية الشخصية والمطهر إلى الهلال الأحمر التونسي. وقد ساعد الهلال الأحمر التونسي 10 ملايين شخص منذ بداية الجائحة من خلال حملات التوعية في الأماكن والمؤسسات العامة، وإجراء الفحص والفرز، وإدارة طوابير الانتظار أمام المرافق العامة ومراكز التطعيم. المغرب هناك زيادة حادة في الحالات في الأسابيع الأربعة الماضية. وقد شهد المغرب زيادة بنسبة 40٪ في عدد الإصابات في الأسبوع 29 مقارنة بالأسبوع السابق. وفي 14 تموز/يوليو لم يحصل سوى 27 في المائة من السكان على التطعيم الكامل. وقد حشد الهلال الأحمر المغربي أكثر من 2000 متطوع لدعم حملات التطعيم إلى جانب الأطباء والممرضين. وبالإضافة إلى ذلك، ينشط 000 5 متطوع في 75 فرعا في جميع أنحاء البلد لتوعية السكان بأهمية اللقاح وتعزيز احترام رسائل الاتصال المتعلقة بالمخاطر. وبدعم من الاتحاد الدولي ، توزع الجمعية الأغذية والأدوية ومواد النظافة والكمامات في المناطق الحضرية في المناطق النائية التي تصل إلى ما لا يقل عن 190,000 أسرة. ويؤثر الوباء على الصحة العقلية للسكان. لذا تدرب 150 متطوعا على الإسعافات الأولية النفسية والاجتماعية، وأداروا الخط الساخن للاستماع إلى المجتمع، وتقديم الإسعافات الأولية النفسية، وتلقي طلبات للحصول على الأدوية والغذاء، وما إلى ذلك. ليبيا يضيف وباء كوفيد19 تحديا إضافيا على التحديات التي تسبب فيها النزاع المسلح والتي أدت إلى ضعف نظام الرعاية الصحية، والوضع الاقتصادي المتردي، ونقص الخدمات الأساسية والظروف الإنسانية الخطيرة التي يعاني منها المواطنون والمهاجرون عبر البحر الأبيض المتوسط. وتشهد ليبيا حاليا زيادة في عدد حالات الإصابة، حيث سجلت في 13 يوليو أعلى معدل يومي لها من الإصابات بزيادة قدرها 161٪ مقارنة بالأسبوع السابق. ومع انخفاض معدل التطعيم، يمكن أن تزيد أثار هذه الموجة من معاناة المواطنين. ولمحاربة هذه الموجة، فرضت ليبيا تدابير احترازية جديدة للحد من معدلات العدوى شملت إغلاق الحدود مع تونس المجاورة وإغلاق المقاهي والمطاعم، وحظر حفلات الزفاف والجنازات، ووقف وسائل النقل العام لمدة أسبوعين. تقوم جمعية الهلال الأحمر الليبي بالتنسيق مع الاتحاد الدولي بدعم المجتمعات المضيفة والمهاجرين بالمواد الغذائية ومواد النظافة والخدمات الصحية وحماية الأطفال ونقاط الخدمات الإنسانية للمهاجرين والمشاركة في أنشطة نشر الوعي حول المخاطر والمشاركة المجتمعية، والوقاية وأهمية التحصين ضد المرض. ويؤدي الهلال الليبي دورا رئيسيا في إدارة مواقع التطعيم في جميع أنحاء ليبيا مع المركز الوطني لمكافحة الأمراض المشتركة. وقد وصل المركز مباشرة إلى 500 35 شخص في رده على من خلال الدعم المقدم من الاتحاد الدولي لجمعيات الصليب الأحمر والهلال الأحمر. لمزيد من المعلومات في بيروت: رنا صيداني كاسو، مسؤولة قسم الإعلام 0096171802779 [email protected]

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01/08/2021 | 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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