Geneva, 28 September 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has recently launched a multi-country emergency appeal focused on preparedness and response efforts to population movements from Afghanistan into neighbouring countries and the wider region.
Afghanistan faces an alarming humanitarian emergency and a worsening economic crisis, both likely to be further exacerbated by the approaching winter season. Access to banking services has been severely constrained, with cashflow crippled. A rapid deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Afghanistan could result in catastrophic consequences for vulnerable Afghans and could lead to further internal and cross-border displacement.
Xavier Castellanos, IFRC Under Secretary General, National Society Development and Operations Coordination, said:
“Millions of people in Afghanistan are suffering from compounded crises, such as severe drought, food and water shortages, internal displacement, the COVID-19 pandemic, a fractured health system, limited access to banking services, and restrictive social norms. Winter is approaching and we know it can be harsh. Many Afghans could cross international borders in the coming months. We need to prepare to provide them with protection and humanitarian assistance”.
To support Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in preparing for and responding to population movements from Afghanistan, the IFRC is appealing to donors with a funding requirement of more than 24 million Swiss francs. This amount would allow IFRC and its National Societies to continue their preparedness efforts to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to around 160,000 people crossing from Afghanistan into neighbouring countries and the wider region, for an initial period of twelve months.
Priority countries of the emergency appeal include Iran, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. Other countries in Central Asia could also be involved in preparedness efforts.
National Societies in neighbouring countries and the wider region have a long history of providing humanitarian assistance and protection to people from Afghanistan. Building on their technical experience in emergency response, National Societies stand ready to increase support to newly arriving Afghans, including with emergency shelter and essential household items; food; healthcare; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and protection of the most at risk, including women, children, and marginalized groups.
The IFRC operational strategy remains flexible and will be constantly adapted based on the evolving situation, as well as people’s most urgent needs.
The emergency appeal can be accessed from this webpage:Afghanistan – Regional population movement
For more information, contact:
In Geneva: Nathalie Perroud, +41 79 538 14 71, [email protected]
Budapest/Geneva, 23 March 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is urging decision-makers to ensure tuberculosis (TB) patients receive life-saving treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, after new research showing the pandemic has set back TB detection by 12 years.
Research by the Stop TB Partnership shows that during the pandemic, the number of people detected, diagnosed with and treated for TB in the world dropped by approximately one million, falling back to 2008 levels.
In Europe and Central Asia, there was a substantial decrease (35.5 per cent) in TB case notification during the first 6 months of 2020, and a corresponding decline in treatment – a worrying decline that could lead to 5,000 additional TB deaths, according to a WHO survey of 44 European countries.
IFRC Regional Health and Care Coordinator for Europe, Dr Davron Mukhamadiev, said the WHO research was alarming, with half of European countries reallocating TB resources to COVID-19 and 60 per cent of countries having to reduce the number of TB facilities.
“Every year, 1.5 million people worldwide die of TB – almost 4,000 people a day. People with TB are three times more likely to die of COVID-19. We should be increasing TB services, not reducing them.
“There has never been a more critical time to ensure continuity of essential services for people affected by TB. If people are unable to receive uninterrupted treatment, even more lives will be lost,” Dr Mukhamadiev said.
National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have continued supporting patients with TB throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, in Kyrgyzstan, the Red Crescent uses its network of nurses to deliver drugs to patients, ensure compliance with the treatment, and provide psychosocial support. In Ukraine, the Red Cross visits long-term child TB patients in hospital, and in Russia the Red Cross visits detention centres, educating detainees, including migrants, about TB prevention.
Kyrgyzstan Red Crescent uses an innovative approach of video-observed therapy for TB, allowing TB patients to take their medications remotely. And in Tajikistan, 100 Red Crescent volunteers provide food and psychosocial support to TB patients.
 Stop TB Partnership
 World Health Organisation
Almaty/Geneva, 4 October 2019– UNICEF’s Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (ECARO) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today announced the start of a joint programme, “Strengthening Local and National Capacities for Emergency Preparedness and Response in High Earthquake Risk Countries of Central Asia.”
Supported by USAID and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the programme will assist populations at risk of a major earthquake and other disasters in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The results of the joint programme will contribute to the broader UNICEF-IFRC Initiative for Emergency Early Action and Resilience Building in Central Asia.
UNICEF said that strengthening the capacities of frontline responders was a critical factor in delivering early action for children and communities during an emergency, including a major earthquake. “This partnership is particularly important when considering that earthquakes become disasters when we are not prepared,” said Philippe Cori, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. The collaboration with IFRC/Red Crescent Societies would contribute to building the resilience of children and their families in Central Asia, the agency added.
Central Asia is prone to earthquakes, floods, mudslides, avalanches, droughts and extreme temperatures, all of which can cause loss of life, displacement, family separation, trauma, disruption of education, healthcare, food insecurity, and poverty. An estimated 99.9% of children in Kyrgyzstan and 88.3% in Tajikistan live in areas of high to very high seismic risk. Major urban areas in the region are particularly vulnerable due to high population density and continuing concerns over the seismic safety of buildings and infrastructure.
Having national disaster management systems not fully adapted to address children’s vulnerabilities and needs, low capacity of national systems to withstand the disasters, limited nature of cross-sectoral implementation of the disaster risk reduction and mitigation measures, limited DRR knowledge and systematic training, make children more vulnerable to shocks and stresses.
Bayarmaa Luntan, Head of the IFRC office for Central Asia, said, “All communities in Central Asia are at risk from disasters that can strike at any time. Helping people to be ready and better able to tackle them is the best way to save lives and reduces losses. That is why this programme is so important.”
As part of the activities planned in the project, a sub-regional training for emergency supply and logistics experts will take place in Almaty in November. Staff from National Red Crescent societies, UNICEF Country Offices, and national and local governments will be trained on clear actions, roles and accountabilities in responding to a major earthquake in Central Asia.