| Press release
IFRC launches 20 million Swiss Francs appeal to support people on the move in Armenia
Geneva/Budapest/Yerevan, 29 September 2023: In the wake of escalating hostilities affecting vulnerable communities, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) announces an emergency appeal for 20 million Swiss Francs. This initiative aims to provide immediate relief and long-term support to tens of thousands of people who have recently crossed into Armenia via the Lachin corridor.
The IFRC, working in collaboration with the Armenian Red Cross Society, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and other Red Cross Red Crescent movement partners, has activated contingency plans and mobilized hundreds of staff and volunteers. They are providing urgent support in the form of food, water, first aid, non-food items, mental health services, safe spaces for children and support with restoring contact with missing family members (RFL).
“The situation on the ground is dire. We are witnessing families with children so weak they have fainted in their parents' arms. These are circumstances that require immediate and significant emotional support,” said Hicham Diab, Operations Manager of IFRC in Armenia.
“As we confront the growing humanitarian needs, we must also look ahead,” said Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen, Regional Director of IFRC Europe. “For many people who are now displaced, the next steps are daunting. They will need further support as they navigate the many questions of settling somewhere new. At IFRC, we're already planning for the future, aligning our resources for an extended response to offer more sustained support for communities. Therefore, we urge governments, international organizations, and media outlets to help us put a spotlight on this situation and mobilize the resources required.”
Local communities have shown immense solidarity by assembling tents, offering food, and even relocating grocery stock for free distribution next to registration points. However, despite these efforts, humanitarian needs continue to grow. Critical services like hospitals are stretched thin, and with the onset of colder weather, shelter has become an increasingly pressing need.
Funds raised from this appeal will facilitate the Armenian Red Cross Society and IFRC in offering sustained support for communities, including essential household items, mental health and psychosocial support, and more permanent shelter solutions.
Your contribution can make an immediate difference. To fund the emergency appeal and support people in their time of dire need, visit the donation pagefor more information.
To request an interview, please contact: [email protected]
IFRC - Europe
Anastasia Sharkova: +7 916 040 19 72
IFRC - Global
Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67
Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06
| Press release
Red Cross responding to major humanitarian needs as tens of thousands cross into Armenia
Geneva/Budapest/Yerevan, 28 September 2023: Tens of thousands of people have crossed into Armenia via the Lachin corridor leaving everything behind, since the deadly escalation of hostilities. Food, essential services, and medicines are scarce and telecommunications services have been disrupted, making it hard for families to contact one another. Armenian Red Cross teams have mobilized to meet them at humanitarian service points. People are receiving food, water, first aid, and much-needed psychosocial support there.
“The majority of people that are coming across are women, children and elderly who have been stranded on the streets of the corridor, coming into Armenia with barely any food or sufficient clothes on them with this kind of weather that is getting colder and colder,” said Hicham Diab, IFRC operations manager in Armenia.
“It is an incredible job what the Armenian Red Cross staff and volunteers are doing for an operation that will very likely not take weeks but a much longer-term effort.”
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is supporting the Armenian Red Cross to respond. In Armenia, the humanitarian needs are growing rapidly, and with tens of thousands arriving from the conflict affected area, the IFRC and Armenian Red Cross are scaling up human and financial resources. This includes ensuring an initial 3,000 people with essential items, first aid, and psychosocial support.
“Armenian Red Cross teams are supporting in registration, information provision, first aid, and psychosocial support. Assistance to people in transit, including energy bars, water, dry ration packs are also provided,” said Dr. Anna Yeghiazaryan, Armenian Red Cross Society Secretary General. “We will continue to mobilize in the medium and long-term to alleviate suffering of displaced people and meet their humanitarian needs.”
The IFRC is coordinating closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which has been responding to the conflict for years. This week, the ICRC delivered nearly 70 metric tons of humanitarian supplies via the Lachin corridor. Its teams have also evacuated over 100 patients in need of critical medical care in recent days to Armenia via ambulance.
To request an interview, please contact:[email protected]
Edgar Zuniga: +36 20 337 7221
Andrew Thomas: +41763676587
Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06
Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67
| Press release
IFRC launches groundbreaking financial mechanism to transform disaster response
Geneva, 6 September 2023 - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), in collaboration with global professional services firm Aon, Lloyd’s Disaster Risk Facility and the Centre for Disaster Protection, has announced a pioneering approach to disaster response. The groundbreaking risk transfer mechanism will ensure swift and agile support is available when a disaster occurs. This tool provides a backstop for the IFRC's Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF).
Emergency funding always available when needed
DREF has proven to be the simplest, fastest, most transparent, and localized way for IFRC's member National Societies to access reliable international, short-term emergency funding for community action in all kinds of disasters when needs surpass the resources available at the national level. The new insurance backstop will be a critical safety valve for DREF’s life-saving work, ensuring the DREF can continue to meet the needs of today while standing ready for the crises of tomorrow.
Andrew Mitchell, Minister of State for Development and Africa, UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said:“Climate change is devastating the lives of millions around the world. With natural disasters on the rise, this innovative new insurance will provide extra funding for life-saving emergency assistance. This is UK expertise at its best – funding from the UK, insurance purchased through the City of London and technical support from the Centre for Disaster Protection.”
IFRC’s ambition is to grow the fund every year to reach 100 million Swiss Francs in 2025 (US$116 million, €104 million, £89 million). Currently, there is an alarming increase in small and medium-scale emergencies, and funding may not always be available when needed.
The new insurance tool provides DREF with contingency funding of up to 20 million Swiss Francs (US$23 million, €21 million, £18 million). Essentially, once DREF’s allocated funding for natural hazards hits 33 million Swiss Francs (US$38 million, €34 million, £29 million), the reinsurance is triggered to replenish DREF’s reserves.
By transferring risk from strained public balance sheets to the private sector, DREF is now able to respond more flexibly and effectively, with the potential to reach an additional 6 million vulnerable people each year. The reinsurance acts as a safety net for DREF, ensuring that extra funds are available and ready to provide aid to vulnerable communities, even during periods of increased demand.
Aon and Lloyd’s Disaster Risk Facility together developed the insurance mechanism and designed a unique structure drawing upon DREF’s 40 years of experience in supporting IFRC's member National Societies across the world. Importantly, this has been achieved without forcing any changes to DREF’s current operational process.
DREF insurance is supported by international donors including: the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (UK FCDO); the British Red Cross and Danish Red Cross; and the private sector. DREF Insurance is also co-funded by InsuResilience Solutions Fund (ISF) to support insurance premium funding and product development. Global law firm Reed Smith provided legal advice to IFRC, with support from Swiss law firm Lenz & Staehelin and offshore specialist law firm Ogier.
Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General, said:“Strategic partnerships with the private sector are essential to address rising humanitarian needs and the humanitarian funding gap. We have a responsibility to respond rapidly and at scale, in the most effective and sustainable manner, and to ensure that our actions are locally led and community-centred. Our partnership with Aon and the Centre, and through the bespoke insurance solution for DREF, allows exactly that.”
Eric Andersen, President of Aon, said:“The impact of climate is giving rise to an increasing number of natural disasters that are disproportionally affecting underserved communities. At Aon, we are honoredto play a role to help protect DREF from volatility and increase its capacity to effectively distribute funds to those in need through our innovative capabilities in matching capital to the risk and the innovation in our industry to address the humanitarian impact from climate-related disasters.”
The partnership has resulted in a completely novel – yet replicable and scalable – reinsurance product that:
Is tailor-made for DREF and modeled on its actual historic performance
Uses publicly published data, supporting transparency and accountability of approach
Is, for the first time, an indemnity-based reinsurance model that has been developed within a Humanitarian Disaster Risk Finance context
Is designed to make use of well-established commercial catastrophe re-insurance markets, reducing cost and improving scalability (allowing it to be used in other humanitarian contexts)
Has been continuously vetted and subject to an independent assessment prior to ensure its applicability
Daniel Clarke, Director, the Centre for Disaster Protection, said: “Having the right plans in place before a crisis is crucial for effective management of its impacts. We are proud to have supported IFRC and Aon teams to develop a risk transfer policy that strengthens DREF's ability to provide emergency funds that will help meet the needs of people affected by crises globally.”
Annette Detken, Head of the InsuResilience Solutions Fund, said: “IFRC’s intention to enhance and complement DREF’s capacities when hit by climate-related hazards is a unique opportunity to bring development work closer to the humanitarian work and pilot climate risk insurance as a means for enhancing humanitarian aid activities. The ISF is proud to co-fund this innovative programme, adding capacity to improve the resilience of vulnerable people in many parts of the globe.”
John Neal, Lloyd’s CEO, said: “Insurance has a vital role to play in building society’s resilience against climate-related risks: acting as a backstop when the worst happens and a buttress for preparedness in the meantime. This innovative response tool builds on the work of our Disaster Risk Facility and shows what our market can do when we collaborate with our partners in government to close global insurance gaps and mitigate the human and financial impacts of natural catastrophes.”
The capacity for the reinsurance deal was offered by the three founding members of the London-based Lloyd’s Disaster Risk Facility, as led by Hiscox alongside Chaucer and RenaissanceRe, with Fidelis MGU completing the placement as the sole representative of the Bermuda market.
Notes to the editor:
About the IFRC Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF)
Established in 1979, the DREF is the quickest, most efficient, and most transparent mechanism for donors to channel global short-term emergency funding directly for local community-based action. While the average of international humanitarian funds directly channeled to local actors every year lies around 1.2% globally, 86% of DREF’s allocation is directly transferred to the National Societies. Since its inception, more than 220 million people in crisis worldwide have benefited from DREF support.
Aon plc (NYSE: AON) exists to shape decisions for the better — to protect and enrich the lives of people around the world. Our colleagues provide our clients in over 120 countries and sovereignties with advice and solutions that give them the clarity and confidence to make better decisions to protect and grow their business.
Aon UK Limited is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the provision of regulated products and services in the UK. Registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 00210725. Registered Office: The Aon Centre, The Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall Street, London EC3V 4AN. Tel: 020 7623 5500. FP#13103 has been approved until 5th September, 2025, after which time the content should not be used or distributed.
About the Centre for Disaster Protection (the Centre)
The Centre works to find better ways to stop disasters devastating lives, by supporting countries and the international system to better manage risks and move from reaction to readiness. The Centre is funded with UK aid through the UK government.
Lloyd’s is the world’s leading marketplace for commercial, corporate and specialty risk solutions. Through the collective intelligence and expertise of the market’s underwriters and brokers, we’re sharing risk to create a braver world. The Lloyd’s market offers the resources, capability, and insight to develop new and innovative products for customers in any industry, on any scale, in more than 200 territories.
About Lloyd’s Disaster Risk Facility
The Disaster Risk Facility at Lloyd’s was formed to look at closing insurance gaps around the world through development and provision of contingent risk financing solutions to mitigate the human and financial impacts of natural hazard and other catastrophic risks.
Seven Lloyd’s syndicates – AXA XL, Hiscox, Beazley, RenaissanceRe, Chaucer, MS Amlin, Nephila – have joined forces to develop new solutions to help developing economies tackle underinsurance and improve their resilience against the economic impact of natural catastrophes.
The group engages with governments, municipalities, and non-governmental organizations, in addition to Lloyd’s usual, valued client base, and supports the Insurance Development Forum (IDF).
For more information:
For media enquires or to coordinate an interview, please contact:[email protected]
Click here to learn more aboutDREF Insurance.
Watch this video explainer about DREF Insurance.
Sudan conflict: Sudanese Red Crescent Society and IFRC teams responding
Sudan: Complex emergency- our Emergency Appeal to support people inside Sudan
Sudan crisis: Regional population movement- our Emergency Appeal to support people fleeing the conflict to neighbouring countries
Fighting broke out in Marawei military base, Sudan on 15 April and then escalated rapidly in Khartoum and across the country. Reports indicate that hundreds of peoplehave lost their lives, with thousands more wounded and in need of urgent medical attention.
Civilians are unable to access food or water because shops remain closed and their safety is not assured. Basic services like electricity and internet services have been disrupted. So far, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced internally or fled across borders to seek safety in neighbouring countries.
Medical personnel are struggling to access health facilities due to the fighting. Hospitals that are usually re-stocked every 2-3 days are now going weeks withoutsupplies. Some of the most urgent needs in hospitals are first aid kits, diesel for power generators, stretchers, and beds, as well as transportation for medical staff and volunteers.
This latest flare-up of violence threatens to worsen a humanitarian crisis in a region that has suffered from years of violence, instability, economic hardship andfood insecurity.
Our response so far
More than 200 Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) volunteers have been deployed in Khartoum to offer first aid services and psychosocial support to those affected.
Hundreds of volunteers have also been deployed in other states; North Darfur, South Darfur and Northern State (Merawi) to offer first aid services in hospitals.
Volunteers are running a family reunification service for people who have been separated from their loved ones, offering psychosocial support to those who have lost contact.
On 2 May we launched an Emergency Appeal for Sudanfor 30 million Swiss francsto scale-up the Sudanese Red Crescent Society's local, life-saving action in the country, in collaboration and coordination with members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The IFRC has also made the following funding allocations to National Societies through ourDisaster Response Emergency Fund(DREF):
475,320 Swiss francs to the Sudanese Red Crescent Societyto enable them to provide health services, psychosocial support, and search and rescue efforts across multiple states. Find out more.
137,369 Swiss francs to the Chad Red Cross to help them support the growing number of people fleeing the conflict and crossing the border into Chad. Find out more.
305,832Swiss francs to the Egyptian Red Crescent to help them support the growing number of people fleeing the conflict and crossing the border into Egypt.Find out more.
485,297 Swiss francs to the Ethiopian Red Crossto help them support the growing number of people fleeing the conflict and crossing the border into Ethiopia. Find out more.
355,567 Swiss francs to the South Sudan Red Crossto help them support the growing number of people fleeing the conflict and crossing the border into South Sudan. Find out more.
223,438 Swiss francs to the Central African Republic Red Cross to help themsupport the growing number of people fleeing the conflict and crossing the border into Central African Republic. Find out more.
We continue to call on parties involved in the conflict to provide vital humanitarian space. With every single hour that the wounded and the sick cannot receive urgent assistance, the human toll continues to grow. Health-care facilities must be protected, and their personnel and transport must be given safe passage. It is an urgent priority for us to be able to reach these facilities and for maintenance teams to reach power and water stations.
For more information
Reuters article 'Red Cross warns of possible humanitarian disaster on Sudan-Chad border'(23 May)
Audio report from IFRC Deputy Regional Director for Africa (17 May)
Press release about an IFRC shipment of aid arriving in Port Sudan (16 May)
Audio update from IFRC Africa Migration and Displacement Coordinator (5 May)
SciDev.net article 'Sudan conflict leaves health system in 'total collapse'quotingIFRC Head of Country office for Sudan (27 April)
Audio report from IFRC Operations Manager in Sudan, Mohamed El Amin Ibrahim (26 April)
ABC interview with Farid Abdulkadir, IFRC Head of Country office for Sudan (25 April)
Al Jazeera English interview with Farid Abdulkadir, IFRC Head of Country office for Sudan (20 April)
Reuters article 'Almost impossible to provide aid in Sudanese capital', quotingIFRC Head of Country office for Sudan (April 18)
(Arabic) AlQAhera interview with IFRC MENA Regional Head of Disasters (28 April)
(Arabic) AlQAhera interview with IFRC Head of Country office for Sudan (25 April)
(Spanish) El Pais article quotingOsama Osman, Director of Communications at the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (19 April)
If you are a journalist and would like more information or to request an interview about this emergency, please contact [email protected]
Follow these Twitter accounts for the latest updates:
IFRC Africa Regional Team: @IFRCAfrica
Sudanese Red Crescent Society: @SRCS_SD
Farid Abdulkadir, IFRC Head of Country office for Sudan: @FARID1969
If you would like to donate to help us support people affected by the conflict in Sudan, please click here.
We are grateful for your valuable support. You can learn more about donating to the IFRC here.
Flooding around the world: Red Cross and Red Crescent teams responding
In recent weeks, floods have been hitting communities and making headlines around the world.
Let’s take a look at some of the countries dealing with flooding and see how Red Cross and Red Crescent teams are helping people who have been affected.
Torrential rains over the past couple of weeks have affected two-thirds of Slovenia, prompting the country’s Prime Minister to declare it the ‘biggest natural disaster’ in the country’s history.
The floods have killed three people and destroyed bridges, roads and houses - causing an estimated 500 million euros of damage.
Volunteers from the Slovenian Red Cross have been delivering food, water and medicine to people affected by the floods – often on foot, since it’s the only way to reach many isolated communities. They’re also accompanying people staying in temporary shelters.
The Czech Red Cross, Croatian Red Cross, Hungarian Red Cross and Polish Red Cross have all shown solidarity by sending additional food, water and hygiene items into the country to help with the response.
In Norway, Norwegian Red Cross volunteers are helping people affected Storm Hans, which is causing havoc across the south of the country – bringing extreme rain, landslides and floods.
Volunteers are assisting with evacuations, running emergency ambulances, delivering food to isolated people and building sandbag flood defences. Many local branches remain on high alert, with more volunteers standing by to support as the situation develops.
With millions reeling from the ongoing conflict in Sudan, communities across White Nile state have also now been impacted by heavy rains and flash floods.
Torrents of water swept away and destroyed everything in their path. Families have lost homes and belongings, and many are resorting to sleeping outside in the open air.
Shelter and clean water are needed urgently. Sudanese Red Crescent Society volunteers, who have already been responding to people’s needs during the conflict, are assessing the situation closely to provide additional support.
Torrential rains and floods have hit East Asia severely this summer, including areas of north, northeast and southern China. Beijing has seen the largest rainfall experienced in the city in the past 140 years.
Disaster relief teams from the Red Cross Society of China are helping people in flood-stricken areas – supporting with clean-up and recovery, as well as distributing household items, quilts, waterproof jackets and more.
In the Philippines, Typhoons Doksuri and Khanun (known locally as Egay and Falcon) have brought devastating floods.
An estimated 313,000 people have been displaced by Doksuri alone, and more than 25 people have sadly lost their lives.
Philippine Red Cross volunteers have been bringing relief supplies, meals, medical assistance and psychosocial support to affected communities.
Flash floods and heavy rainfall have caused loss of life, injuries and severe damage to hundreds of households in Afghanistan – a country already experiencing complex humanitarian crises.
Afghan Red Crescent and IFRC emergency teams are providing urgent relief – including blankets, jerry cans, tarpaulins and shelter kits. And mobile health teams are bringing medical services to remote communities.
In Iran, Iranian Red Crescent Society teams have been responding to flooding in Sistan Balochistan, North Khorasan and West Azerbaijan provinces – deploying 35 response teams and providing support to hundreds of people.
Volunteer teams have been rescuing people stranded in the flood waters, setting up temporary shelters, and providing essential items.
In western Honduras, localized flooding caused by rainstorms hit the town of Copan Ruinas – damaging homes and local businesses.
The local Honduran Red Cross branch responded quickly to distribute relief items to local people and help clear up debris and fallen trees.
Thank you to all our National Societies for supporting communities affected by floods in recent weeks.
If you'd like to learn more about floods and how you can prepare, click here.
| Press release
Climate situation wreaks havoc in Asia Pacific; causing relentless floods, diseases, and life-threatening heat
Kuala Lumpur/Dhaka/Beijing, 10 August 2023 – Countries across Asia Pacific are reeling from multiple disasters that are wreaking havoc in the region and climate analysts attribute this to a phenomenon called El Niño. The International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) urges authorities and humanitarian organizations to brace for multiple disasters hitting simultaneously, with more intensity.
These past few months, the IFRC has released eight Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) allocations for climate related events – three for dengue to Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, three for floods, to Mongolia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, one for a tropical cyclone to Bangladesh, and one for a cold wave event to Mongolia.
Although the full impact of the phenomenon is expected in the months of September this year to March next year, many regions in Asia and the Pacific are already facing multiple hazards now, and they all point to a deteriorating climate situation.
In Bangladesh, dengue infections have swarmed the nation and there have been almost 30,000 new cases this year, almost 5 times higher than last year's numbers. Moreover, local public health experts confirm that many people are being infected with multiple types of dengue, making the treatment complicated.
Sanjeev Kafley, Head of IFRC Bangladesh Delegation says:
"We are working closely with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) and health authorities to combat the situation. In 85 dengue hotspot wards in the cities of Dhaka, Chattogram, and Barishal, our volunteers are focusing on public awareness and prevention efforts. We are progressing to procure testing kits for our health authorities as well as supporting the availability of platelet concentrate through the blood banks of BDRCS. We are supporting in all intervention points, from life-saving areas to preventative measures."
IFRC’s climate mitigation efforts at national levels in different countries are towards improving water management systems, curbing mosquito breeding, strengthening surveillance and monitoring systems to track outbreaks and increase health care capacity to managing cases and providing treatment.
Olga Dzhumaeva, Head of IFRC East Asia Delegation says:
“Torrential rains and floods hit East Asia severely this summer. North, northeast and some regions in southern China saw one of the largest rainfalls Beijing has experienced in the past 140 years. Capital city Ulaanbaatar and 13 provinces in Mongolia, central parts and many provinces of the Republic of Korea, and in the Kyushu region of Japan also suffered from severe impact of extreme rains in July. As a result, millions of people in East Asia were greatly affected and displaced, and roads, bridges, homes, and infrastructures were very badly damaged, many beyond repair. In responding to the situation, our colleagues and volunteers from National Societies in China, Japan, Mongolia and Republic of Korea have been deployed to the front lines, activating their emergency responses, making every effort to evacuate people trapped by the floods and debris, and urgently sending relief supplies such as blankets, tents, folding beds to the affected areas.”
IFRC, National Societies, and its partners believe we equally need to focus on resilience building through inclusion of nature, anticipation, adaptation and mitigation. Early or anticipatory action, for example, whereby funds are proactively allocated based on weather forecasts to support people at risk before disaster strikes is an important emphasis in the context of rapidly increasing climate hazards.
Luis Rodriguez, IFRC Asia Pacific, Lead for Climate and Resilience says:
“These events were more intense than usual due to the prevailing warming conditions, and this brings heavier precipitations, triggering cyclones, rains, and floods. These climate factors also heavily influence the dynamics of infections. Increased rainfall creates new and conducive habitats for larvae or viruses, and increased temperature accelerates the development of insects carrying viruses and virus incubation time. Severe changes in temperature and precipitation patterns due to climate change will enable the spread and transmission of disease in areas that are currently considered low risk or dengue free. These are all not stand-alone events. They are connected.”
In anticipation of more extreme weather events that will hit more regions in the Asia Pacific, national societies together with IFRC are carrying out heavy preparedness measures such as heatwave action planning, simulations and drills, prepositioning of relief stocks, and evacuation and rescue equipment, and urgent refreshers on procedures and regulations for volunteers, staff, and technical teams. Moreover, the DREFs ensure National Societies can act speedily and efficiently and this means millions of lives and livelihoods are saved.
For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
In Kuala Lumpur:
Afrhill Rances, [email protected] , +60 19 271 3641
Anna Tuson, [email protected] , +41 79 895 6924
The IFRC wants to leverage financial markets to keep up with the world’s unprecedented humanitarian needs. Here’s how.
This opinion editorial was originally published on Fortune.comhere.
The humanitarian and private sectors may appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, but closer collaboration could yield solutions to the world’s biggest problems.
From Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to Environmental Social Governance (ESG), the corporate world has increasingly sought to engage in socially and environmentally beneficial activities. Meanwhile, humanitarian organizations are overwhelmed with rapidly increasing needs that traditional funding cannot keep up with.
TheGlobal Humanitarian Assistance Report 2022found that total funding for crisis response has plateaued despite historically high (and rising) demand. The report showed that the value of international humanitarian assistance reached an estimated $31.3 billion in 2021. The World Economic Forum anticipates an increase to $50 billion by 2030.
The donors we currently rely on—primarily a core group of governments—are too few and too precarious. We need to grow and diversify our funding sources if we are to have any hope of keeping up with the level of humanitarian needs forecast.
I believe it’s possible to move toward a shared ownership approach, whereby both the private sector and humanitarian partners align their objectives, including financial returns.
The private sector’s responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic have shown its power in times of crisis. To date, this has been mostly through grants, but the private sector’s skills, knowledge, and expertise could be the real game changers for the humanitarian sector.
Insurance companies are one example of where we have significant overlap when we drill down into our operations and goals: We are both dealing with the impacts and consequences of loss and damage caused by crises and disasters.
Since 1985, the IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) has worked as a central pot of money that can be quickly and transparently distributed to support community action in countries facing disasters before or when they hit.
Now we are working with AON and the Centre for Disaster Protection to structure an innovative insurance mechanism that uses commercial insurance markets to leverage contributions of traditional donors in order to increase the capacity of the DREF for responding to natural disasters to CHF 100 million by 2025. We are aiming for the new insurance mechanism to be in place in 2023.
We are taking a system that’s been proven over three decades and adapting it to an uncertain future. Through the insurance mechanism, instead of putting up the money to fund disaster responses, donors pay the premium. This stretches the value of their contributions and transfers the risk to the private sector if allocation requests exceed available resources. The approach uses reinsurance markets to lay off the risk of excessive natural hazards and ensure funds for response are available in a timely and reliable manner even in periods of excessive or unanticipated demand.
Our ambition will not be possible to achieve through grants alone. We will need innovative financing that can leverage our resources and allow for the private sector to meaningfully engage. Through our initiative, we are keen to demonstrate the value of structures that can be more sustainable, replicable, and scalable to address humanitarian needs.
Currently, we’re exploring options of innovative finance for our other flagship programs, including the potential to use green bonds or climate bonds as well as impact bonds for our water, sanitation, and hygiene programming.
We’ve set up a pilot with the Islamic Development Bank following the impact bond model that unlocks private capital through investors. Instead of the donors paying grants ahead, they pay when the results are proven. Investors provide the upfront funding, while the bank acts as the guarantor, which reduces the cost of the bond and enables true additionality of capital.
In collaborative financing models, it is important to consider the value and approach for each partner: The private sector can engage in ways that drive social impact as well as profits, governments can lead the change by creating enabling frameworks, and humanitarian agencies can embrace more agility in their operating models—all with the goal of mobilizing more private sector funding for humanitarian assistance and leveraging overstretched government donors’ grants.
We also need to strike the right balance between risks and rewards and be alert to conflicts of interest, value for money, and ethical questions. Today’s humanitarian needs demand that we create opportunities and conditions for private capital to come in to scale up funding, but it is paramount that the product we develop is in line with our principles.
This transition will take time and require making difficult compromises and changes to our operating models. We will likely fail before we succeed, but unless we try—with the will to learn from our mistakes—our humanitarian investments will continue to be mere drops in an ocean of needs.
For the private sector, this will be an opportunity to design innovative solutions that align with their ESG approach and to be at the forefront of a new untapped market while saving the lives of millions of people.
The untapped potential of innovative financing and humanitarian organizations
This piece was originally published in the OECD Development Co-operation Report 2023 'Debating the Aid System', available here.
The past several years have been unprecedented for the humanitarian sector. Worsening disasters and evolving crises across the globe have demonstrated that, despite our best efforts, the assumptions, approaches and structures that have long defined humanitarian responses are no longer capable of adequately meeting people’s needs.
This comes as no surprise to members and observers of the humanitarian sector. Important and necessary discussions on questions of localisation and the decolonisation of aid reveal the extent to which transformation is necessary – not only for the future of the humanitarian system but also the future of our organisations and the future we strive to build for the individuals and communities we partner with.
At the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), local organisations lead our humanitarian action. The 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that make up the IFRC network are embedded in their local communities and are intimately aware of the needs and how best to shape an appropriate humanitarian response. In this way, the IFRC network has a unique strength and capacity to directly channel resources from the international ecosystem to local and national organisations.
A recent analysis found that local and community actors deliver programming that is 32% more cost efficient than that of international intermediaries. We know through the work of our IFRC network that localising humanitarian assistance promotes greater inclusion and equity, more trust, faster and more timely responses, more flexibility, broader access, and long-term sustainability in our operations and programming. By investing in local and national support systems, we are able to strengthen and reinforce national infrastructure – directly benefiting the people who need it most.
Yet despite donor commitments in the Grand Bargain and significant progress made by some donors, the overall percentage of direct funding to local actors has barely moved beyond the low single digits. As the impacts of climate change accelerate, and as new and unexpected conflicts devastate entire populations, small or medium-sized crises and disasters struggle to attract visibility and funding, leaving those affected at risk of being neglected by the international community. At the IFRC, we are exploring innovative ways of covering the costs of our work to prevent this from happening.
We’ve had to ask ourselves, how are we reacting to the challenge of doing better with less? How are we exploring innovative ideas around financing and engaging with new donors?
The blurring of lines between the humanitarian and the private sectors is an area of exciting growth that represents untapped potential when it comes to innovative financing. In a groundbreaking move, the IFRC is collaborating with Aon and the Centre for Disaster Protection to build an innovative insurance mechanism whereby commercial insurance markets leverage the contributions of traditional donors to expand the capacity of our Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) to respond to natural disasters.
The DREF, established in 1985, is a central funding mechanism through which the IFRC releases funds rapidly to national societies for early action and immediate disaster response. The balance of funds required by the DREF to meet the demands of national societies has historically been funded through an annual appeal. However, in 2020, high requests for funds meant that DREF allocations surpassed available resources for the first time in history. The growing needs facing national societies around the world and the uncertainties of the future have therefore sparked a process of modernisation with the aim of making the DREF more flexible and more effective.
Through the insurance structure we are developing, donors would pay the premium instead of directly financing disaster responses through the DREF. This extends the value of their contributions and transfers the risk to the private sector if allocation requests exceed available resources. Reinsurance markets would relieve the risks of excessive natural hazards and would ensure funds are available for national societies to rely on even in periods of excessive or unexpected demand.
Through this cutting-edge approach, we aim to increase annual DREF allocations to CHF100million (Swiss francs), equivalent to about USD 100 million, in 2025. As it is impossible to reach this target through donor grants alone, the insurance mechanism represents an enormous step forward that has the capacity to transform how the international humanitarian system responds to complex crises in the future.
Another way the IFRC has answered this call is through our cash and voucher assistance programming. Using cash reiterates our commitment to more agile and efficient methods of providing humanitarian support that promotes choice and preserves dignity for people and communities. This type of programming allows us to cut down operating costs by placing the people affected by crisis and disaster – and most importantly, their own preferences and decisions – at the centre of our operations.
Recently we developed a new Cash app, built on learnings from other emergency operations, that allows people fleeing Ukraine to self-register and be verified for assistance. This new innovative approach to cash, which has been rolled out in Romania, has allowed us to take our response to scale and at speed, in many instances as the leading agency in the delivery of cash in the Ukraine response. Over 56000 people have been reached and assisted with EUR 17.4 million in Romania. The app has also been launched in Bulgaria, where in just four days, 20% of the known Ukrainians in the country were able to self-register.
Ultimately, by scaling up and replicating these ambitious and innovative programmes across our global network, the community-connectedness of organisations like the IFRC can be harnessed in a powerful way. The inescapable reality is that more funds will be urgently needed to confront the ever-increasing humanitarian emergencies of the world – yet financial innovation holds the key to sustainable, meaningful and impactful humanitarian work.
7 disasters in the Americas in 2023 that you may not have heard about
Disasters and crises happen all the time around the world. Some make international headlines – like the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria or the international armed conflict in Ukraine – but others go unheard of to people outside the countries where they strike.
These smaller, lesser-known disasters still claim lives, destroy livelihoods, and set entire communities back.
The Americas region alone has faced many small and medium-sized disasters so far this year. But while these disasters may have gone unnoticed to the wider world, Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies across the region have been there – right by the side of communities.
The IFRC has supported – getting money to our National Societies quickly through our Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) so they can prepare and respond effectively.
Let’s take a look at seven disasters in the Americas you may not have heard about from the first half of 2023, and how the IFRC network has supported the people affected.
1. Chile - forest fires:
In Febuary 2023, strong winds and high temperatures caused dozens of forest fires across central and southern Chile, leading to casualties and widespread damage. They followed earlier, destructive forest fires in December 2022 that spread rapidly around the city of Viña del Mar.
With DREF funding, the Chilean Red Cross provided support to more than 5,000 people affected by the fires over the following months. Staff and volunteer teams provided medical support to communities and distributed cash so that people could buy the things they needed to recover.
2. Uruguay - drought:
Uruguay is currently experiencing widespread drought due to a lack of rainfall since September 2022 and increasingly high temperatures in the summer seasons—prompting the Uruguayan government to declare a state of emergency.
The government officially requested the support of the Uruguayan Red Cross to conduct a needs assessment of the drought, so it could understand how it was impacting people and agricultural industries.
With funding from the DREF, Uruguayan Red Cross teams headed out into the most-affected areas to speak to more than 1,300 familiesabout the drought’s impact on their health, livelihoods and access to water.
Their findings are helping the government to make better-informed decisions on how to address the drought, taking into account the real needs of those affected.
This is the first time DREF funding has been used to support a damage assessment in this way.
3. Paraguay - floods:
In February and March 2023, heavy rains in northern Paraguay caused severe flooding—forcing many families to abandon their homes and paralyzing key infrastructure and industries.
The Paraguayan Red Cross responded, providing first aid and psychosocial support to people in temporary shelters. Volunteers also shared information with communities on how to protect themselves from water-borne diseases and from the increase in mosquitoes.
4. Ecuador - floods, earthquake, and landslides:
In the first quarter of 2023, Ecuador was struck by several, simultaneous disasters—floods, landslides, building collapses, hailstorms and an earthquake—that put the Ecuadorian Red Cross to the test.
Their volunteers deployed quickly provided wide-ranging support to people affected--including shelter, health care, water, sanitation and cash assistance. They also conducted surveys to understand exactly how people had been affected, and what they most needed to recover.
5. Argentina - floods:
In June, heavy rains caused flash flooding in the municipality of Quilmes, Buenos Aires, affecting an estimated 4,000 families. The flooding caused power outages, road closures and a contamination of water supplies—prompting the local authorities to request the support of the Argentine Red Cross.
Volunteer teams quickly mobilized to provide first aid and psychosocial support to people who had moved to evacuation centres in the area.
In the coming weeks and months, the Argentine Red Cross – with DREF funding – will provide shelter, health, water, sanitation and hygiene support to 500 of the most vulnerable families affected by the floods.
6. Haiti floods:
Flash floods also struck Haiti in early June following an exceptionally heavy rainstorm that swept the entire country. Though not classified as a cyclone or tropical downpour, the rainstorm nonetheless affected thousands of families, claimed more than 50 lives and submerged entire houses.
The Haitian Red Cross quicklydeployed rescue workers to provide first aid and assist with evacuations. Working alongside Movement partners, and with DREF support, they’ve also been distributing mattresses, shovels, rakes, hygiene kits, water treatment kits and plastic sheeting.
In a country already experiencing a cholera epidemic, Haitian Red Cross volunteers continue to share important information with communities about how to stay healthy and adopt good hygiene practices—especially important due to the increased risk from flood waters.
7. Dominican Republic - floods:
This same rainstorm in Haiti also affected communities across the border in the Dominican Republic, causing flash flooding in the country’s west.
The Dominican Red Cross has been providing humanitarian assistance in the form of search and rescue, evacuation, health and hygiene services, psychological first aid and restoring family links (RFL) services.
These are just a few examples of the many disasters that have hit the Americas so far this year.
With DREF support, Red Cross Societies across the region have been able to respond quickly to these disasters—providing effective and local humanitarian assistance directly to those who need it.
If you would like to help our network to continue responding to smaller disasters like these, please consider donating to our Disaster Response Emergency Fund today.
Secretary General speech at the Inter American Conference 2023
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
It’s so good to be here in the beautiful Bahamas.
Bahamas —thank you for hosting this conference. I take this occasion to congratulate the Bahamas on 50 years of your Independence.
President Terez Curry, IFRC Vice President Miguel Villarroel, Dr Judith Carvajal, Vice Chair of CORI, GB members and Commission and Committee chairs of the IFRC, George Weber Vice Chair of Standing Commission, Giles Carbonier VP of ICRC, National Society leaders, staff and volunteers and my amazing IFRC secretariat team led by Martha Keys —I pay tribute to all of you who have shown incredible leadership these past few years--through the COVID-19 pandemic and so many other compounding crises.
I thank you all for your focus on doing what is right for the people we serve, and for your unwavering commitment to your communities.
The Americas region is vibrant, teeming with diverse communities and extraordinary resilience.
It is also one of the most unequal regions in the world, hit by a complex web of crises that is driving up humanitarian needs and negatively impacting communities’ lives, livelihoods, and dignity.
The climate crisis with rising temperatures, extreme weather events and environmental degradation are wreaking havoc on communities and their livelihoods, across the region.
Endemic violence has shattered communities leaving scars that last for generations.
It has widened inequality and worsened socio-economic conditions.
It is pushing people to flee their homes and has directly contributed to the most severe migration crisis the Americas region faces in recent history.
Today, 3 out of every 10 migrants or asylum seekers leave their country of origin because of threats of violence.
Sadly, women and children bear the brutal brunt of this terrible crisis.
The tragic and horrifying stories of the people I met who were making the perilous journey across the Darien Gap last August will stay with me forever.
Every day, around 1000 people take this dangerous path in Darien Gap, in search of safety, hope, and new opportunities.
With no political solutions in sight and less resources available, the global humanitarian system is buckling under pressure to meet assistance, and protection needs of people in these circumstances.
But, 35 National Societies in this region, sadly only 34 now, have shown that we can confront these challenges by providing a wide range of services that address the core needs of communities.
From managing blood banks, clinics, hospitals, and ambulances to leading search and rescue operations, supporting people on the move, running nursing institutions, and developing solutions to tackle the climate crisis and violence, National Societies play crucial role.
IFRC is proud to support these efforts through the Disaster Response Emergency Fund, Capacity Building Fund, Emergency Appeals and our annual unified plans.
To address increasing migration needs, we are expanding our Humanitarian Service Points (HSPs) to provide life-saving and inclusive services across migratory routes.
Collectively, we have reached millions:
Over a million people through programmes for migrants and host communities
A further one million people through disaster response,
More than 3.5 million people through health and well-being programmes.
And the millions reached during the COVID-19 response and related immunization efforts.
But we cannot rest on our laurels.
Today we face serious challenges, both in our ability to meet growing humanitarian needs but also in our ability to safeguard our fundamental principles.
In this context, today we gather at this 22nd Inter-American Conference recognizing the responsibility we bear, the solidarity we must foster, and the impact we can create together.
Firstly--The responsibility we bear is our opportunity to contribute to something greater than ourselves.
Our IFRC network is like no other.
We are part of the communities we serve.
And we are the largest, most connected, global humanitarian network.
This sum of local action and global reach makes National Societies effective auxiliaries to their public authorities in humanitarian field.
Our responsibility is to deliver quality humanitarian action that makes a positive difference in people’s lives, that reduces their risks and vulnerabilities, and that enhances their capacities and potential.
We can only succeed if we remain true to our Fundamental Principles.
They are the foundations of just and inclusive humanitarian action.
They are the building blocks of unity, trust, and cooperation in our Movement.
They are our moral compass.
Without them, our credibility is called into question and our ability to deliver neutral, independent and impartial humanitarian action is threatened.
We must reassert our Fundamental Principles.
Let’s practise them in our work, speak to them in our discussions, live by them, teach them, help communities, partners and donors understand them.
Secondly, solidarity is at the heart of everything we do across the IFRC network.
Solidarity and commitment to our Strategy 2030 and Agenda for Renewal has enabled us to respond to the multiple crises and disasters in this region, to provide relief to those in need, and to support communities as they recover and rebuild.
Solidarity also means that we stand together as one.
It means that we put the needs of those we serve before our own, and that we work to alleviate their suffering.
Solidarity enables us to leverage our collective resources, expertise, and influence, to reach more people in need, to advocate for their needs and aspirations, and to amplify their voices.
Solidarity is not an option. It is a moral duty. We need this now, more than ever.
Our success is measured by the outcomes we achieve for the people we serve.
In this era of fast paced change and shifting political divides, our focus must be on accountability, agility, engagement, and innovation—which are important elements of our Agenda for Renewal.
For this, the IFRC is working for and with National Societies.
We have invested in scaling up digitalization, risk management, new funding models for greater agility, accountability, and impact to reach to the communities we serve.
We use these resources to foster learning and strengthen National Society capacities, so they are leaders in the humanitarian field, not just in response but in resilience building, data, influence, collaboration, and innovation.
This brings me to our volunteers—the lifeline and heartbeat of our network.
More than 50 percent of our volunteers today are people under 30.
Young people bring with them energy, technological know-how, and innovative solutions.
Let’s harness their skills today, give them opportunities to lead us to a more just and equitable future.
Colleagues, our impact must be about scaling up our delivery, while ensuring the quality, relevance, and sustainability of our actions.
None of the obstacles we face today are insurmountable.
We have the knowledge, the resources, the expertise and the skills to bring about the change.
As Mother Teresa once said – “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”.
Colleagues- just like Mother Teresa, let us all dare to cast a stone across the water that will collectively create millions of ripples to make this world a better place for everyone. Not just for the few but for everyone.
Nevado del Ruiz volcano: Preparing for an eruption
On 30 March, the Colombian Geological Service increased the alert level of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in central Colombia from yellow to orange, signifying a probable eruption in a matter of days or weeks.
While it is not possible to know exactly when or how a volcano will erupt, it is possible to monitor a volcano’s activity and take early action to minimize its potential impact on communities living nearby—which is exactly what IFRC network teams are doing right now.
Nevado del Ruiz is an explosive volcano. Its eruptions involve the fracturing of rock and rapid expulsion of gases and fluids—called ‘pyroclastic flows’—at high speeds and temperatures.
But there’s also one quite unique additional risk: as one of the highest volcanoes in the region, standing at 5000+ metres tall, it is covered snow and has a thick ice cap.
The concern is that this ice cap melts, as it did during the 1985 eruption when avalanches of water, ice, rocks, and clay ran down the volcano's sides, erasing the nearby town of Armero and killing more than 25,000 people.
To prepare for this risk, the Colombian Red Cross has activated its general plan of action.
This plan defines the preparedness actions they need to take in response to different levels of volcanic activity, including if the alert level changes from orange to red—indicating that the volcano is in the process of erupting or is going to erupt any time.
With anticipatory funding from the IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF), Colombian Red Cross teams have been working hard to get their volunteers and communities ready for the worst-case scenario.
They’ve been re-training volunteers in first aid, evacuation, and emergency coordination, and restocking essential emergency response items such as first aid kits, identification items for first responders, and emergency signal equipment.
They’ve also been sharing as much information as possible within local communities around Nevado del Ruiz: warning at-risk families to evacuate; talking to them about how and where to evacuate safely; and handing out radios and batteries to people in hard-to-reach areas so they can stay informed.
But some families are reluctant to leave and are dismissing evacuation advice from local authorities and the Colombian Red Cross. On the surface, this can be difficult to understand—why wouldn’t you want to move away from a volcano that’s potentially about to erupt?
There’s no simple answer. For the many farmers who rely on the rich volcanic soils surrounding Nevado del Ruiz, they may not want to leave their properties or animals and abandon the livelihood upon which they rely. Other people simply cannot, or choose not to, believe something as horrific as the 1985 eruption could ever happen again.
Right now, Colombian Red Cross, IFRC and partners are gathering in the region to step up preparedness efforts. This includes an increased focus on community engagement to understand people’s thoughts and fears and convince them to evacuate.
They are also preparing for, and trying to reduce the risk of, mass displacement should the volcano erupt. Through the DREF operation, they are taking early actions such reinforcing critical infrastructure, providing people with cash assistance, and pre-positioning food and safe drinking water.
We will share more about these vital efforts in the coming weeks. In the meantime, click here to read more about the anticipatory action funding we have provided through the DREF.
What are volcanic eruptions?
How the Anticipatory Pillar of the DREF works
Follow IFRC Americas @IFRC_es and the Colombian Red Cross @cruzrojacol on Twitter
Climate adaptation: IFRC Secretary General statement at the UN Early Warning Initiative to Implement Climate Adaptation
Your Excellencies and Colleagues,
On behalf of the IFRC, thank you for inviting me to speak here today. Due to time, I kindly acknowledge all protocols to be observed.
I welcome the UN Secretary-General’s pledge on Early Warning Systems for All (EW4A). This pledge, rightly put in the hands of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), is a very timely and achievable initiative that contributes to keeping people safe across the globe, but especially in the furthest to reach places, where the most at-risk and vulnerable to climate change live.
Since the establishment of IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) over 35 years ago, IFRC and our member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have supported governments prepare for, manage, and respond to disasters. Every year, DREF is used ahead of and in response to over 100 small and medium sized disasters and has supported over 200 million people.
We know from our long experience that early warnings that lead to early actionssave lives.
Over the last decade, some of the most recent - and often predicted -extreme weather events were the most deadly, costly, devastating. Early warnings can only work if they are turned into early actions and response. Here is how:
First, improve the decision-making process, data and information to identify triggers and decide when and where to act before a disaster. What and who is likely to be impacted must underpin all our actions.
Second, improve early action planning, systems, and local capacities to reduce risks and prepare for an effective early action.
Third, and most importantly, create and adapt financing mechanisms, like DREF, that can disburse funds for pre-agreed plans ahead of the disaster to reduce the humanitarian impact. Additional funding is especially needed for early warning communications and dissemination and the ability to translate these warnings into action.
In the last decade, humanitarian organizations have invested in enhancing and transforming early warning systems into anticipatory action approaches. Adequate, sustained and coordinated resources are needed to bring these approaches to scale.
This requires a systematic shift in funding flows for us to move to scalable action. At the same time, early warning and early action systems need to be seen as development and climate issues, rather than exclusive humanitarian tools.
In closing, the IFRC network, along with the Risk-Informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) and Anticipation Hub, look to collaborate with WMO and other actors in investing in early warnings that lead to early actions and response.
Together, let us ensure that early warnings are clear, tailored, and people-centered, and that they support people in the furthest to reach places.
DREF Pledging Conference 2022: Donors united to pledge increased support to local humanitarian action
Climate-related disasters are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity. But the vast majority do not make international headlines—devastating lives, infrastructure and economies without attention, resources or help for those affected.
At the IFRC, we know that the global-to-local funding model is the most effective and cost-efficient way to get aid to where it’s needed the most, both in anticipation of disasters and immediately after they strike.
This is exactly why we set up our Disaster Response Emergency Fund in 1985: to get funding quickly to local Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies who can support communities in crisis around the world like no other.
Since its launch, the DREF has funded thousands of emergency responses worldwide and supported more than 210 million people.
And this year, the DREF has evolved to provide even more agility, flexibility and resources to National Societies.
Watch the following video to learn about some of the lesser-known crises the DREF has supported in 2022.
But donations to this vital fund are not keeping pace with the growing number of climate-induced disasters and increasing humanitarian needs.
"Given the need to respond to compounded and frequent humanitarian crises, our collective ambition should be to grow DREF to be able to address these increasing needs"
IFRC Secretary General
The DREF Pledging Conference 2022 therefore sought to grow the DREF to 100 million Swiss francs per year to address this funding gap—making sure that silent disasters are met with loud responses.
To support this aim, we were delighted to receive pledges at the conference from the following governments:
People's Republic of China
United States of America
In addition, we also received valuable pledges from the European Union (EU) and, from the private sector, the companies Splunk and White & Case.
This year’s conference also showcased an innovative insurance-based finance mechanism we’ve developed for the DREF in partnership with Aon and the Centre for Disaster Protection (CDP).
The insurance mechanism aims to leverage donor contributions to attract private capital and ultimately increase the fund’s capacity in times of increased need.
Watch the below video and read this recent opinion piece in Fortune magazine to find out more.
Now more than ever, communities on the frontlines of climate change—and in many other emergency settings—need fast and effective local assistance to prepare for, and respond to, crises.
It is urgent that the DREF can keep pace and help Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies be there for communities when they are needed the most.
We are deeply grateful for the involvement of all existing and new donors who participated in the DREF Pledging Conference 2022.
For more information about the DREF or the 2022 pledging conference:
Visit this page on our website.
Read this Twitter thread to see how the conference unfolded.
Download our DREF Annual Plan 2022 and DREF Strategic Ambition 2021-2025.
Or you can contact:
Florent Del Pinto (Manager, Emergency Operations Centre) [email protected]
Ivana Mrdja (Manager, National Society and Government Partners) [email protected]
IFRC announces changes to flagship Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF)
Today, the IFRC is launching important and exciting new changes to our flagship Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF).
The DREFis our central pot of money through which we can release funds rapidly to Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for early action and immediate disaster response. It's the quickest, most efficient and most transparent way of getting funding directly to local humanitarian actors, and has supported more than 200 million people in crisis since its launch back in 1985.
As of today:
The DREF is now one fund made up of two 'pillars': an Anticipatory Pillar, previously known as 'Forecast-based Action by the DREF' and a Response Pillar. This new structure gives National Societies more opportunityto actbefore a hazard and better ability to respond quickly when a disaster strikes.
We have introduceda new DREF funding modality to assess and address slow-onset disasters, such as drought and food insecurity.
We have increased the funding ceilings available for National Societies so they can scale up and access the appropriate amount of funding required, at the right time, to meet the needs of at-risk and affected communities.
We have made it easier for National Societies to request funding from the DREF by setting up an online application process on our emergency operations platform, IFRC GO. This digital transformation makes the request process even quicker, more efficient and more transparent.
Speaking about the changes to the DREF, IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said:
“Humanitarian needs are growing exponentially. So too is the pressure on our IFRC network to anticipate and respond to bigger and more complex crises. Our DREF is evolving to meet these needs”.
For more information about these improvements to the DREF, please contact Florent Delpinto, Manager of the IFRC Emergency Operations Centre:[email protected]
| Press release
In Yemen, response to deadly floods and critical health care services are key
Beirut / Sanaa /17 August -More than a month after heavy thunderstorms wreaked havoc in Yemen, their effects are still being felt. More than 31,000 households experienced the loss of life or property—in a country where food insecurity was already at an all-time high.
To best understand the needs and work being done, the Head of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent’s (IFRC) Delegation in Yemen, Sami Fakhouri paid a 4-day visit to Yemen Red Crescent’s (YRCS) branches and health centres in Hajjah and Saadah.
Fakhouri saluted the outstanding job done by YRCS volunteers and staff—their dedication and hard work despite challenges. Tireless team members are working around the clock to provide primary, secondary, inpatient, and outpatient care entirely free of charge at 23 Yemen Red Crescent health centres throughout Yemen in addition to acute flood response.
During the visit earlier last week, Fakhouri was briefed on the urgent needs and the ways in which Red Crescent teams are alleviating the suffering of local communities. He said: “IFRC will continue to support the Yemen Red Crescent in health, disaster management, water, sanitation, and hygiene and National Society Development, by providing technical and financial support.”
On July 30, IFRC released more than CHF 452.000 from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Yemen Red Crescent’s response, which includes providing families impacted by the floods with food, hygiene, and household items, shelter kits, and water and sanitation services.
In turn, Abdullah Al Azab, YRCS Disaster Management Coordinator said: “We need to be ready to support the population rendered more vulnerable by these natural catastrophes, in addition to the difficulties they are already experiencing in a country in war, and despite massive challenges, the Yemen Red Crescent tries to provide a fast life-saving response to victims of natural disasters in all governorates".
Fakhouri concluded that IFRC in collaboration with The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and partner National Societies will continue to advocate with local and international authorities to remind stakeholders of the immense humanitarian needs of the Yemeni populations, not to forget supporting Yemen and its people, and to enhance the coordinated InternationalRed Cross and Red Crescent Movement response in the country.
For more information, contact:
In Beirut, IFRC-MENA: Mey Al Sayegh, +961 03229352, [email protected]
In Yemen -YRCS: Nesreen Ahmed, +967 775322644, [email protected]
| Press release
Deadly earthquake hits crises-riddled Afghanistan
The Afghan Red Crescent, together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has mobilised to support communities affected by a deadly 5.9 magnitude earthquake which struck the south-East region of Afghanistan early morning Wednesday 22 June.
Based on initial reports, at least 1000 people have been killed, with the number of casualties expected to increase as rescuers reach hardest-hit villages where people remain trapped in rubble. Remote districts in the provinces of Khost and Paktika have been most affected.
Afghan Red Crescent staff and volunteers from affected communities were among the first responders working alongside local authorities and other humanitarian organisations. Additional teams have been deployed from Kabul and neighbouring provinces to boost the speed of assistance.
Furthermore, food supplies, non-food items and medicines that were in stock have been redirected to areas hardest hit by the quake to address immediate needs.
Dr Mohammad Nabi Burhan, Secretary General of Afghan Red Crescent, said:
“This latest earthquake is another horrific tragedy for Afghanistan, as if there were not enough. It struck in a grim backdrop where more than 50 per cent of our people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance due a combination of catastrophic crises.”
“It is heartbreaking to see such human suffering among people who were already struggling to recover from effects of decades of conflict, severe drought, flooding, and extreme economic hardship among other shocks.”
Afghan Red Crescent trucks with relief items and medicines as well as ambulances have been dispatched to the affected areas. These will complement mobile health teams that were already operational in Paktika, of which some have been redirected to address immediate needs resulting from the earthquake.
Necephor Mghendi, IFRC’s Head of Delegation for Afghanistan, said:
“Local responders and institutions have played a critical role in saving lives of thousands who would otherwise still be trapped in rubble. Strengthening local preparedness capacity is the surest and quickest way to an effective response."
“We only recently revised our Emergency Appeal to increase emergency relief, health services and recovery assistance in almost all province of Afghanistan which are battling a cocktail of catastrophic humanitarian crises. Following the deadly earthquake, we will have to scale up further our operations in Khost and Paktika.”
The IFRC has released 750,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) in support of a timely response by the Afghan Red Crescent. Increased global support and solidarity to deliver humanitarian assistance is needed.
As part of its ongoing support, the IFRC is urgently appealing to the international community for 90 million Swiss francs to support the Afghan Red Crescent to deliver emergency relief, health services and recovery assistance to more than 1 million people in the provinces hit by multiple crises. This includes an extra 10 million Swiss francs to address the needs wrought by the quake.
For more information or to arrange interviews:
In Geneva: Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, Director A.I, Communications Department, Mob: +41 (0)79 213 24 13, Email: [email protected]
In Asia/Pacific: Rachel Punitha, Manager A.I., Communications, Mob: +60 19 791 3830,
Email: [email protected]
“This time, houses were being burnt”: Fleeing intercommunal clashes in Cameroon
"My name is Madi, and I am a mother of 12 children.
My family had always lived in Maga peacefully alongside other ethnic groups, even if from time to time there were tensions.
I never imagined that one day we would have to leave.
One evening as my children and I were already in bed, my husband hurriedly came in and urged me to wake them up. More tensions had flared up. But this time houses were being burnt, people were being killed, livestock were being robbed. To save our lives, we had to leave.
He asked me to take the few things we could carry with us and we set off immediately. To what destination, I did not know. But the screaming and shouting I heard near our house convinced me that we needed to move quickly.
We walked with our children day and night across the savannah, resting here and there to regain our strength. Hundreds of us fled that night with the few personal belongings we could grab in a hurry. By the grace of God, we were able to find refuge in the locality of Bogo, about 45km from Maga, where the host population greeted us with food and drink.
Tented camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) were soon set up by humanitarian workers. Some people from our community were with us in our camp, while others were placed elsewhere, miles away. But what mattered was that we could finally rest, sleep peacefully with our children, and allow them to recover from long days of walking.
Once we settled, we were visited by several humanitarian organizations, including the Cameroon Red Cross. Volunteers went from shelter to shelter to see how we were doing. They taught us how to keep our shelters clean and how to prevent diseases such as cholera and COVID-19. But most importantly, they listened to us when we talked about the hardships we had been through and all the loved ones we had lost back in Maga.
A few weeks later, we received basic items from the Cameroon Red Cross. The volunteers handed out buckets, cooking pots, blankets, soap, and dignity kits to enable our girls to take care of their personal hygiene. We are extremely grateful for this support, but unfortunately it is not enough.
When we lived in Maga, my husband had an income, we could meet our daily needs. But now that we have lost everything and are far from the land we’re familiar with, we lack food.
Access to drinking water is a difficult journey. We have to walk up to 7km to find a water point, which is very difficult without our donkeys to help us.
Our children have not been to school since the crisis. And at night we share our shelter with many others because there is not enough space.
We are grateful to receive weekly visits from nurses who come to see our children, vaccinate them, and give us treatments for diseases. And we hope to receive further assistance from the Cameroon Red Cross Society.
For the moment, we do not plan to return to Maga. The after-effects of the crisis are too fresh in our minds and the tension has not yet subsided. We want to stay here for now because we are safe. But we need support."
The Cameroon Red Cross, with DREF support, has provided household items, water, hygiene supplies and dignity kits to 299 households in Bogo and Pette, in addition to running awareness campaigns on disease prevention and peace culture. We are currently considering how we can best provide further assistance to communities—potentially through cash assistance.
Speaking about the response, IFRC Regional Disaster Management Coordinator, Josuane Tene, said "At this stage, the needs identified are multifaceted. The shelters provided by humanitarian partners are not sufficient. Many of them are makeshift shelters and with the rainy season approaching, which is usually very severe in this part of the country, those affected need safe shelters. They also struggle to feed themselves properly. Cash assistance and livelihood support will certainly help them to meet their needs with dignity."
The IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) is a central pot of money through which we can quickly release money to National Societies—enabling them to prepare for, and respond to, small and medium-sized disasters like the conflict in northern Cameroon. You can donate to the DREF today to support people just like Madi.
The IFRC also provides country support to the Cameroon Red Cross, and other National Societies in the region, through our Cluster Delegation based in Yaoundé, Cameroon. You can learn about this work in our cluster support plan for 2022.
| Press release
KwaZulu-Natal floods: Red Cross steps up response amid mounting humanitarian needs
Pretoria/Nairobi/Geneva, 26 April 2022—The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched an 8 million Swiss franc emergency appeal to support the South African Red Cross Society (SARCS) to expand the scope of their assistance as humanitarian needs continue to outpace available resources.
eThekwini municipality in the east coast of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) was pummelled by rains on the weekend of 10 April. The meteorological department has stated that this is one of the heaviest floods recorded in a day in 60 years and has left a trail of destruction on human life, private property and infrastructure. The devastating floods have claimed over 400 lives so far. Over 50 people are unaccounted for, as search and rescue efforts continue. Damage to property and infrastructure is estimated to amount to billions of rands. Once the water subsided, thousands have been left without livelihoods and homes.
Ruth van Rooyen, Senior Disaster Management Officer, IFRC Country Cluster Delegation for Southern Africa said:
“The communities affected by the floods were already vulnerable due to the recent civil unrest and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had left many households without a source of income. Just as they were trying to rebuild, another disaster hit. Humanitarian aid is stretched, and partnerships are greatly needed as we support communities in their rebuilding process. This appeal aims to help communities build back better and regain the hope lost as they watched their lives washed away by the torrents of water.”
According to national authorities, 123,808 people were affected, 448 people have died and over 30,000 are displaced, mostly in collective evacuation centers. Several dozens of people remain missing and unaccounted for. Rescue teams, including South Africa Red Cross Society volunteers, have been mobilized to the affected areas to search for the missing and bring others to safety.
In the immediate aftermath of the floods, the IFRC released 330,000 Swiss francs (R5 351 866) from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) to help SARCS rapidly respond and provide immediate assistance to more than 7,500 people (over 1,500 households). To respond to the greater needs, the emergency appeal will allow SARCS to support a total of 30,000 people (6,000 households) with various relief activities in evacuation centres to enable early recovery in affected communities. Families with severely damaged homes and those who are economically vulnerable having lost their livelihoods and lacking alternative coping mechanisms to meet their basic needs will be the main targeted groups. Particular attention will be given to homeless women and children.
SARCS staff and volunteers have been mobilized and continue to respond to communities after floods hit. They have provided hot meals, psychosocial support, and the protection of family links to affected individuals. Red Cross teams have also distributed mattresses and provided first aid to displacement centres.
Some initial images from the field can be accessed on this link: https://shared.ifrc.org/c/1586
For more information, or to request an interview please contact:
In Pretoria: Robyn Lee Doyle, [email protected]
In Nairobi: Susan Mbalu, susan[email protected]
In Geneva: Anna Tuson, [email protected]
| Press release
People affected by crises everywhere deserve same strong support provided to Ukraine response
Geneva, 6 April 2022 - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for solidarity with people affected by crises everywhere as the response to the conflict in Ukraine shows the way.
The support from people and donors around the world demonstrates what is possible and illustrates the good practice essential in any humanitarian crisis. At the same time, the massive differences depending on where a crisis occurs and who it affects have been thrown into stark relief.
Secretary General of the IFRC, Jagan Chapagain, says:
“The immense suffering experienced by so many people in Ukraine is unimaginable for some. Unfortunately, for many others around the world the loss and pain are all too familiar. In Syria for example, 11 years after the conflict began needs in the country are at an all-time high. In Tonga tens of communities are still to recover from the devastating volcanic eruption in January. In the horn of Africa millions of people are currently experiencing one of the most dramatic food crises in years, away from the eyes of the world. These are but a few examples. We call on donors and partners to ensure that we can support everyone in need, no matter where, no matter who.”
The situation in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya is critical as these countries are facing a fourth consecutive drought along with the impacts of COVID-19, conflict in the region and escalating food prices due to heavy reliance on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia. With 14 million people currently in need of urgent food assistance - a number that is expected to reach 20 million this year – IFRC has launched emergency appeals for a total of 39 million Swiss francs to provide life-saving assistance. This also includes longer term support for sustainable livelihoods adapted to the increasing negative effects of climate change to help strengthen communities’ resilience.
Every day, in every community around the world, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers continue to respond with an impartial needs-based approach to people affected by crises everywhere, regardless of their status, nationality, ethnicity, religion or any other criteria. While National Societies are working hard to provide the humanitarian services necessary in Ukraine and surrounding countries, it is critical to ensure continuing focus on other crises as well as in preparing for those that will happen next.
“IFRC with its network of 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is well placed to channel solidarity and mobilize support to respond to all crises and disasters that are happening concurrently around the world. But to be able to do this, needs-based support and funding is essential," concluded Mr Chapagain.
IFRC currently has 29 emergency appeals open for big and complex disasters, from Afghanistan to Madagascar. For the increasing number of smaller climate-related disasters, the Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) is the most efficient and transparent way to get funding directly to local humanitarian actors. At present, there are 42 active DREF funded responses around the world, including in Ethiopia, Palestine and Ecuador.
In Geneva: Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924, [email protected]
In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe +254 731 688 613, [email protected]
In Beirut: Rana Cassou +336 7594 5515, [email protected]
In Panama: Susana Arroyo +50 68 416 1771, [email protected]
In Kuala Lumpur: Antony Balmain +60 12 230 8451, [email protected]
Our Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF)has enabled National Societiesto deliver fast and effective humanitarian assistance, in response to and anticipation of crises, for 35 years. As we continue to grow and improve the Fund, the IFRC has set up a DREF Council to advise on its development and make sure it remains relevant to donors and to the people it supports.
| Press release
EU and IFRC support people affected by the water crisis and drought in Syria
Damascus, 3 December 2021 – In response to the severe water crisis and drought in Syria, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released 748,000 CHF (709,000 EUR) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund.
The European Union is providing CHF 158.000 (150,000 EUR) in humanitarian funding to assist the most affected people. The funding is part of the EU's overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The funds released to the IFRC will help the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) cater to the humanitarian needs of 15,000 people with food and health interventions over six months in Al Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor, which are some of the most affected localities.
Since January 2021, Syria has been witnessing extreme drought conditions coupled with unprecedented low water levels of the Euphrates River leading to poor agricultural production and loss of livelihoods. Millions of people are now experiencing worsening food insecurity and increasing malnutrition rates.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and community health promoters will distribute food parcels and engage in hygiene promotion and disease prevention through awareness-raising about waterborne diseases and COVID-19.
Through the European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the European Union provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.
The European Union is signatory to a €3 million humanitarian delegation agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF.For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The delegation agreement between the IFRC and EU humanitarian aid enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.
For more information, please contact:
Rana Sidani Cassou, Head of Communications – IFRC MENA: Mobile +41766715751 / +33675945515 [email protected]
Anouk Delafortrie, Regional Information Officer – European Humanitarian Aid MENA: Mobile +962 777 57 0203 [email protected]
| Press release
Action needed now to prevent further loss of life on the Belarus border
Budapest, 15 November 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling for an urgent de-escalation of the situation at the Belarus-Poland border and for access for humanitarian organisations, to prevent more deaths.
At least 10 migrants are thought to have died as conditions reach below freezing along the 1000km border between Belarus and neighbouring countries Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
“We are concerned about the increasingly serious situation on the Poland-Belarus border, after large groups of migrants arrived there on November 8. We call for access for the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations so that all people in need, at the border and other locations, can receive medical treatment, humanitarian assistance and protection services,” said Andreas von Weissenberg, IFRC Europe’s head of Disasters, Climate and Crises.
“While Belarus Red Cross has thankfully been given some access to provide vital life-saving aid to people enduring hunger and freezing conditions, we need that access to be regular and also get access on the other side of the border. People need to be treated humanely,” von Weissenberg said.
An estimated 2,000 people are living in makeshift camps near the border. Belarus Red Cross has been coordinating aid from partners since November 9, distributing food, water, blankets and warm clothes. 50 staff and volunteers are involved in a continuous response to the situation with migrants, 20 of them are involved sorting and distributing packages, as well as helping authorities set up heating tents for women and children.
Belarus Red Cross has also provided food, clothing and hygiene kits for three children who were hospitalised in Grodno and is assisting migrantswho come to its office in Minsk.
Andreas von Weissenberg said Polish Red Cross has also been responding to this crisis for several weeks.
“They are working with authorities to deliver blankets, sleeping bags and clothes. Local branches are supporting migrants in Podlaskie and Lubelskie provinces, near the border, with food, water and hygiene kits. They are providing first aid and helping people trace family members. But they need unhindered access to migrants at the border in line with our humanitarian mandate and in accordance with our fundamental principles.
“Access to humanitarian assistance and to protection in the territory must go hand in hand. All migrants arriving at the EU’s borders should be able to effectively apply for international protection and receive an individualised assessment of their claim, in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention and applicable EU law,” von Weissenberg explained.
IFRC is in the process of providing Belarus Red Cross with emergency funding. It has already allocated 429,426 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to help Polish Red Cross support up to 4,300 migrants with food, clothes, hygiene items, first aid and family reunification services.
IFRC has also allocated 338,885 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to help Lithuanian Red Cross support up to 4,000 migrants with medicine, clothes, hygiene kits, personal protective equipment against COVID-19, family reunification and psychosocial support services.
In total the financial support provided by IFRC to the three Red Cross Societies will be more than 1 million Swiss francs.
Lithuanian Red Cross teams have been supporting migrants close to the border with water, hygiene kits, footwear and clothing, as well as toys for children. In five large reception centres volunteers provide food and other humanitarian aid, offer psychological support and legal assistance and help people reconnect with their loved ones by providing mobile phones and SIM cards.
But more needs to be done.
“Humanitarian organizations must be granted unconditional and safe access to all people in need, irrespective of their legal status. People are crossing the border with just the clothes on their backs. They need food, medicine, hygiene items, clothing, and protective equipment against COVID-19. We must be allowed to deliver critical assistance and we want to see a peaceful, humane and rights-based solution to the situation,” von Weissenberg concluded.
Photos of the Red Cross response can be found here
For more information, please contact:
In Budapest: Georgia Trismpioti, +30 697 180 9031, [email protected]
In Budapest: Corinne Ambler, +36 704 306 506, [email protected]
| Press release
Communities affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota are threatened by food insecurity, displacement and the climate crisis
Panama City, 11 November, 2021 - One year after Hurricanes Eta and Iota hit Central America, affecting more than 7.5 million people, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for urgent action and investment to protect millions of vulnerable people in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua who are facing the combined impact of COVID-19, poverty, and climate-related disasters.
In Honduras alone, over 3 million people are now suffering from food insecurity, and 2.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, over double the previous estimate issued in early 2020. Other communities in the region are facing the destruction of livelihoods such as fishing and farming has forced the most vulnerable families to choose between selling their assets to ensure their food security or reducing the number of daily meals.
Roger Alonso, IFRC’s Head of the Disaster, Climate and Crises Unit, said:
“In the last 12 months, the Red Cross teams in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua have worked tirelessly to address the needs of more than 620,000 people affected by Eta and Iota. We have provided shelter, health care, psychosocial support, access to food, clean water, sanitation, and cash transfer services. However, the disaster is not over. Urgent action is needed now to protect people’s livelihoods, prevent diseases, and ramp up the recovery from the social and economic impact of the hurricanes, which have severely affected women, migrants and displaced people.”
In 2020, at least 1.5 million people were displaced in Central America as a consequence of disasters, including Hurricanes Eta and Iota: 937,000 in Honduras, 339,000 in Guatemala, and 232,000 in Nicaragua.
Eta and Iota have wiped out livestock and destroyed over 700,000 hectares of crops which are a critical source of livelihood and food security for many families already facing social exclusion and economic difficulties because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and pre-existent poverty levels. These adverse impacts have contributed to people’s decision to leave their homes or join ‘migrant caravans’ headed towards North America.
Martha Keays, IFRC’s Regional Director in the Americas, said:
“We need to act globally and locally before communities are displaced, and invest in climate adaptation and early action to combat the effect of disasters such as Eta and Iota. Guatemala, Honduras and, Nicaragua are classified as countries in high-risk of facing climate-related threats and, at the same time, are in the group of countries that lack investment to fund preparedness and adaptation measures. Humanitarian organizations, governments, civil society, donors, and climate experts should work together to revert that pattern and promote climate financing measures that save lives and empower communities, particularly those with the highest risks and the lowest capacities.”
In response to hurricanes Eta and Iota in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, the IFRC has launched an emergency appeal for 20 million Swiss francs to save lives, deliver humanitarian aid, and put in place preparedness plans and climate change adaptation measures that build community resilience and minimize the impact of future disasters.
In November 2020, the IFRC also activated its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to deliver fast and effective humanitarian aid for over 26,000 people affected by Eta or Iota in Belice, Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama.
For more information:
Susana Arroyo Barrantes, [email protected] + 506 8416 1771
María Victoria Langman, [email protected] +507 65501090
| Press release
Sierra Leone Red Cross and IFRC respond to oil tank explosion tragedy
Freetown, Nairobi, 6 November 2021—Sierra Leone Red Cross teams are providing ambulance services; first aid and psychosocial support following a fire incident that killed nearly 100 on Friday night. To support Sierra Leone Red Cross teams to step up its emergency response, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is in the process of releasing money from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).
The number of affected people and the gruesome nature of the disaster have posed challenges to response teams.
Kpawuru E. T. Sandy, Sierra Leone Red Cross Society’s Secretary General currently, said:
“The main hospital is overwhelmed, and families are struggling to identify their loved ones who were burnt or killed as bodies are badly charred.”
Sierra Leone has been hit by frequent disasters in recent years, including floods, epidemics, and fire incidents.
Mohammed Mukhier, IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa said: “This is a heart-breaking incident, for a country where memories of the 2017 tragic mudslides and the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak are still fresh. Over 100 patients are now being taken care of at different hospitals in Freetown.”
Sierra Leone Red Cross teams have responded to other major disasters in the past with the latest being the Susan’s Bay fire incident in March. The disaster left at least 7,000 homeless. Sierra Leone Red Cross responded by providing first aid and ambulance services, and IFRC released nearly 300,000 Swiss francs from its DREF to scale up the response operation. Sierra Leone Red Cross teams have also responded to the August 2017 mudslides that killed over 1000 people; and the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak that killed nearly 4000 people.
Through its 18,000 volunteers across the country, Sierra Leone Red Cross continues to play a leading role as a first responder to disasters and as a provider of primary health care.
For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Swaray Lengor, +232 79 236196; [email protected]
Dr Ghulam Muhammad AWAN, +232 78 811 584; [email protected]
Camara Yusuf; +23279492611; [email protected]
Euloge Ishimwe, +254 731 688 613, [email protected]
| Press release
Red Cross rushes relief as severe floods and landslides hit Nepal, India
Kuala Lumpur/Kathmandu/Delhi/Geneva, 21 October 2021 – Red Cross teams in Nepal and India are urgently rescuing survivors and providing relief as devastating floods and landslides have swept away homes and entire villages.
More than 150 people have died across the two countries and dozens are missing according to government authorities, after some the heaviest rains in more than a century was dumped on provinces in Nepal and northern India.
Azmat Ulla, Head of Delegation, International Federation of Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Nepal, said:
“Red Cross relief teams are working non-stop to evacuate survivors and provide critical relief to thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside down, with homes destroyed and livelihoods devasted by this unseasonal and massive deluge.
“Infrastructure has been damaged, including roads and bridges, making access difficult. It’s critical every effort is made to rush more food, safe water and shelter supplies to people who have been left with nothing.
“Crops and homes have been wiped out, which is a severe blow to families already grappling with the devastating fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The people of Nepal and India are sandwiched between the pandemic and worsening climate disasters, heavily impacting millions of lives and livelihoods.”
Heavy rainfall is unusual in India and Nepal during October, which is traditionally outside the monsoon season, however authorities in both countries have warned that more rain is likely in the coming days, sparking fears of more floods and landslides.
As well as delivering relief, Nepal Red Cross is working with local authorities to warn thousands of people of further threats from rising floodwaters and landslides.
“With further storms and heavy rain forecast, we need to quickly access remote and worst-affected communities to provide essential relief items, while helping people to prevent further deaths by preparing for further floods and landslides,” Mr Azmat said.
Last month, the IFRC released around 321,000 Swiss Francs from its Disaster Relief and Emergency Fund to support people in Nepal with relief and other assistance including, clean water, hygiene, health services and access to shelter, with winter fast approaching.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
In Kuala Lumpur:
Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451
IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.
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