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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Donors pledge increased support to the IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF)
Climate-related disasters are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity around the world. But most go unseen—devastating lives, infrastructure and economies without attention, resources or help.
Local and rapid response is what's needed the most. But often the Red Cross or Red Crescent in disaster-hit countries lacks the resources or capacity to respond, especially if they are tackling multiple crises.
That's where the DREF makes all the difference. It’s a central pot of money through which the IFRC channels global funds rapidly and directly to our National Societies for early action and immediate disaster response.
To address the massive humanitarian impacts of climate-related disasters and COVID-19, investment must come at the community level where it has the greatest impact. The DREF brings aid straight into the hands of people in need and builds the capacity of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies who are best placed to deliver it.
IFRC Secretary General
Since launching in 1985, the IFRC has supported 200 million people in crisis worldwide through the DREF.
The DREF Pledging Conference, held on 18 October and co-chaired by the IFRC and the European Union, sought to grow this life-saving and innovative fund to CHF 100 million per year as of 2022, and up to CHF 300 million by 2025, to address the alarming rise in disasters and to support millions more people.
The European Union continues to support the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund. It is a concrete example of our commitment to localization. Through this fund, our resources have been channelled to populations with the most pressing needs, in an open and direct manner.
European Commissioner for Crisis Management
The IFRC is grateful to the following partners who pledged new, or renewed, funding to the DREF during the conference:
Government of Australia
Government of Belgium
Government of Canada
Government of Germany
Government of Ireland
Government of Korea
Government of Luxembourg
Government of the Netherlands
Government of Norway
Government of Sweden
Government of Switzerland
Government of the United Kingdom
Japanese Red Cross
White & Case LLP
We also would like to thank the respective National Societies from the above countries for their support to the DREF and for their continued engagement with their governments.
Watch: meet some of the people around the world who we've supported through the DREF
For more information about the DREF or the pledging conference:
Visit this page on our website
Download our DREF Annual Plan 2021 and DREF Strategic Ambition 2021-2025
Contact Florent Del Pinto (Manager, Emergency Operations Centre) [email protected] or Ivana Mrdja (Manager, National Society and Government Partners) [email protected]
| Press release
IFRC ramps up humanitarian assistance as record number of migrants cross the perilous Darién Gap
Panama City/Geneva, 20 September 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is ramping up efforts to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to migrants travelling through the Darién Gap, one of the most dangerous migratory routes in the world. Between January and August of 2021, 70,376 migrants (including 13,655 children) have crossed the Panamanian jungle, an amount in par with the total number of migrants over the last five years.
In the past few years, the Darién Gap has become a common transit point for migrants headed north, but the latest figure vastly surpasses the high numbers of 2016, when 30,000 people made the crossing throughout the whole year. In comparison, in August 2021 alone, 25,361 people have used this route.
Martha Keays, Regional Director for the Americas at IFRC, said:
“As the pandemic and its impacts persist, the number of migrants crossing the Darién Gap has hit all-time highs this year. In Panama, we have seen between 600 and 1,300 people entering the country every day. They face many risks during their journey through the jungle, often showing signs of physical and mental trauma. The Red Cross is there to support them to meet their basic needs, such as safe water, sanitation, healthcare, protection, information and psychological support.”
In response to the growing number of people crossing the Darien Gap, the IFRC has activated its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to scale up support to migrants in collaboration with the Panamanian Red Cross. The humanitarian response is focused on the distribution of clean water; promotion of community and personal hygiene; and distribution of essential items, such as mosquito nets. It also includes provision of healthcare and protection services; and the increase of capacities to deliver psychological support. In addition, the DREF supports the Costa Rican Red Cross to prepare for a possible increase in the number of migrants transiting through Costa Rica.
In Colombia, at the end of August 2021, more than 10,000 migrants were waiting in the village of Necoclí at the border between Colombia and Panama, an entry point into the Darién Gap. The Colombian Red Cross is providing them with information about their journey; distributing personal protective equipment against COVID-19; and providing health and protection services to assist vulnerable communities.
According to the Panamanian authorities, migrants of around 40 nationalities have crossed the Darién Gap this year. They come from Asian and African nations, such as Angola, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, but also from Latin America and the Caribbean. Many people are Haitian and Cuban, and there has also been an increase in the number of Venezuelan migrants.
“Some of the people currently crossing the Darién Gap have left their home countries years ago to start a new life in South America. But socio-economic disparities, stigma, discrimination, and the COVID-19 pandemic have caused them to lose their jobs or homes, and now they are facing impossible options, such as migrating once again. Access to basic services, such as food, water, sanitation, medical care, housing, essential information, and access to COVID-19 vaccines must be guaranteed to all, regardless of legal status”, added Keays.
The IFRC and its network of Red Cross National Societies have activated a monitoring system to track the population movement from the Southern Cone to Guatemala, including the migratory routes across the Andean countries, the Darién Gap, and Central America. They are also monitoring the evolution of the humanitarian situation in Haiti and Afghanistan, as the increase of humanitarian needs in those countries could lead to further displacement and migration along the Darién route.
In Panama, the IFRC and the Panamanian Red Cross, with support from the European Union, UNICEF and other partners, have been responding to the needs of migrants crossing the Darién for the last three years. Since 2019, they have provided more than 20,000 humanitarian interventions including psychosocial support, health care, access to water, and information on the migratory route.
For more information and to set up interviews, contact:
In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes, + 506 8416 1771, [email protected]
In Geneva: Nathalie Perroud, +41 79 538 14 71, [email protected]
| Press release
Tuvalu: Communities face climate drought disaster
Kuala Lumpur/Funafuti/Suva, 8 September 2021 – The small Pacific Island country of Tuvalu, has been experiencing low rainfall conditions, with mounting concerns of extreme water shortages for people across the tropical islands.
Tuvalu has been facing drought conditions for the past three months and rainfall levels have been some of the lowest ever recorded.
There are fears communities may face water shortages in the coming months if rainfall continues to be below normal, especially as the Red Cross Red Crescent Early Action Rainfall Watch places Tuvalu at ‘dry warning’ level, with high risk of severe dry conditions getting worse.
Tuvalu Red Cross Secretary General Tagifoe Taomia said:
“Record low rainfall levels leave our drinking water tanks empty and our crops withered. Climate extremes are hitting our country hard. Our communities rely on rainfall as the main source of fresh water as there are no rivers on the island."
“Water harvesting systems are completely dependent on rainfall. No rain, no water to harvest and when it does rain, the amount we are able to collect is dependent on the intensity of the rainfall."
“Early action is being ramped up to assist people in remote communities across the country, to take proactive steps to analyse these impacts and build their knowledge and capacity to prepare for periods of drought.”
To support Tuvalu Red Cross with their drought early action, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released emergency relief funds of around 30,000 Swiss Francs (Around $33,000 USD).
Tuvalu Red Cross will assist people with their household water tank monitoring and deliver drought awareness activities to help communities cope with the current dry period with rainfall levels at some of the lowest recorded and to be better prepared for periods of droughts.
Disaster management teams from Tuvalu Red Cross are working alongside authorities to help Island Disasters Committees prepare their communities to survive these dry months. Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation, said:
“These seriously dry drought levels and forecasts of worse to come in a Pacific Island tropical country reveal how exposed we are to the ravages of extreme weather events which are being fuelled by a changing climate and warming oceans."
“This IFRC funding is the first ever Disaster Relief Emergency Funds released at the early onset of a drought in the Pacific."
“It’s critical to invest more in preparing early to enable Red Cross in the Pacific to support their communities to be safe ahead of disasters so they can reduce impacts and build resilience.”
For more information, contact:
In Funafuti: Eleala Avanitele, +688 7108931, [email protected]
In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected]
In Kuala Lumpur: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected]
Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF)
The Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) is the quickest, most efficient and most transparent way of getting funding directly to local humanitarian actors—both before and immediately after a crisis hits.
| Press release
As climate-related disasters escalate, humanitarian sector urges world leaders to invest in preparedness
Geneva, 24 August 2021 – The recent devastating wildfires, heatwaves, droughts, floods and storms are having a severe impact on millions of people and put lives at risk across the globe, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has warned.
The extreme rainfall that led to last month’s devastating floods in Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands are made 1.2 to 9 times more likely to happen due to climate change, according to an attribution report by an international team of leading climate scientists and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. The report also found that such downpours in the region are now 3-19% heavier because of global warming.
Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the IFRC, said: “It cannot be more evident that climate change is here - and its humanitarian impacts are devastating. As humanitarians, it is our role to respond to disasters, but also to address risks and better prepare our communities, especially the most vulnerable.
“But we cannot do it alone. With COP26 approaching, we urge governments to make comprehensive and lasting political commitments to boost preparedness, build resilient communities and save lives.”
The results of the World Weather Attribution report are in line with the conclusions of the major Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released earlier this month, which assessed that there is now unequivocal evidence that humans are warming the planet’s climate, and human-induced climate change is the main driver of changes in including weather extremes.
Maarten van Aalst, Director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre: “The science is clear: climate change is hurting us already today. The huge human and economic costs of these floods are a stark reminder that we need to prepare for more extreme weather events.
“Local communities are already confronted with the rising risks, and it is critical that they are aware of what’s coming their way, supported to reduce risk where we can, but also to evacuate and respond if needed.”
The catastrophic flooding in Western Europe killed more than 220 people and forced thousands to leave their homes. Thousands of volunteers from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies responded to the crisis and worked tirelessly to evacuate people, provide shelter, and distribute food, clothing and medical supplies.
The impact of such disasters can be reduced by investing in local communities and giving people the tools to respond.
In the face of tropical storm Henri, the American Red Cross is currently providing in-person and online guidance to communities on how to prepare for a flood, keep families safe during such emergencies, and clean up a flooded home.
In the Middle East, Red Crescent Societies, including those in Iran, Iraq and Syria, have been responding to the drought affecting the lives of millions of people. In Saudi Arabia, the Red Crescent has organized a nationwide campaign on mitigating the health hazards caused by the temperatures climbing up to 50C.
Ahead of the worst of the winter season, the Mongolian Red Cross Society gave unrestricted cash grants and animal care kits to 2,000 herder households in most-at-risk areas, helping to prevent the suffering among communities.
Around the world and particularly in vulnerable areas, the IFRC has expanded the use of forecast-based financing to allocate emergency funding ahead of predicted disasters. This helps communities take the necessary measures to protect themselves such as: strengthening their houses and evacuating people before a disaster hits.
But, as the climate crisis is accelerating, more needs to be done. 1.7 billion people have already been affected by climate and weather-related disasters in the past decade, according to the last World Disasters Report.
In 2020, IFRC through its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) provided 75 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies with 32 million Swiss francs to support 109 operations – many of which were floods and cyclones in the Asia Pacific region and Africa.
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
In Geneva: Marie Claudet: +33 7 82 68 18 34 or [email protected]
| Press release
IFRC: Urgent life-saving efforts in Haiti underway as preliminary reports confirm earthquake devastation
Port au Prince, Panama, Geneva, 14 August 2021 - On Saturday, 14 August a major 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. According to Haiti's Office for Civil Protection, 227 have died and the figure is sadly expected to increase in the coming hours. Preliminary reports by Haitian Red Cross volunteers and IFRC staff on the ground confirm that the earthquake has caused severe damage to infrastructure, including hospitals, especially in Jérémie and Les Cayes, at the Northern coast of the Southern peninsula of the country.
Hospitals and hotels, as well as ports, bridges and routes are reported to have been damaged in Les Cayes and Jérémie, where churches collapsed while the morning mass was being celebrated. Search and rescue activities are concentrated in that area as there may be people trapped in the rubble.
Tropical Storm Grace is on its way and might affect the same areas that have been hit by the earthquake. In response to these compound crises, also taking into consideration the pre-existing vulnerabilities in the country, the IFRC has activated its global network of humanitarian aid specialists and is working on an emergency appeal to be launched within the next 48 hours with an initial allocation of up to 1 million Swiss francs from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).
Roger Alonso, IFRC’s Disaster, Crises and Climate Unit, said:
“Life-saving efforts are the priority at this stage of the emergency. Providing support in search and rescue, first aid, emergency health care and shelter is a priority for the Red Cross.
“Together with the Haitian Red Cross, the IFRC is already working on the assessment of damages and needs in the affected areas, where services might have collapsed and homes have either been heavily damaged or fully destroyed, as well as roads and infrastructure in general. It is very likely that inhabitants have been forced to seek shelter.”
Providing psychological support is urgent as well, as many affected people went through the trauma of the 2010 earthquake. Preventing and controlling the transmission of COVID-19 and guaranteeing access to water, hygiene and sanitation, is also essential.
A humanitarian corridor in the Dominican Republic has been activated and prepositioned non-food items (NFIs) are ready for at leat 4,500 people. In addition, emergency items are prepositioned and available in Panama and the Caribbean.
Red Cross emergency specialists are currently being deployed to Haiti to support the assessment and immediate response in support of those affected, especially those who are most vulnerable, such as women, children, elderly and people with disabilities.
For more information, or to arrange interviews with Red Cross staff on the ground, please contact:
In Panama - Susana Arroyo Barrantes: +50769993199 [email protected]
In Geneva – Ann Vaessen: +41762164878 [email protected]
| Press release
Combination of wildfires and COVID-19 threaten tens of thousands of lives in Algeria and Tunisia
Algeria/Tunisia/Beirut, 13 August 2021–The wildfires currently spreading in Algeria and Tunisia threaten the lives of tens of thousands, while also damaging local ecosystems, infrastructures and livelihoods. Both countries face a multi-hazard situation, as an alarming number of COVID-19 infections have been reported in the past weeks.
Flames have killed dozens of people and forced hundreds of families to leave their homes. Hundreds of people have lost their houses, farms and livelihoods. Thousands of hectares of land have been burned down.
Red Crescent volunteers and staff have been supporting communities by providing first aid, psychosocial support, emergency shelter, drinking water and other necessary relief items. For example, the Algerian Red Crescent has already set up 200 tents for emergency shelter and supported shelter solutions in host communities for an additional 8,000 families.
Anne E. Leclerc, Head of the North Africa Country Cluster Delegation for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said:
”Most of the northern parts of Tunisia and Algeria have already been severely impacted by multiple fires. Extreme weather conditions intensify the risk of additional fires in the region. The Red Crescent Societies of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco are on high alert, mobilizing volunteers and providing assistance to affected communities in close coordination with local authorities.
"Climate change is here. It impacts people across the globe every day. Combined with the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the region, we are tackling multiple crises simultaneously. The combination of these is stretching already strained healthcare systems to their limits.”
In Algeria, the fires have been raging since Monday and are spreading to new areas. So far, the Algerian Red Crescent has mobilized more than 300 volunteers to the response operation. IFRC is releasing financial resources from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the response operation and is planning together with the Algerian Red Crescent for a possible request for more international support.
Dr. Saida BenHabyles, the President of Algerian Red Crescent said:
“The momentum of national solidarity, initiated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been reinforced during this wave of multiple fires that struck parts of the country. The Algerian Red Crescent, one of the links in this great chain of solidarity, has been working tirelessly on the ground since the start of the pandemic and since the first hours of the outbreak of the fires. This disaster comes with another great danger, the COVID 19 pandemic. We are facing a double challenge when working against the spread of the COVID-19 and providing assistance to those affected by the fires.”
In Tunisia, more than 100 families have already lost their homes as the fires have been spreading to new areas. The Tunisian Red Crescent is providing affected families with emergency shelter, household items, as well as psychosocial support. The IFRC has released 99,897 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the fire response by the Tunisian Red Crescent.
In addition, the IFRC supports the coordination of both response operations as well as monitors the heatwave patterns and real-time wildfire alerts across the region, disseminating early warnings and calls to action to the affected countries.
Algeria and Tunisia have been witnessing an increasing number of wildfires. The fires are linked to climate change, which is causing more extreme weather conditions, such as scorching temperatures and less rainfall.
Notes to Editors
The IFRC is working with the Algerian Red Crescentto release initial financial support from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the wildfire response in Algeria. Ongoing operational planning is also ongoing for a possible request for more international support.
In the past weeks, we have seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections. In response to the latest peak, the Algerian Red Crescent (ARCS) has scaled up its COVID-19 activities. More than two million people have already been vaccinated by ARCS doctors and nurses both in cities and in remote areas. Many new vaccination centres have recently been set up to reach the national target set by authorities to have 20 million people vaccinated by the end of 2021.
The IFRC has released 99,897 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the fire response by the Tunisian Red Crescent.
The wildfires have particularly affected the governorates of El Kef, Jendouba, and Kasserine. Communities urgently need emergency shelter, safe drinking water, livelihoods support and health care.
The first phase of support will be targeted especially for the families that have lost their homes or source of income, women-headed households, families which have members with special needs including disabilities, the elderly, lactating and pregnant women, and children under five.
In the past weeks, Tunisiahas registered the highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic as theDelta variant of the coronavirus is spreading and vaccine availability remains low. The health care system is struggling to cope and intensive carecapacities are inadequate. Tunisia has one of the highest per capita COVID-19 death rates in the world.
The IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a pooled fund that allows for flexible and urgent disbursing of funds in acute emergencies or for anticipatory action.
Any time a Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. Funds can be requested for small and medium-scale disasters, or to provide initial funding before emergency appeals are launched for large-scale operations. The IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors.
Contributions for donors to replenish DREF are very welcome, to enable local actors to act swiftly in support of vulnerable people on the ground, before larger funding arrives.
What to do before, during and after wildfire EN | AR | FR
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| Press release
Somalia: Three million face starvation and disease, warns IFRC, as it calls for swift action
Nairobi/Geneva, 11 August 2021—The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has warned that Somalia is on the cusp of a humanitarian catastrophe. One in 4 people face high levels of acute food insecurity and more than 800,000 children under the age of five are at risk of acute malnutrition unless they receive treatment and food assistance immediately.
In addition to food insecurity, Somalia’s humanitarian situation continues to worsen due to multiple threats, including the outbreak of diseases such as Acute WateryDiarrhoea, measles, malaria and COVID-19.
Mohammed Mukhier, IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa said:
“Somalia is one of the riskiest places on earth to live right now. The country is a catalogue of catastrophes. Climate-related disasters, conflict and COVID-19 have coalesced into a major humanitarian crisis for millions of people. We can’t keep talking about this, we must reduce suffering now.”
Somalia is vulnerable to extreme climatic conditions, including repeated cycles of drought, seasonal floods, and tropical cyclones. The country has also been grappling with the impact of desert locusts. People regularly experience loss of livelihoods, food insecurity, malnutrition, and a scarcity of clean water. Seventy per cent of the country’s population lives in poverty, and 40 per cent is estimated to be living in extreme poverty.
The socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 are likely to lead to worsening nutrition outcomes among vulnerable groups—including poor households in urban areas and internally displaced people, many of whom live in crowded, unhygienic conditions and makeshifts shelters in the context of increasing food prices and reduced employment and income-earning opportunities.
The IFRC, Somali Red Crescent Society and other partners continue to provide support to vulnerable communities. However, the resources are unable to keep pace with needs.
Mukhier said: “We are doing our best to contribute to the reduction of hunger and disease. But, frankly speaking, available assistance remains a drop in the ocean, given the scale of suffering.”
To address some of the many unmet needs, the IFRC isseeking8.7 million Swiss francs to support the Somali Red Crescent Society to deliver humanitarian assistance to 563,808 people in Somaliland and Puntland over 18 months. This emergency appeal will enable the IFRC and the Somali Red Crescent Society to step up the response operation with a focus on livelihood and basic needs support, health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, protection, gender and inclusion, as well as helping communities to prepare for other disasters.
On 15 May 2021, the IFRC released 451,800 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to help the Somali Red Crescent Society provide more than 120,000 people in Puntland and Somaliland with health and nutrition support. The Somali Red Crescent Society has unparalleled access to remote and hard-to-reach families, including those living on mountains or nomadic communities. Its integrated health care programme, with its network of static and mobile health clinics, is a key provider of health services.
In a country with many nomadic and displaced people, it is challenging to reach communities with consistent health care: mobile clinics are one of the primary strategies to fill those gaps. The Red Crescent mobile teams are uniquely positioned to reach patients in areas that lack vehicle or ambulance services.
For more information, or to request interviews, please contact:
In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe, +254 731 688 613, [email protected]
In Geneva: Ann Vaessen, +41 79 405 77 50, [email protected]
Latest photos, videos and B-rolls, on the situation in Somalia, available on this link https://www.ifrcnewsroom.org/
To follow the conversation on social media, use this hashtag: #HungerAndDiseaseReduction
| Press release
Red Cross extends aid to Lebanon to respond to the severe economic crisis
Beirut/Geneva, 4 August 2021 - One year on from the devastating Beirut port explosion, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Lebanon continues to rise, due to the severe economic crisis and the devaluation of the local currency, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) continues to support the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) with life-saving activities, reaching millions of people throughout the country.
For many people who have lost their jobs and the ability to buy basic food and household goods, it has become extremely difficult to buy medicines and to access healthcare.
George Kettaneh, Secretary General of the Lebanese Red Cross, said:
“The severe economic crisis that our country is facing is shattering the lives of many people in Lebanon. People suffering from chronic diseases can’t wait until the economic crisis is over. They need our help now to secure basic necessities, such as food and medicine."
“We are calling on the generosity of donors to help us sustain our vital public services and to fund our response to the economic crisis."
Since the blast in August last year, IFRC has closely supported LRC in meeting the humanitarian needs of those affected. Specifically, IFRC has supported LRC by mobilizing resources for the emergency response and released 750,000 Swiss francs of its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) in the initial days following the explosion. Later, IFRC launched a 20 million Swiss francs global emergency appeal with the aim to assist more than 105,000 people. In addition, IFRC deployed specialized staff, supporting and complementing LRC’s efforts in multiple sectors; and provided financial support to ensure the continuity of LRC’s daily operations in delivering vital services to vulnerable people.
Cristhian Cortez, IFRC Representative in Lebanon, said:
“The IFRC and the Lebanese Red Cross are working together to extend their operations, which include emergency and primary health care, COVID-19 support, and scaling up of blood transfusion services from 42,000 to 60,000 units per year to meet the basic needs of people in Lebanon”.
To date, the IFRC has raised 9.2 million Swiss francs through its global appeal. The Lebanese Red Cross has supported more than 10,800 families with direct cash assistance – comprising seven payments of 300 US dollars each per household – for a total amount of 22.8 million US dollars.
Right now, the priority of the Lebanese Red Cross is to sustain its vital emergency health and ambulances services, which are provided for free to the population and to respond to the surge in demand related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also seeks to find ways to alleviate the suffering resulting from the severe economic crisis. According to the World Bank, as of June 2021, more than 45% of the Lebanese population is now living under the poverty line.
About Lebanese Red Cross
Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) is the main national provider of ambulance and blood transfusion services in Lebanon. Every year, LRC provides free services to more than 180,000 people across the country. Following the Beirut port explosion and in a context of crumbling public services, LRC has been striving to maintain life-saving operations throughout the country.
LRC operates a network of 36 primary health centers, 9 mobile clinics and 2 COVID-19 vaccination centres in Lebanon and is currently scaling up those services to be able to better respond to the shortage of medicines and decreased access of the population to healthcare.
Volunteers and staff from LRC conducted more than 35,000 assessments to identify the households that were most in need of assistance. The families were selected based on specific vulnerability criteria, such as difficulties in meeting the most urgent needs; special needs; families with damaged or destroyed apartments; people with injuries and problems in accessing healthcare and/or buy medicines; single female-headed households; and age considerations.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
In Beirut: Rana Sidani Cassou, [email protected], +961 71 802 779
In Geneva: Nathalie Perroud, [email protected], +41 79 538 14 71
| Press release
DRC volcano eruption: Red Cross steps up its response amid fears of a “multi-hazard” emergency
Kinshasa/Nairobi/Geneva, 03 June 2021—The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has warned that a multi-hazard emergency looms large following the eruption of Mountain Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The IFRC has launched an emergency appeal of 11.6 million Swiss francs to assist 80,000 displaced people in DRC and Rwanda and is calling for urgent support from donors and partners to help scale up operations.
Mohammed Omer Mukhier, IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa, said:
“The danger is not over, and more work lies ahead. While volcanic activity seems to have subsided, the recent eruption has left a trail of immense humanitarian needs. Hundreds have lost their homes and they urgently need shelter, food, clean water and healthcare. Families have also been separated amid the chaos that followed the eruption.”
Based on the requests for family reunification received by the Red Cross, at least 540 children were separated from their families after the eruption. Out of those 540 requests, Red Cross teams have reunited 64 missing children with their families. Many more are still missing. Over 1,722 houses and other structures have been destroyed, leaving about 30,000 people homeless and displaced. Some were displaced internally within DRC—others moved to Rwanda, in Rubavu.
Karamaga Apollinaire, the Secretary General of the Rwanda Red Cross said:
“In the town of Rubavu, to which many Congolese refugees fled, we have had to manage the influx and the destruction of property caused by the continuous earthquakes. Schools, homes, markets and water lines have been destroyed, and residents are being evacuated to safer grounds. Rwanda Red Cross volunteers have been on the ground since the eruption, providing humanitarian assistance to both the refugees and local communities.”
The eruption of Mountain Nyiragongo comes at the worst possible time in DRC. With thousands of displaced people, amid an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, in one of the most dangerous environments in the world—the Red Cross is worried about the “multiplier effect” that this new emergency adds to an already complex situation.
“The population of North Kivu has been grappling with socio-economic challenges for decades and is currently one of the most food insecure locations in Africa. With every disaster, their means of coping are weakened further,” said Mukhier.
As a response, the Red Cross will support communities affected by multiple hazards and compounding humanitarian vulnerabilities caused by the eruption of Mountain Nyiragongo for a period of 12 months. Through the operation, Red Cross teams will provide services such as shelter; distribution of household items; water, sanitation and hygiene; healthcare; protection and psychosocial support, among others.
Grégoire Mateso Mbuta Way, President of the DRC Red Cross, said:
“Although this is a worrying humanitarian situation, we are reassured by the fact that our Red Cross teams are experienced in responding to emergencies caused by volcanic activity. Our teams played a key role in supporting people affected by the last major eruption of Mountain Nyiragongo in 2002. The IFRC and the Red Cross in DRC understand the local context very well and have worked together for years in eastern DRC, including during the recent response to Ebola.”
Immediately after the eruption of Mountain Nyiragongo, the IFRC released 359,213 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to help the DRC Red Cross to provide assistance to 12,500 people from local communities evacuated from areas close to the volcano. The Red Cross is urgently calling for support to the emergency appeal to help reach more people with life-saving assistance.
| Press release
People affected by La Soufrière’s eruption are in urgent need of hygiene items, water, and COVID-19 protection kits
Kingston / Panama City, 11 April 2021 — The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is working alongside the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross (SVGRC) to provide humanitarian aid to the population affected by the eruption of La Soufrière volcano.
Within 48 hours after the volcanic eruption, people’s most immediate needs include maternal and childcare for those staying in the high-risk areas; shelter, hygiene items, water, and items for COVID-19 prevention for those who have been evacuated.
The SVGRC is assisting the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) with evacuation sites and transport points, working to ensure even the most reluctant are evacuated for their safety. Needs assessment teams have been deployed to 100 shelters and in over ten communities, Red Cross volunteers have responded to assist those impacted.
“In addition to assisting with evacuation and shelter management, we are also doing contact tracing to ensure that family members who are displaced, are reconnected with their families. We are encouraging persons who aren’t in government shelters to register with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross,” said Harvey Farrell, SVGRC Vice President.
At evacuation centres, the Red Cross is also distributing hygiene kits, blankets, mattresses and water; and will continue to deliver messages about how to stay safe and healthy from COVID-19, and to avoid contracting dengue. Since early 2020, a dengue outbreak is hitting all health districts of the island.
IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) will allow the Red Cross network to ensure 700 sheltered families are receiving immediate support, including jerrycans, cleaning kits, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, COVID-19 prevention kits and first aid. Safe spaces for children in shelters will also be enabled in coordination with other organizations. Upon returning to their homes, persons would need support in recovering their livelihoods. The Red Cross will conduct an assessment to adequately determine those in need of this kind of assistance.
“This is a very difficult time to be relocating so many people as the island continues to battle COVID-19 and dengue. Red Cross volunteers and staff, many of whom are from the same affected communities and left their homes behind as well, are working tirelessly in these early days of the eruption,” said Ariel Kestens, IFRC Head of Delegation for the Dutch- and English speaking Caribbean.
Effective preparedness and early action in disaster saves lives and livelihoods. Since before the eruption, SVGRC has worked with communities to ensure they are ready to evacuate and had emergency go-bags packed with key documents and necessary supplies.
| Press release
Myanmar: IFRC calls for greater protection of health workers and warns of a deepening humanitarian crisis
Kuala Lumpur/Yangon/Geneva,1 April 2021 - Two months following the military takeover in Myanmar, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is deeply concerned about the escalating violence and mounting casualties amongst the civilian population and is warning of a deepening humanitarian crisis.
Alexander Matheou, IFRC’s Asia Pacific Regional Director, said:
“The levels of violence and the use of lethal force that have resulted in so many casualties and grave injuries amongst the population is deeply shocking. Myanmar Red Cross first aid teams working on the frontlines of this emergency have provided care to over 2,000 people, often at great personal risk.”
“In some instances, Myanmar Red Cross first aiders and medics have been wrongfully arrested, intimidated or injured and Red Cross property and ambulances have been damaged. This is unacceptable. Health workers should never be a target. They should be granted unrestricted humanitarian access to people in need.”
With major disruptions to emergency medical services, Myanmar Red Cross is one of a few organization’s currently able to help across the country, thanks to their nationwide network and levels of acceptance with local communities. Close to 2,000 Red Cross volunteers are working at 246 first aid posts set up in 175 townships across the country. The Red Cross also operates a fleet of 142 ambulances which have been used to treat and evacuate the seriously ill or wounded.
On its part, the IFRC released funding from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to help the Myanmar Red Cross sustain nationwide reach of its emergency first aid and medical transport services to aid an estimated 22,500 people until June, 2021. Longer term plans are rapidly being developed in line with escalating humanitarian needs in the months ahead.
The current state of unrest poses a significant threat to efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in Myanmar where testing, tracing and treatment capacity has been markedly reduced in the past two months.
“In the coming months we could be facing a perfect storm in Myanmar where another wave of COVID-19 infections collides with a deepening humanitarian crisis spreading across the entire country.”
“As basic services such as health care, banking, transportation and logistics suffer major disruption, we inevitably see rising prices, food insecurity, increased population movements and a range of acute medical needs emerging,” said Mr Matheou.
The IFRC is also worried that the current political crisis could destabilise ongoing humanitarian programmes in Myanmar.
“With significant disruptions to banking services we could soon be struggling to support Myanmar Red Cross programmes in several parts of the country. This includes planned cash assistance to help families recover from COVID-19. Vulnerable people already suffering terrible hardships face greater risks”, said Mr Matheou.
Notes to Editors:
According to the World Health Organization, between 1February and 24March, 2021, there were 31 attacks on health-care facilities and staff, resulting in two deaths and six injuries. Dozens of facilities and several ambulances have been affected in 12 states and regions.
| Press release
IFRC announces expansion of disaster fund ahead of major climate summit
Geneva, 25 January 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) announced today a major expansion of one of the world’s only means of channeling international funds directly to frontline disaster responders.
The announcement of plans to at least double the size of the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) comes as governments and experts gather virtually for the 2021 Climate Adaptation Summit, hosted by the Netherlands.
IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said the expansion of DREF was part of broader efforts to adapt Red Cross emergency responses to the increased crisis-caseload caused by climate change.
“In the past three decades, the average number of climate and weather-related disasters has increased nearly 35 per cent. Over the past decade alone, 83 per cent of all disasters were caused by extreme weather and climate-related events that killed 410,000 people and affected 1.7 billion.
“It is unrealistic and irresponsible to expect that the needs created by these events have been or will be met by international actors. Instead, we need to do better job of supporting the efforts of local responders, including National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
“This is one of the strengths of DREF. Its funds go directly to local Red Cross and Red Crescent responders who are already on the ground and supporting people affected by a disaster,” said Chapagain.
The DREF has supported more than 200 million people since its inception. In recent years, an average of about 30 million Swiss francs has been channeled through the DREF on an annual basis. The IFRC plans to work with donors to double this in 2021, with a view to growing the fund to an estimated 100 million Swiss francs per year by 2025.
In addition to growing DREF, IFRC is also moving forward with expanding its scope by supporting local Red Cross and Red Crescent efforts to anticipate disasters and mitigate their impact. Under this methodology, humanitarian funding is released for pre-agreed early actions based on forecast and risk data to reduce the impact of severe weather events on vulnerable populations.
This approach – known as Forecast-based Action – was used six times in 2020 to protect and support at risk communities in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Mongolia and Mozambique - for instance, through early evacuation or efforts to reinforce houses.
IFRC’s Jagan Chapagain said:
“It’s not just about how much money is directed to local actors, it’s also about how and when that money is used. For years, we have warned that the world’s reactive approach to disaster management was inadequate. We are committed to changing how we respond to disasters. But to do so effectively, we need the support of governments and donors.”
For over three decades, IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) has been the quickest, most efficient, and most transparent mechanism for donors to channel global funding directly to local humanitarian actors.
National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies worldwide are embedded within the very communities they serve, and therefore uniquely placed to provide urgent assistance tailored to people’s needs, to save lives, and support longer term recovery.
| Press release
Indonesia: Medical crews help fearful earthquake survivors
Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta/Geneva, 18 January 2021 – More Indonesian Red Cross ambulance and medical crews have arrived to treat people injured following the destructive earthquake that hit West Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Critical relief has been arriving in affected areas, including tarpaulins and other shelter supplies, along with food and safe water as thousands of people remain displaced, fearful of more dangerous quakes.
Since a devastating earthquake struck last Friday (15 January), Red Cross search and rescue teams have been working around the clock alongside government emergency agencies to locate and help trapped survivors escape, with many buried deep in the rubble.
Indonesian Red Cross Secretary General, Sudirman Said, said:
“We have another seven ambulances and first-aid and medical teams treating people who have been injured in this terrible earthquake, boosting the local hospitals and Red Cross crews that were already stretched to the limit responding to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our specialist teams and volunteers have been buoyed by the rescues of people stuck in the rubble, but their work is also heartbreaking as they have been recovering bodies non-stop over the past three days.”
More than 19,000 people remain displaced as a result of the earthquake and aftershocks. The Indonesian Red Cross is providing tarpaulins and other sleeping equipment, including kits for families and babes. Red Cross teams on 10 water-tanker trucks are providing safe water to people who have fled their damaged homes.
Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Indonesia Country Office, Jan Gelfand, said:
"Each minute has been critical in the race against time to rescue people trapped deep underneath collapsed buildings. The remarkable work rescuing people and treating hundreds of wounded people is taking place amid dozens of smaller earthquakes and scary aftershocks.
“The physical impact of this earthquake is terrifying, but we must not underestimate the debilitating psychological effect this disaster is having on tens of thousands of people who fled their homes as they are living with the constant threat of another big quake.”
The IFRC has released 460,000 Swiss Francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to provide emergency assistance to 20,000 people who have been directly impacted by the earthquake. The support provided by the Indonesian Red Cross will include efforts to meet immediate shelter, health care, and water and sanitation needs, as well as actions designed to protect women, children and the most vulnerable, all the while helping survivors to stay safe from COVID-19.
| Press release
Red Cross provides relief ahead of extreme winter season in Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar/Kuala Lumpur, 12 January 2021 –Forecasts of one of the most extreme winters on record in Mongolia have triggered the release of pre-emptive emergency funds in a bid to protect the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable herders, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) announced today.
Mongolia’s National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring has warned that more than 60 per cent of the country is at risk of an extreme winter, with temperatures forecast to plummet to extreme lows of -50C for days on end.
These extreme winters – known asdzud– threaten the health and livelihoods of thousands of Mongolian herders living in the country’s remote central and southern provinces.Dzudis caused by the double impact of drought in the summer followed by harsh winter conditions. Without summer rain, grass does not grow and millions of farm animals cannot put on enough weight to survive the winter and farmers are unable to grow sufficient harvests.
Mongolian Red Cross Society Secretary GeneralBolormaa Nordovsaid:
“Dzuds are devastating for the herder families who rely on their animals for almost everything, whether it’s meat and milk for food, or the cashmere and skins they sell to buy supplies or pay school fees. Losing their animals mean they can quickly fall into poverty.”
“Without support, extreme winter brings misery, hunger and hardship for thousands of families forcing many to move to squatter settlements outside Ulaanbaatar, our capital. This anticipatory action allows us to help some of the most at-risk people before the harsh winter sets in.”
The unwelcome news of the coming dzudhas triggered the release of nearly 290,000 Swiss francs (about 314,000 US dollars) from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund. This will allow the Mongolian Red Cross to support 2,000 herder families in a bid to prevent major stock and economic loss through the distribution of cash grants and animal care kits.
The release of these funds come as part of the IFRC’s Forecast-based Financing approach. Under this approach, IFRC works with scientific partners to combine weather forecasts and risk analyses to develop pre-agreed thresholds that trigger the release of emergency funding with a view to limiting or even outright preventing the adverse consequences of climate hazards like the dzud.This early action is conducted in partnership with other humanitarian actors including the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
IFRC’s Regional Forecast-Based Financing Coordinator, Raymond Zingg, said:
“The goal of Forecast-based Financing is to anticipate disasters, prevent their impact as best as possible to reduce human suffering and losses. The key element is to agree in advance to release financial resources if a specific forecast threshold is triggered.
“Simply waiting for disasters to strike is no longer an option. Climate change is bringing more frequent and severe disasters and our anticipatory action approach is helping communities move from reacting after extreme weather events to preparing before these emergencies.”
In 2010, the dzudkilled more than 11 million animals and thousands of herder families were forced off the land. Mongolia’s Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment has predicted that severe dzuds like the 2010 event will become more frequent, occurring every four to five years instead of every 10.