| Press release
Rebuilding after 2022 Pakistan floods: IFRC reiterates continued need for support
Geneva/Kuala Lumpur/Islamabad, 1 September 2023: A year since the devastating monsoon floods wreaked havoc across Pakistan, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for sustained support. With a mission to rebuild lives and foster resilience, the IFRC seeks global investment in recovery efforts to empower communities grappling with the aftermath of the disaster.
The 2022 monsoon floods, which left an indelible mark impacting 33 million people and claiming over 1,700 lives, also led to the destruction of nearly a million homes. Responding to this unprecedented catastrophe, IFRC, in collaboration with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), swiftly launched the Floods Emergency Appeal. This aimed to channel aid to more than one million affected individuals. Through the dedication of a network of 1,400 volunteers, this collective response achieved over 50 percent of the 40 million Swiss Francs appeal target through both hard pledges and in-kind contributions.
During the response phase, PRCS, in collaboration with IFRC and movement-wide partners, provided extended critical assistance to over 315,000 people for health, around 298,600 people for hygiene activities, and over 317,000 people with shelter assistance, among other forms of support. The operation faced challenges due to damaged infrastructure and extensive flooding, affecting millions of people.
As flood-affected communities embark on the path to recovery, Sardar Shahid Ahmed Laghari, Chairman of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, reflected:
"We are unwavering in our dedication to empowering these communities as they grapple with the aftermath of this catastrophic event. Our recovery efforts, in collaboration with IFRC and our Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners, encompass a multifaceted approach, including the restoration of livelihoods, the construction of cost-effective permanent model houses and latrines, the establishment of solar-powered water treatment plants, enhancements in health and hygiene, the provision of medical aid, and cash assistance to ensure that families can meet their fundamental needs for well-being and safety. Nevertheless, a substantial resource gap remains, given the enormous needs, particularly in providing permanent shelter, livelihood, and health needs for the affected population. PRCS now appeals to generous donors, from both national and international sources, to continue our mission of reconstructing lives and nurturing resilience."
Transitioning from relief to recovery, Peter Ophoff, the IFRC Head of Delegation in Pakistan, calls for solidarity and more support on a global scale. He said:
“The 2022 monsoon floods were an unparalleled disaster in Pakistan, causing devastation to lives and livelihoods. As we stand on the threshold of recovery, it is imperative to understand that flood-affected communities require continued support to restore not just their lives but also their lost livelihoods. The urgent need includes livelihood and cash assistance, health and care services, shelter and housing reconstruction, preparedness for effective response, and disaster risk reduction. This comprehensive approach to recovery will have a positive impact on approximately 850,000 people.”
To propel this call to action, IFRC and PRCS are extending the response and recovery plan until December 2024. This strategic extension underscores the commitment to long-term impact and sustainable change. However, a funding gap remains. Up to 50 percent of the 40 million Swiss Francs appeal target is still needed to ensure the most vulnerable communities in Pakistan can recover and build resilience against future climate-related shocks. Learn more about the emergency appeal here.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:[email protected]
Mrinalini Santhanam: +41763815006
In Kaula Lumpur:
Afrhill Rances: +60192713641
Peter (Piwi) Ophoff: +923088888053
Syed Muhammad Abubakar: +92 300 8866 886
Supporting the homeless in Spain: Spanish Red Cross volunteers offer a warm embrace on cold winter nights
Four candles on a rickety table are the only heating and lighting in the makeshift home of Sonia and José Antonio, the four walls around them seemingly held up by a miracle
As lighting, the candles do their job, at least, for the tiny living space. As heating, the candles don’t cut it: a cold night of 6 degrees both outside, and inside.
The repeated dry coughs of 38-year-old Sonia are just one consequence of the lack of heat. Of the kind of cold that gets into your bones.
“They should give her a VIP card at the hospital,” jokes José Antonio, as he lists her lung ailments.
They’ve been a couple for four years, almost as long as they’ve lived between these four walls in the middle of a site that was once an important truck factory on the outskirts of Alcalá de Henares, Madrid.
Tonight, like so many others, they are visited by Juani and Basilio, two volunteers from the Spanish Red Cross homeless care teams. They have brought some food, as the two mastiff puppies, who keep looking for cuddles from the volunteers, can sense.
"Come on, get down from there," José Antonio scolds one of them, "you don't have to be cuddly, you have to defend the home," he laments. A generator was recently stolen from them, and with it, their heat.
The Red Cross volunteers advise the couple on some of the assistance they can offer and other administrative procedures, but, above all, they share their time.
"Our main job is to listen, to get them to open up. Imagine that you live alone, in the street, and you have no one to talk to from the moment you get up until the moment you go to bed," says Basilio, a former military man, who is now in his second year as a volunteer in the homeless care programme.
Juani and Basilio's route next takes them to the unfinished changing rooms of a sports facility in the area. There are no windows, no doors, no electricity, no water. The current ‘tenant’, Javier, arrives shortly after by bicycle.
By the light of mobile phones, walking among the rubble, you can see broken mattresses, discarded clothes and empty food cans.
But the laughter begins. Javier has found himself a new girlfriend, and proudly shows pictures of her off to volunteers Juani and Basilio on his mobile phone. He is very happy with her. His last girlfriend had beat him.
"That's the main problem, the dependencies that many of the people we work with carry with them and the violence that accompanies them", Basilio points out.
Juani and Basilio's nocturnal route then takes them to an old warehouse in an industrial estate in Alcalá. There they will have another laugh and a few jokes with 68-year-old Moisa, of Romanian origin.
Moisa has managed to turn the old warehouse into something resembling a home. He even has a television set on which he watches cowboy movies, the old-fashioned kind that he likes.
As he lights up a cigarette, under the disapproving gaze of Juani and Basilio, they begin to talk about the divine and the human and quickly move on from politics to lighter subjects, such as the singer Carla Bruni.
After dropping off some food, Basilio and Juani begin the journey back to the Red Cross headquarters in Alcalá.
They feel a bit sad, they say. They recently lost a friend from the street. A ‘family member’, they call him. Because, to them, they are all like family.
"At least he didn't die in the street, they were able to take him to the hospital and he passed away in a bed," Basilio stresses.
"In spite of everything, we have to go on, we can't take our problems home and let the situations we live through break us; I can help if I'm well, if I smile", says Juani, who has spent time on sick leave in the past when another person he was supporting passed away.
Comprehensive support for the homeless
Juani and Basilio are two of the more than 5,000 Spanish Red Cross volunteers who work with homeless people in Spain.
The Spanish Red Cross runs 77 Social Emergency Units (UES) for this purpose in nearly 40 provinces. In addition, they offer 800 places in temporary accommodation for critical moments and run 31 day centres in which they can offer showers, laundry or canteen services when needed.
As part of a wider network of organisations providing support to homeless people, they can also refer or transport people who need help to other accommodation or services as needed.
"The aim of our work is not only to provide basic goods such as food, shelter and hygiene products, but also to work for the social inclusion of homeless people," says Raquel Zafra, head of the programme in Alcalá de Henares.
"Our aim is always for people to go to different spaces where we can provide more in-depth support in the form of social care, monitoring and accompaniment, information and guidance, mediation, or training activities", stresses Zafra.
Through the Social Emergency Units, the Spanish Red Cross assisted more than 18,000 people in 2022.
| Press release
Ukraine: IFRC warns of psychological wounds adding cruel layer of pain one year on
Geneva / Budapest / Kyiv 23 February 2023 -The psychological wounds of the international armed conflict in Ukraine are adding another cruel layer of pain to people already struggling to cope with shelter, hunger, and livelihoods needs, warns the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
As the effects of the last year continue to impact families, the IFRC network is running the biggest humanitarian response in its history. With a CHF 1.6 billion appeal spanning 58 countries, the IFRC network has reached more than two million people with medical care, mental health support and shelter; and so far has distributed more than CHF 87 million in cash assistance to bring choice and dignity to families who have lost everything. A total of 42 IFRC member National Societies are engaged in activities supporting people from Ukraine, domestically.
IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said:
“This grueling year has devastated the lives of millions of people and that brings with it psychological harm as significant as physical injury. We are preparing to expand our mental health interventions alongside cash, shelter, medical care and urgent assistance to help people manage the harsh winter with power cuts and water shortages.”
Red Cross and Red Crescent teams are working everywhere—from bomb shelters in Bakhmut to refugees’ new homes across borders—and have provided more than a million people with psychosocial support since February 2022. As time marches on, more must be done to address mental health.
“Trauma knows no borders: those in Ukraine and those who have fled are equally in need of comfort, stability, and a sense of normalcy,” remarked Mr. Chapagain.
The Ukrainian Red Cross has provided psychosocial support to hundreds of thousands of people since the start of the conflict’s escalation. An additional 34 IFRC member National Societies are delivering specialist help to hundreds of thousands who have sought safety in other countries.
Ukrainian Red Cross Director General, Maksym Dotsenko, said:
“They have lost loved ones, homes, jobs, everything—this is devastating enough. People’s lives are in limbo and this anguish is eating them up inside, compounding the mental health crisis even further.
“Helping families find coping mechanisms, treatment and support is crucial for us. We are training people on how to respond to mental health emergencies and this training is happening in bomb shelters and basements.”
In neighbouring countries, IFRC member National Societies are receiving a growing number of pleas for mental health help via their community feedback systems.
“We are a long way away from recovery for people from Ukraine, but ensuring support for mental health, alongside cash support, protection and other basic services is a way we can contribute to that eventual recovery,” said Mr. Chapagain.
Over the past year, the IFRC network has mobilized more than 124,000 volunteers to respond to urgent needs of people affected by this international armed conflict.
For more information, please contact:
In Kyiv: Nichola Jones, +44 7715 459956
In Budapest: Corrie Butler, +36 70 430 6506
In Geneva: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803
A/V materials available to media on the IFRC Newsroom.
Note to editors:
In a regional initiative to meet the massive need for mental health support, National Red Cross Societies in Ukraine and 24 countries across the EU/EEA have joined forces to provide mental health and psychosocial support services to more than 590,000 people over the course of three years. Target audiences include displaced people in Ukraine and impacted EU countries, caregivers, children, older persons, people with disabilities, host communities, as well as Red Cross volunteers and staff. Funded by the European Union and with technical assistance from the IFRC and the IFRC Psychosocial Centre, the EU4Health project connects vulnerable people with mental health professionals and volunteers from the 25 National Societies.
Pakistan floods: Six months on, humanitarian needs remain dire
It’s been almost six months since flash floods battered parts of Pakistan, and hundreds of thousands of people are still reeling from the floods’ effects.
Homes, livelihoods, and farmlands were destroyed and many parts of the country remain underwater. An estimated 33 million people have been affected, of which 20 million are still living in dire conditions. And now that the country has entered winter, many affected communities face a daunting new challenge of how to survive without housing, food, clean water, and fuel sources for warmth.
The Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has been providing lifesaving relief to flood-affected families, especially those in far-flung areas, reaching nearly 600,000 people so far.
The PRCS swung into action when the floods struck, delivering cooked food and food parcels to address hunger, which killed some due to starvation. Their volunteers also quickly distributed essential items such as collapsible jerry cans for storing clean water, kitchen sets and hygiene kits.
Shelter continues to be a top priority in our response. Many people were forced to leave their flooded homes and retreat to the nearest evacuation centre. Some resorted to sleeping on the roadside – unprotected and with barely any resources to build a roof over their heads. PRCS, with the support of IFRC and our partners, has been distributing tents, shelter tool kits, tarpaulins, blankets and mosquito nets in different affected regions to cater to people’s immediate shelter needs.
In the areas where floods are receding, health and hygiene concerns including cholera, dengue, and malaria, pose severe threats to people's well-being. Many areas also have been reporting cases of scabies, especially in children as they play in the floodwaters.
Before the floods, poor sanitation and bad hygiene were already a concern in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh provinces. The floods and waterlogging have only worsened the overall health situation. In response, the IFRC has helped the PRCS to strengthen its health and hygiene services. For instance, volunteers are now running mobile health units in the most affected areas to provide urgent medical attention, especially for women and children.
“The mobile health units have been extremely beneficial for me and this community,” says Jamila, a mother of four from Sindh province who’s expecting her fifth child.
Both adults and children in the village where Jamila lives, Dayee Ji Wandh, have been receiving medical assistance and medication for their issues. It’s been easy for Jamila and other pregnant women to reach out and get advice for common health issues, such as fever and diarrhea.
Hear more from Jamila in this video:
“Through the mobile health units, people have been bringing their sick children for treatment whenever necessary,” said Sabira Solangi, a Pakistan Red Crescent volunteer from the same area.
Contaminated water is another big issue, especially in Sindh where the quality of water in the entire region is exceptionally poor. The few handpumps that existed to offer clean water were severely damaged during the floods. The IFRC’s water, sanitation, and hygiene team have been working around the clock to provide clean drinking water. They also carried out extensive assessments to map out the right places to install new handpumps and dig boreholes. The IFRC also supported the Pakistan Red Crescent Society to install mobile water treatment plants and latrines in different districts to aid those in need of clean water.
“We really appreciate what the Red Crescent has set up here, especially with the drinking water. It’s a basic need for all, and it was such a great relief when the treatment plants were installed,” says Maula Bakhsh Khakrani, a 20-year-old man from Jacobabad in Sindh province.
Speaking about the ongoing situation in the country, Pakistan Red Crescent Society Chairman, Shahid Ahmed Laghari, said: “massive needs require massive support. Pakistan Red Crescent Society requests all potential donors to support early recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction efforts for the flood-affected population.”
Click here to learn more about the IFRC’s Emergency Appeal for the floods in Pakistan.
And click here to donate to our ongoing response.
| Press release
Tonga: Aid ramped up after eruption and tsunami
Kuala Lumpur/Suva, 26 January 2022 – Local relief teams are urgently providing supplies to communities across Tonga, hit hard by a volcanic eruption and tsunami that destroyed hundreds of homes and left thousands without safe drinking water.
Relief items are being unloaded after the airport was cleared of ash, making it safe for planes to land.
Tonga Red Cross staff and volunteers have been assisting people from the moment the tsunami alert was triggered, and are ramping up the delivery of drinking water, temporary shelters and other critical relief supplies across the country’s many islands.
Sione Taumoefolau, Secretary General of Tonga Red Cross, said:
“This disaster has shaken the people of Tonga like nothing we have seen in our lifetime. The tsunami has wiped out homes and villages, but we are already rebuilding amid the ashes.
“After being cut off from the world, we are very grateful for the relief supplies being delivered to our shores. Our Red Cross teams are using boat and trucks to take these vital items that last mile to communities in need of shelter, water and other basic necessities.
“There is an urgent need for people to have access to safe water sources in the days and weeks to come. Ash has settled in water tanks- requiring time to settle and careful treatment before use. It has also smothered much of the country, including houses and crops.
“It is critical to clean this ash away, so it doesn’t run into water supplies when the next rain comes.
“Shelter is a top priority for families whose homes have been completely wiped out because of the tsunami. People have lost everything. We need to provide immediate support – then turn our attention to the longer term. It will be a tough time, but we will recover.”
To support the relief efforts of our locally led response, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal of 2.5 million Swiss Francs to provide urgent assistance including safe water, tarpaulins, shelter materials including tool kits to rebuild, household items such as kitchen cooking sets and hygiene kits.
Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation, said:
“While the damage to some of the islands is truly devastating, it is heartening to see Red Cross and governments from around the world providing assistance to the hard-hit people of Tonga, enabling much-needed services and relief items.
“A well-coordinated humanitarian response that brings together governments and international organisations to support local agencies like Tonga Red Cross is crucial in the Pacific. These partnerships are critical for effective delivery of immediate relief and longer-term support.”
For more information, contact:
In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected]
Asia Pacific Office: Joe Cropp, +61 491 743 089, [email protected]
Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected]
Shelter and settlements
Shelter and settlements programming is a vital part of humanitarian assistance delivered by the IFRC and our National Societies. It is important not only in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, but in helping to restore communities’ dignity and build their resilience to future shocks and hazards.
| 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.
A new start for over 600 people affected by Cyclone Eloise in Mozambique
Nhamatanda, 20 February 2021—Survivors of Cyclone Eloise have received materials from Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) to construct houses and start a new life.
“I would like to thank the Red Cross for giving me and my neighbours these materials. We were suffering at the camp; there wasn’t enough space. With this donation, we will be able to construct our house and live a normal life again,” said Amelia Lewanhe, one of the families that received shelter materials.
Over 300,000 people have been affected by Eloise that made landfall on 23 January. Thousands were forced from their homes and have been living in temporary accommodation shelters. More than 117,000 hectares of crops were destroyed by torrential downpours and floods. The most affected districts are Nhamatanda, Buzi, Beira and Dondo.
Mozambique is prone to cyclones and tropical storms which can lead to flash flooding, hundreds of deaths, and massive destruction of property and crops. Eloise struck areas that have been devastated by previous cyclones, including Cyclone Idai. In addition, this is the third time for Mozambique to be hit by a storm this season: Tropical Storm Chalane hit the country in December 2020 and in February 2021 by Cyclone Gaumbe.
Speaking on Saturday during the ceremony of handing over shelter materials to 122 families, Mr. Giro Jose Custodio—the Provincial Secretary of Sofala Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM)—said that CVM is committed to supporting the people affected by Eloise to start a new life.
“We are aware of their problems from the evacuation period to this time. We are mobilizing resources to assist the remaining people in other accommodation centers. Our aim is to get all the affected people out of the accommodation centres,” said Custodio.
CVM, with financial and technical support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) distributed shelter tool kits, kitchen sets, blankets, sleeping mats, bamboo poles, tarpaulins, ropes, and face masks for COVID-19 prevention, among others. With this distribution, the John Segredo accommodation centre has seen over 610 people moving out of the centre creating space for the remaining communities.
The Red Cross has been at the forefront of the response including through anticipation and early action that saved lives. Ahead of the landfall, Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) staff and volunteers shared early warning messages to communities in the path of the cyclone to minimize the impact. As a result, many families were moved to safer areas, where they are receiving support from our teams.
On January 23, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) released 359,689 Swiss francs from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)—to help Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) provide immediate relief and lifesaving assistance to 1,000 cyclone-affected families for three months with regards to health and care services as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene.
The road to recovery is long and the IFRC is appealing for 5.1 million Swiss francs to support the (Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) to continue to deliver assistance and support early recovery of 100,000 people affected by Cyclone Eloise for 12 months. The appeal focuses on shelter and essential household items (EHI), livelihoods and basic needs, health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), protection, gender and inclusion (PGI) and disaster risk reduction (DRR).
Double-edged stories of loss and joy from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent
Randa El Ozeir: It’s always been about people.
When you see your friend dying before your eyes, no words can be big and expressive enough to capture the intensity of shock and sadness that wraps your whole body and mind. That was exactly what happened with Mohammed Tarek Alashraf, previously a paramedic volunteer in the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARC) and currently the Disaster Management Unit Coordinator of the SARC Homs Branch. “At the time my colleague and friend, Hakam Duraq El-Sibaye, was martyred, a wave of sorrow engulfed me. We were exchanging a conversation when we received an emergency call. He was in another paramedic team. The SARC was allowed to move around during night time. Hakam’s team took on the task but got shot while doing their job. I was one of the paramedics to aid him and the others. We had to drive them to the hospital where Hakam passed away. It was really hard, and I still remember every detail of our last conversation, his voice and his smile.”
Alashraf and the rest of the volunteers were hesitant and torn between continuing their work or quitting, “Hakam’s parents insisted on us to keep doing our job as would their son have wanted and help the community that needs us,” explained Alashraf, “and so far, we have helped to deliver and oversee the quality and accountability for implementation of relief aids to 129,420 affected families that equal to 594,000 people within Homs Governorate.”
The story of Moaz Al Malki, who started as an SARC emotional supporter in 2012 and became a Water Team Coordinator in Damascus Branch, has a personal trauma twist. He said, “After we finished one of our emergency interventions to add chlorine to sterilize the water coming to Damascus city and add diesel oil to operate the water pumping station, I was kidnapped and detained for five long hours. Thanks to the efforts of some local community groups that were aware of the humanitarian organizations’ role and some competent authorities, I had been released with my companions and our machineries, and we left the area.”
For Donia Mouin AbdAlla, Leader of first-aid team in the SARC, the main hurdle in her doing the job is the emotional state of the patient’s companions. They usually don’t help in making the decision for the patient, which complicates the paramedic task, especially when the crowd gathers around. “Additionally, the scarcity of financial means restricts the options, for example, when the situation requires using an automated ventilator that is available only in private hospitals,” explained AbdAlla. “I don’t exaggerate if I say that my work is a life or death matter for the person who needs rescuing. Being part of this reduces my frustration towards all human catastrophes and crises, particularly in my country. What motivates and excites me is the fact that, despite our limited capacities, we make a huge difference in the lives and the future of families. We see how our noble purpose lessens many distressed families in our beloved country,” said AbdAlla. She is always driven by the idea of “Saving lives” and isolating the patient from any source of harm or damage to stop the bleeding and enhance the recovery with the few equipment she has.
One concrete instance filled AbdAlla with optimism, sweetness, and hope that still linger whenever she has a case to resuscitate. “A child fell from the first floor and was brought to our centre while I was on duty. His heart had stopped beating, and he urgently needed CPR. In less than 15 seconds I started the procedure, and after two full rounds, the child regained his beat following a deep inhale. I didn’t believe it amidst the joking of the paramedic’s team. My hands couldn’t stop doing the CPR and a stupid smile glued on my face and in my heart,” narrated AbdAlla.
As the residents of Old Homs City begun returning to their homes, a beneficiary of the Home Repair and Building Project whose eyes welled up with tears thanked Alashraf saying, “Finally, I am at home today outside the shelter centre and can earn my living with dignity. Hadn’t been for the SARC, I wouldn’t have been able to come back home. The volunteers of the SARC are part of my family.” At this moment, Alashraf was over the moon and realized the tangible impact of the SARC’ humanitarian projects.
The loveliest turn was in Al Malki’s story. He told us that, “in 2015, a special and great lady joined the SARC as a water engineer. This lady is my wife now, and next month we’re going to celebrate the third birthday of our beautiful son.”
After 15 years with the SARC, Alashraf thinks that what kept him doing the same job is the team building, the teamwork spirit, the constant appreciation, the continuing training, improving the leadership skills, and being part of the decision-making. Al Malki said that, “the need in Syria and on the ground is tremendous and exceeds the capacity and power of all the partners and supporters who are trying very hard to help the affected people and the SARC. But my contribution in humanitarian work to better the livelihood of individuals and reserve their dignity gives me the satisfaction without the eternal question ‘what’s in it for me?’”
“My children can finally sleep in a warm place”
Photo by Palestine Red Crescent Society
Words by Ra’ed Al Nims, Palestine Red Crescent Society
"We are drowning… Help us!"
Palestine Red Crescent Society's Operations Room in Gaza received this distressing call during heavy rains, strong wind and cold weather in late January 2020. A team from the Red Crescent’s Disaster Management Unit (DMU) was immediately sent to the scene. What they found was an old, broken-down house with a roof that had started to cave in, causing mud, water and stones to fall into the rooms.
"We were totally shocked by what we saw. Four brothers with their wives, children and their parents, 24 people in total, lived in this place that looked like it was slowly falling apart. Rain was falling down in torrents, and the children were terrified and crying", says Saleem Abou Ras, 26, a member of the DMU team.
The team carried out a rapid assessment of the family’s needs and handed them tarpaulin sheets, cleaning tools, mattresses and blankets.
"I live with my wife and five children in one room in this tiny house. Heavy rain made the roof of our room collapse and water, mud and stones fell on us while we were sleeping. My children were terrified. I did not know what to do. With the support from the Palestine Red Crescent, we managed to get through that horrible night", says Maher Al Kishawi, 38, one of the four brothers.
"Our family is very big and we have no source of income. Without the help from the Red Crescent, our lives would have certainly been in danger", his wife, Suad Al Kishawi, 35, added.
After that night, Red Crescent team visited the family again and provided them with additional relief items.
"We are safe, at least for the time being. Most importantly, my children can now sleep in a warm room", Suad Al Kishawi says.
The Red Crescent teams have distributed tarpaulin sheets, blankets, mattresses, heaters, hygiene kits and other relief items to around 450 families affected by cold weather in the West Bank and Gaza. Palestine Red Crescent Society continues to monitor the situation and to support people affected.