Homa Nader: Bringing hope to the people of Afghanistan
In this episode, we explore the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan with Homa Nader, Manager of Strategic Engagement and Partnership in the IFRC country office in Kabul. Four years of drought, economic sanctions and the legacy of conflict are just a few of the factors that have left some 34 million Afghans facing extreme hardship. We spoke with Homa about the daily challenges for average Afghans, theparticular difficulties for women, and about the critical and inspiring work of Red Crescent volunteers in helping people cope.
Gabon ferry disaster: Gabonese Red Cross supports ongoing mental health recovery
"The sinking of the Esther Miracle, which I now call the Esther Ghost, profoundly changed the course of my life. I lost half of myself, my beloved wife," says Gabriel, a survivor who was travelling from Port Gentil to Libreville when the boat sank.
"We used to make this trip to Port Gentil regularly. It was around 8pm when we boarded. As a former seaman, I could already sense that something wasn't quite right. And indeed, it wasn’t.”
"Between one and two in the morning, we heard suspicious noises. A policeman on board approached us and the other passengers to inform us that there were a few minor problems on the boat but that everything was under control. Shortly afterwards, everything went wrong. The boat tilted dangerously to one side. On the orders of the policeman, we tried to balance the boat, but to no avail, and the boat began to sink.”
Hearing of the emergency, the Gabonese Red Cross rushed teams to Port Môle in Libreville where survivors, rescued by another boat, began to disembark in the early hours the following day.
Ambulances began transporting people in critical condition to hospital. Red Cross volunteers provided urgent care and first aid to survivors at the scene, and a psychosocial support unit was quickly set up to provide urgent mental health services.
"When we arrived at Port Môle, the Gabonese Red Cross teams were already there to receive the shipwrecked survivors, who were all in a bad way. It was only thanks to them that we all received first aid and support. Psychologists were made available to us", explained Gabriel.
For Priscillia, it was her uncle who was travelling on the Esther Miracle and who unfortunately lost his life.
"I thought of him as more than just an uncle, because he played many different roles in my life and in the lives of many members of our family. He was a pastor and had a huge impact on my life, supporting me so much from a very young age.”
“What we know is that when the boat was sinking, not knowing that there were not enough life jackets on board, my uncle gave his to another person who survived. I’m told he spent the last moments of his life saying prayers to strengthen the people around him," explained Priscillia.
“The Gabonese Red Cross was very supportive. Emotionally it was difficult at the time. From the first day at the port, when the survivors disembarked on the quayside and my uncle wasn't one of them, the Gabonese Red Cross volunteers were there to help us and take care of us. We were at the port in the morning and came back very late at night every day, and their teams were always there,” she added.
As well as providing psychological assistance, the Gabonese Red Cross prepared more than 7,000 meals within 10 days for survivors and families who had come to wait for news of their loved ones at the port.
They also set up a special Restoring Family Links (RFL) unit to reconnect people with their lost loved ones. And in the weeks following the disaster, they provided continued medical advice to survivors and helped people to track down lost belongings that were able to be recovered.
"It was our duty to provide assistance at such a difficult time. Providing first aid services enabled us to save lives. Similarly, the psychological unit that we opened enabled survivors and family members waiting for news of their loved ones to have an attentive ear ready to provide them with the necessary support. This support continues to this day", said Véronique TSAKOURA, President of the Gabonese Red Cross.
In the months since the disaster, Gabonese Red Cross psychologists have referred survivors and relatives of the victims to specialist mental health services in Port Gentil for continued assistance. And their door remains open to anyone seeking comfort or a listening ear.
Click here to learn more about our work in mental health and psychosocial support.
New IFRC podcast introduces the 'People in the Red Vest’
When disaster strikes, the sight of someone wearing a red vest is a sign that help has arrived. It’s a powerful symbol of hope and comfort amid the chaos following an emergency, worn by members of the IFRC and its 191 member Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies.
And now it’s also a symbol of our brand new podcast.
Launching on 12 September across all major streaming services, People in the Red Vest is a twice-monthly podcast that features inspiring stories of people from across the IFRC network. They’ll speak about their personal experiences of responding to the world's biggest humanitarian crises and what inspires them to keep going.
The first episode features IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain, who talks about his recent missions to several countries in Africa impacted by an acute hunger crisis, and to Slovenia, hit by severe flooding. He also speaks of his upcoming trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly and shares what inspired his own personal humanitarian journey.
“One thing that always stuck into my head was something Albert Einstein said, ‘You live a real life by making a difference in someone else's,’” said Chapagain, who was 14 when he became a volunteer for the Nepal Red Cross.
Keenly interested in science from a young age, Chapagain is an engineer by training. But it was his first job, helping refugees in Nepal, that steered him down the humanitarian path.
“Just listening to the refugees’ stories, their dreams and plans for their families... in many ways, that cemented my belief that if you want to live a satisfied life, you should do something for others,” he adds.
Upcoming guests include:
A regional leader in the fight against food insecurity in Africa, Ambassador Mahabub Maalim, who also serves as advisor to IFRC’s response to the current hunger crisis in Africa (now impacting 23 countries). He shares his thoughts on how to break cycles of food insecurity in the face of the climate crisis, as well as his own personal experiences growing up with hunger in eastern Kenya.
Nena Stoiljkovic, a leader in the world of humanitarian and development finance who serves as IFRC’s Under Secretary General for Global Relations, Diplomacy and Digitalization. She talks about her life-long passion for using innovative financing and partnerships to help people and communities bounce back from hardship, as well as her experiences as a woman leader in the still male-dominated world of finance and development.
Future episodes will also include people working at the heart of IFRC emergency and recovery operations around the world, as well as volunteers and leaders from its member National Societies.
They will share their own compelling and inspiring stories and their thoughts on new trends in technology and humanitarian response, how to make our operations more inclusive and equitable, and what makes them to keep going despite the mounting challenges.
In each episode, the guests will also tell us what the Red Vest symbolizes to them. If you’re curious, subscribe and join us wherever you listen to your podcasts.
El Niño: What is it and what does it mean for disasters?
What is El Niño?
The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a cycle of warming and cooling events that happens along the equator in the Pacific Ocean.
El Niño is the warming part of the cycle. It happens when there is a decrease in cool waters rising to the sea surface near South America. This leads to an increase in sea surface temperatures across the Pacific, which then warms the atmosphere above it.
The cooling part of the cycle is called La Niña and has the opposite effect.
El Niño and La Niña events happen every two to seven years. They usually last for 9-12 months but have been known to last for several years at a time.
How does El Niño affect weather around the world?
El Niño and La Niña change the way that air and moisture move around the world, which can affect rainfall and temperature patterns globally.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recently announced that El Niño conditions have developed, and that we can expect disruptive weather and climate patterns and a rise in global temperatures.
We know from past events when and which areas of the world are more likely to be wetter and drier during El Niño and La Niña. But no two El Niño and La Niña events are the same, so it’s important to keep track of forecasts as they develop.
Is climate change affecting El Niño?
In general, climate change is leading to warmer sea surface temperatures, and there is some evidence to suggest that this is affecting how El Niño and La Niña events influence weather patterns around the world.
The WMO predicts that global temperatures are likely to surge to record levels in the next five years due to a combination of climate change and El Niño.
Will El Niño cause more disasters?
El Niño events bring different disaster risks to different parts of the world.
They can cause severe drought in Australia, Indonesia, parts of southern Asia, Central America and northern South America. When the last El Niño occurred seven years ago, it contributed to drought and food insecurity that affected tens of millions of people across southern and eastern Africa.
They can also cause increased rainfall in southern South America, the southern United States, the Horn of Africa and central Asia.
During summer in the northern hemisphere, El Niño’s warm waters can result in more intense tropical cyclones in the western Pacific, but fewer Atlantic hurricanes.
Hear from Lilian Ayala Luque, Senior Officer for Anticipatory Action and Community Resilience for IFRC Americas, about the arrival of El Niño conditions and what it might mean for the region:
What might be different about this year’s El Niño event?
We are already aware of certain factors that will influence how the impacts of this El Niño will affect communities. For example:
While there is an expectation of an end to the drought in the Horn of Africa, it can take some time for rain to filter down into the soil to support deep-rooted plants and begin restoring agriculture.
While El Niño conditions usually limit the growth of tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic, this effect may be balanced out by the unusually high sea surface temperatures currently being observed in the region where these storms form.
In Ecuador and Peru, an outbreak of dengue following flooding earlier this year could potentially be exacerbated by the expected El Niño rains in early 2024. In southern Africa, it remains to be seen whether the cholera situation will be improved by the anticipated drier conditions.
How is the IFRC network preparing for El Niño?
The IFRC network is developing Early Action Protocols (EAPs)– formal plans that outline the triggers and early actions we’ll take when a specific hazard is forecasted to impact communities– including to prepare for hazards related to El Niño.
In Ecuador, for example, we’ve developed triggers to address the increased likelihood of flooding in the rainy season from January to April. And in Central America, EAPs cover the increased likelihood of drought from June to August.
Early actions include things like reinforcing buildings and homes, planning evacuation routes or pre-positioning stocks of food and water.
Where can I find more information?
OurEarly Warning, Early Actionpage
Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre website
Anticipation Hub website
Anticipatory Pillar of the IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund
Twitter Space series on El Niñofrom the IFRC Americas team
This article was adapted from a blog post on the Anticipation Hub website co-authored, by Liz Stephens, Andrew Krucziewicz and Chris Jack from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. Check out the blog post for more information about El Niño and anticipatory action.
| Press release
The world is not ready for the next pandemic, warns the IFRC
Geneva, 30 January 2023—No earthquake, drought or hurricane in recorded history has claimed more lives than the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the world’s largest disaster response network, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The shocking death toll—estimated at more than 6.5 million people—has inspired the humanitarian organization to take a deep dive into how countries can prepare for the next global health emergency.
Two groundbreaking reports released by the IFRC today, the World Disasters Report and the Everyone Counts Report, offer insights into successes and challenges over the past three years—and make recommendations for how leaders can mitigate tragedies of this magnitude in the future.
Jagan Chapagain, IFRC’s Secretary General, remarks:
“The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for the global community to prepare now for the next health crisis. Our recommendations to world leaders center around building trust, tackling inequality, and leveraging local actors and communities to perform lifesaving work. The next pandemic could be just around the corner; if the experience of COVID-19 won’t quicken our steps toward preparedness, what will?”
The IFRC network reached more than 1.1 billion people over the past three years to help keep them safe from the virus. During that time, a theme that emerged repeatedly was the importance of trust. When people trusted safety messages, they were willing to comply with public health measures that sometimes separated them from their loved ones in order to slow the spread of the disease and save lives. Similarly, it was only possible to vaccinate millions of people in record time when most of them trusted that the vaccines were safe and effective.
Those responding to crises cannot wait until the next time to build trust. It must be cultivated through genuinely two-way communication, proximity, and consistent support over time.
In the course of their work, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams documented how the COVID-19 pandemic both thrived on and exacerbated inequalities. Poor sanitation, overcrowding, lack of access to health and social services, and malnutrition create conditions for diseases to spread faster and further. The world must address inequitable health and socio-economic vulnerabilities far in advance of the next crisis.
In its Everyone Counts Report—which surveyed National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from nearly every country in the world—the IFRC found that teams were able to quickly respond to the pandemic because they were already present in communities and many of them had engaged in preparedness efforts, had prior experience responding to epidemics, and were strong auxiliaries to their local authorities.
“Community-based organizations are an integral part of pandemic preparedness and response. Local actors and communities, as frontline responders, have distinct but equally important roles to play in all phases of disease outbreak management. Their local knowledge needs to be leveraged for greater trust, access, and resilience,” states Mr. Chapagain.
“It has been a brutal three years, but we are releasing this research and making recommendations in an act of hope: The global community can learn lessons and do justice to this tragedy by being better prepared for future health emergencies.”
The World Disasters Report offers six essential actions to prepare more effectively for future public health emergencies. The Everyone Counts Report highlights the need for accurate and relevant data in pandemic preparedness and response. Both are available to practitioners, leaders, and the public.
Note to editors:
Photos and b-roll available here
In Geneva: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803 [email protected]
Technological and biological hazard preparedness
Technological and biological emergencies, sometimes called 'CBRN' (short for chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear hazards), can have devastating and long lasting impacts on people's lives and livelihoods. The IFRC supports National Societies worldwide to effectively prepare for and respond to technological emergencies using a multi-hazard approach.
| Press release
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Recovery efforts continue to be crucial one year after the La Soufrière eruption
Kingston, Jamaica, April 8, 2022 – On April 9, 2021, the explosive eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) in the Caribbean, caused more than 13,000 people who live in the nearby red and orange zones to be evacuated. One year later, the impact of the disaster is still evident, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is focusing its efforts on shelter and socio-economic recovery, as the income of families has been affected by the eruption and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past year, the Red Cross has supported over 5,000 people with water, emergency relief supplies, hygiene and cleaning items, dignified housing solutions, risk communication and community engagement, as well as psychosocial and livelihood support.
Bernard Morgan, President of the SVG Red Cross, said:
“The Red Cross, along with our partners, has provided relief, psychosocial support, and access to basic services, however the work is still not done. We continue to focus our efforts on helping people recover, especially those who have lost their jobs or savings, and whose homes were severely damaged. The physical effects of the volcano may not be as visible now, but people are still dealing with the social, economic, and psychological effects of the eruption, especially the estimated 900 people who are still unable to move back to their homes.”
The Red Cross provided multipurpose grants to support approximately 1000 persons as well as supermarket vouchers for over 800 persons. In addition, over 300 small enterprises have received grants to restart farming, fishing and businesses that were interrupted by the eruption.
The Red Cross has supported over 210 highly vulnerable persons (74 families) to leave collective centres and to move into dignified shelter conditions through the provision of rental grants for a period of between 1-6 months depending on needs, with over 400 monthly grants distributed since September 2021.
James Bellamy, IFRC Deputy Operations Manager in the Americas, said:
“One year later, some people still don’t have their homes or usual means of income, as more than 100 homes continue to remain uninhabitable due to damage and increased risks from the eruption. The priority now for the Red Cross is to help communities strengthen and restore their livelihoods and living conditions. We will continue to assist families through our livelihood program, offer training opportunities and work with disadvantaged households to find long-term shelter solutions through both cash and in-kind assistance.”
Children have been at the core of the humanitarian response, with over 500 receiving psychosocial support kits including learning and recreational items. The IFRC collaborated with partners, like UNICEF and the Gender Affairs unit, to ensure child friendly spaces in collective centres.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and dengue outbreak, preventing the spread of the virus and dengue infections was a major part of the response. The Red Cross provided information about staying safe and healthy, and supplied family Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, as well as 400 hand sanitizer wall mounted units to the Ministry of Education for schools reopening for face-to-face learning.
The Red Cross also supported cleanup efforts following the eruption and distributed household cleaning kits to over 3,300 families and hygiene kits and COVID-19 kits to over 2,300 families.
In April 2021, the IFRC launched an appeal for 2,000,000 CHF to assist over 5,000 people in affected communities with shelter, health, clean water and livelihood support.
For more information:
In St. Vincent: Attica Allen +1 (784) 454-1989, [email protected]
In Jamaica: Trevesa DaSilva, +876 818 8575, [email protected]
In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes, +507 6999-3199, [email protected]
| Press release
Launch of ambitious partnership between IFRC and EU: a new model for the humanitarian sector
Brussels/Geneva, 30 March 2022 - An ambitious partnership between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) launched today aims to be a new model for the humanitarian sector.
In response to the increasing number of crises arising worldwide, the pilot Programmatic Partnership “Accelerating Local Action in Humanitarian and Health Crises” aims to support local action in addressing humanitarian and health crises across at least 25 countries with a multi-year EU funding allocation.
The partnership strengthens mutual strategic priorities and is built around five pillars of intervention: disaster preparedness/risk management; epidemic and pandemic preparedness and response; humanitarian assistance and protection to people on the move; cash and voucher assistance; risk communication, community engagement and accountability.
European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said:
“I welcome with great hope the Pilot Programmatic Partnership with IFRC, a trusted EU partner who shares our vision of implementing efficient and effective humanitarian aid operations worldwide. The funding allocated for this partnership reaffirms the EU commitment to help meet the growing needs of vulnerable people across some 25 countries, in close cooperation with the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies. It also confirms our commitment to strategic partnerships with humanitarian aid organizations.”
IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said:
“Longer-term, strategic partnerships are essential to respond to the escalation of humanitarian crises around the world. We must respond rapidly, we must respond at scale, and we must modernize our approach to make impact. We know that the most effective and sustainable humanitarian support is that which is locally led, puts communities at the heart of the action, and is resourced through flexible, long-term and predictable partnership. The pilot Programmatic Partnership allows exactly that.”
The Programme will begin with an inception phase in several countries in Latin America, West and Central Africa and Yemen. The main objective is to provide essential assistance to those currently affected by humanitarian crises, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate-related disasters and conflict and to prevent loss of lives and suffering. Investment is also made to ensure communities are better prepared to cope with disasters through the implementation of disaster preparedness and risk reduction components.
Working closely with its National Societies, the IFRC’s global reach combined with local action, its long history of community-driven humanitarian work and its Fundamental Principles, make it the partner of choice for this Pilot Programmatic Partnership with the EU.
Following the first phase of implementation, the Programme aims to expand its reach and include additional countries around the world with the support of more EU National Societies.
The 10 countries of implementation in the inception phase are: Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, Yemen, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.
The seven National Societies from the EU working to support the implementation of the inception phase are: Belgian Red Cross (FR), Danish Red Cross, French Red Cross, German Red Cross, Italian Red Cross, Luxembourg Red Cross and Spanish Red Cross.
For more information
In Brussels: Federica Cuccia, [email protected]
In Geneva: Anna Tuson, [email protected], +41 79 895 6924
| Press release
Philippines: New data reveals Typhoon Rai wrecked 1.5 million houses
Kuala Lumpur/Manila, 25 January 2022 – New assessments reveal the full extent of Super Typhoon Rai’s devastation when it slammed into the Philippines a little over a month ago, with the storm destroying or damaging a staggering 1.5 million houses, more than any other typhoon in recent decades.
Philippine Red Cross is ramping up its shelter support by transporting table saws, chainsaws and generators to areas hardest hit by the typhoon, including Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, Siargao and Dinagat islands.
The equipment is enabling Red Cross carpenters and trained volunteers to transform millions of fallen coconut trees into coco lumber to rebuild safer and stronger homes in the worst-affected areas.
Carpenters are training local people in safer house construction, to provide vital wages for families who lost their livelihoods, including the agricultural and fishing equipment they relied upon to earn an income.
Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said:
“This is a much bigger disaster than the world realised a month ago. People who relied on farming, fishing and tourism can’t earn an income now. Millions of people don’t have a roof over their heads.
"Red Cross is supporting 30,000 families with roofing materials like corrugated iron sheets and tarpaulins to protect them from the sun and rain, but we need greater international support to meet the enormous need for safer and stronger homes for millions of people.
“The typhoon comes in the middle of a pandemic and a political campaign, which draw attention away from what truly is a catastrophe. This must not become forgotten tomorrow morning.”
IFRC Head of Philippine Country Office Alberto Bocanegra said:
“It’s a little over one month since Typhoon Rai slammed into the Philippines, yet millions of people still urgently need humanitarian support, including homes, clean water supplies and healthcare.
“Assessment data reveals that this Super Typhoon has caused enormous devastation, destroying or damaging more homes than any storm in recent decades.
“Filipinos are tough, and they are rebuilding, with support from Philippine Red Cross and other agencies, but more must be done to help people rebuild their shattered homes.”
Philippine Red Cross has been on the ground since the super typhoon hit and has already reached 36,000 people with emergency shelter support, including toolkits, construction materials and tarpaulins to help people set up temporary shelters and start rebuilding. Emergency teams are providing kitchen sets, sleeping kits, pillows, mattresses, bedsheets, blankets and clothing.
Longer-term support is required to enable families to rebuild their homes safely, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances, living on isolated islands and in remote or hard to reach areas.
IFRC co-leads the Shelter Cluster Philippines with the Government of the Philippines to assess the typhoon’s impact on households, coordinating and prioritising emergency shelter work with all partners.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is appealing for CHF 20 million to support more than 400,000 people over 24 months. A top priority includes assisting people to rebuild safer shelters, including emergency housing materials and essential items, replacement of destroyed houses, and legal support on housing, land and property issues.
For more information, contact: IFRC Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 845, [email protected]
IFRC Philippine Delegation: Karina Coates, +61 (0) 404 086 006, [email protected]
| 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]
| Press release
Tonga: Volcanic eruption and tsunami cuts off country from the world
Kuala Lumpur/Suva, 16 January 2022 - The small Pacific Island country of Tonga has been cut off from the rest of the world after an enormous volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami hit the country on Saturday.
All communication lines in the country have been disrupted with no timeframe given on restoration. Responding to one of the worst volcanic eruptions the Pacific has experienced in decades, Red Cross is mobilising its regional network to provide relief.
Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation, said:
“From what little updates we have, the scale of the devastation could be immense- especially for outer lying Islands. We are trying hard to establish contact with our colleagues at Tonga Red Cross and establish the scale and specific nature of the support they need.
“Trained Tonga Red Cross teams will be on the ground supporting evacuations in coordination with public authorities, providing first aid if needed, and distributing prepositioned relief supplies.
“Red Cross currently has enough relief supplies in the country to support 1200 households with essential items such as tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets, shelter tool kits and hygiene kits.”
There are fears that communities may not have access to safe and clean drinking water as a result of saltwater inundation caused by the tsunami waves and ashfall from the volcanic eruption. Shelter is also a concern, particularly for those communities near the coast line.
“Local Red Cross teams are well placed to respond quickly to emergencies like this. We are determined to provide the extra resources and support they may need in the face of such a devastating disaster.
“With communication channels disrupted one of the priorities for Tonga Red Cross will be to work with our Movement partner, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to restore family links which will help people from all over the world try and find out if their family and friends in Tonga are safe and well.”
Update: On 21 January 2022 the IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal for the Tonga volcano and tsunami. Find out more here.
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]
| Press release
“We need to do better” – IFRC report reveals gaps in child protection during climate related disasters
Kingston, Jamaica – November 19, 2021. Adolescents overwhelmingly feel that they do not have the information needed to be safe from potential violence, abuse, and exploitation in climate related disasters. This is one of the main findings of “We Need to Do Better: Climate Related Disasters, Child Protection and Localizing Action in the Caribbean,” a recent study conducted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The report has revealed that even though climate related disasters affect each person in the region, children are particularly at risk. They make up a large portion of the population of the Caribbean and are most vulnerable to encountering violence, abuse, and exploitation in disaster settings, while systems to protect them do not always work. The study also highlights that there are no specific laws in place to protect children from violence, abuse and exploitation when disasters happen.
Gurvinder Singh, IFRC’s Child Protection Senior Advisor and one of the authors of the report, said:
“While children potentially have great leadership and innovation capabilities, unfortunately, their voices are rarely being sought out or heard. Furthermore, there is a huge deficit in meaningful opportunities for children to be engaged in decisions that affect them. This is especially prominent in the stages of preparing for and responding to disasters. Adolescents believe that even if they do participate, their opinions may not be taken seriously by adults.”
By putting the voices, perspectives, and ideas of children at the forefront, the report seeks to understand the generally unexplored relationships between climate related disasters and children’s concerns around violence, abuse, exploitation, and mental health challenges. It also sends a warning to governments and civic organisations to play a more active role in the promotion of and respect for the rights of the child, especially with regards to the issue of child abuse and the need for urgent effective prevention programmes.
Ariel Kestens, IFRC’s Head of Delegation for the Dutch-and English-speaking Caribbean, said:
“It is critical that governments enhance domestic laws, invest in child protection systems, improve local coordination, train local responders, include protection and climate change in school curriculum, and collect sex-, age- and disability-disaggregated data in disaster responses. The IFRC Network across the Caribbean stands ready to support them to continue striving to meet the best interests of each child affected by more and more frequent, and destructive climate related disasters.”
The report also recommends practical actions for the humanitarian sector, such as designing child-friendly communications, implementing community feedback mechanisms, including child protection in anticipatory action, integrating child protection across preparedness, assessments and planning, and creating spaces for children and adults to engage, support one another and find viable solutions to protection risks.
The study was based on discussions and an online survey with 198 adolescents ages 14-17 years in the Bahamas, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago; interviews with 30 adults from different disaster and child protection agencies, and background research. It is part of the campaign “We Need to Do Better” by the IFRC to enhance protection of children in climate related disasters.
The full report may be accessed here. The adolescent summary of the report is available here.
For more information, please contact:
In Jamaica: Trevesa DaSilva | +876 818-8575 | [email protected]
In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes | + 506 8416 1771 | [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
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]
IFRC GOis our emergency operations platform for capturing, analyzing and sharing real-time data during a crisis. It helps our networkbetter meet the needs of affected communities.
Emergency needs assessments
When Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies help people affected by disasters or crises, they start by conducting emergency needs assessments. These assessments help them understand the extent and impact of the damage a disaster or crisis has caused, as well as the ability of the affected population to meet its immediate survival needs.
| 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
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
الصليب الأحمر يمدد مساعداته في لبنان لمواجهة الأزمة الاقتصادية الحادة
بيروت/جنيف، 4 آب/أغسطس 2021 - بعد مرور عام على الانفجار المدمر لميناء بيروت، يستمر عدد الأشخاص المحتاجين إلى المساعدة الإنسانية في لبنان في الارتفاع، بسبب الأزمة الاقتصادية الحادة وانخفاض قيمة العملة المحلية، وسط وباء كوفيد 19المستمر. ويواصل الاتحاد الدولي لجمعيات الصليب الأحمر والهلال الأحمر دعم الصليب الأحمر اللبناني في الأنشطة المنقذة للحياة، التي تصل إلى ملايين الأشخاص في جميع أنحاء البلاد.
بالنسبة لكثير من الناس الذين فقدوا وظائفهم والقدرة على شراء المواد الغذائية الأساسية والسلع المنزلية، أصبح من الصعب للغاية شراء الأدوية والحصول على الرعاية الصحية.
وقال جورج كتانة، الأمين العام للصليب الأحمر اللبناني:
"إن الأزمة الاقتصادية الحادة التي يواجهها بلدنا، حطمت حياة عدد كبير من الناس في لبنان. لا يمكن للأشخاص الذين يعانون من أمراض مزمنة الانتظار حتى تنتهي الأزمة الاقتصادية. إنهم بحاجة إلى أدوية يومية للبقاء على قيد الحياة. إنهم بحاجة إلى مساعدتنا الآن.
ونحن ندعو المانحين إلى مساعدتنا في الحصول على التمويل اللازم لتأمين استدامة خدماتنا العامة الحيوية وتمويل استجابتنا للأزمة الاقتصادية".
ومنذ الانفجار الذي وقع في آب/أغسطس من العام الماضي، قدم الاتحاد الدولي دعما كبيرا إلى الصليب الأحمر اللبناني لتمكين الجمعية الوطنية من تلبية الاحتياجات الإنسانية للمتضررين. وعلى وجه التحديد، صرف الاتحاد الدولي 75000 فرنك سويسري من صندوق الإغاثة الطارئة في حالات الكوارث في الأيام الأولى التي أعقبت الانفجار. وفي وقت لاحق، أطلق الاتحاد الدولي نداء عالميا طارئا لجمع مبلغ 20 مليون فرنك سويسري بهدف مساعدة أكثر من 150000 شخص. وبالإضافة إلى ذلك، نشر الاتحاد الدولي موظفين متخصصين لدعم واستكمال جهود الجمعية الوطنية في قطاعات متعددة؛ وقدم الدعم المالي لضمان استمرارية العمليات اليومية للصليب الأحمر اللبناني في تقديم الخدمات الحيوية لكل من يحتاجها.
وأضاف كريستيان كورتيز، ممثل الاتحاد الدولي لجمعيات الصليب الأحمر والهلال الأحمر في لبنان:
"يعمل الاتحاد الدولي والصليب الأحمر اللبناني معا على توسيع خطة الاستجابة المشتركة التي تشمل تقديم المساعدة الصحية والرعاية الصحية الطارئة والأولية، ودعم المرضى المصابين بفيروس كوفيد19، وزيادة خدمات نقل الدم من 42,000 وحدة دم إلى 60,000 سنويا لتلبية الاحتياجات الأساسية للناس في لبنان".
وحتى الآن، جمع الاتحاد الدولي لجمعيات الصليب الأحمر والهلال الأحمر 9.2 مليون فرنك سويسري من خلال مناشدة عالمية. وقد قدم الصليب الاحمر اللبنانى مساعدات نقدية مباشرة الى اكثر من 10800 اسرة ، منها سبع دفعات قيمتها 300 دولار امريكى لكل اسرة ، بمبلغ اجمالى قدره 22.8 مليون دولار امريكى .
وفي الوقت الحالي، تتمثل أولوية الصليب الأحمر اللبناني في إيجاد سبل للحفاظ على خدماته الحيوية في مجال الصحة في حالات الطوارئ وخدمات الإسعاف، التي تقدم مجانا للسكان للاستجابة للزيادة الكبيرة في الطلب المتصلة بجائحة كوفيد19. كما يسعى إلى إيجاد سبل لتخفيف المعاناة الناجمة عن الأزمة الاقتصادية الحادة. ووفقا للبنك الدولي، حتى يونيو/حزيران 2021، يعيش أكثر من 45٪ من السكان اللبنانيين تحت خط الفقر.
نبذة عن الصليب الأحمر اللبناني
1. الصليب الأحمر اللبناني هو الجهة المحلية التي توفر خدمات الإسعاف ونقل الدم في لبنان. وفي كل عام، تقدم الجمعية الوطنية خدمات مجانية لأكثر من 000 180 شخص في جميع أنحاء البلد. في أعقاب انفجار ميناء بيروت وفي سياق الخدمات العامة المتداعية، يسعى الصليب الأحمر اللبناني جاهدا الى الاستمرار في تقديم عمليات الإغاثة و إنقاذ الحياة في جميع أنحاء البلاد.
2. يدير الصليب الأحمر اللبناني أكثر من 36 مركزا للرعاية الصحية الأولية و 9عيادات متنقلة ومركزي تطعيم ضد كوفيد19 وتقوم الجمعية الوطنية حاليا بتوسيع نطاق تلك الخدمات لتكون قادرة على الاستجابة بشكل أفضل لنقص الأدوية وانخفاض فرص حصول السكان على الرعاية الصحية.
3. وأجرى المتطوعون والموظفون أكثر من 000 35 زيارة ميدانية للتقييم الوضع الإنساني للعائلات التي هي في أمس الحاجة إلى المساعدة. وقد اختيرت الأسر على أساس معايير محددة، مثل الصعوبات في تلبية الاحتياجات الأكثر إلحاحا؛ الأشخاص الذين يعانون من احتياجات الخاصة؛ العائلات التي لديها شقق متضررة أو مدمرة؛ الأشخاص الذين يعانون من إصابات ويواجهون صعوبة في الحصول على الرعاية الصحية و / في شراء الأدوية؛ الأسر التي تديرها امرأة وحدها، ؛ بالإضافة الى اعتبارات العمر.
لمزيد من المعلومات أو لطلب المقابلات، يرجى الاتصال ب:
في بيروت: رنا صيداني كاسو، [email protected]، 0096171802779
في جنيف: ناتالي بيرود، [email protected]، 0041795381471
What is a disaster?
Disasters are serious disruptions to the functioning of a community that exceed its capacity to cope using its own resources.Disasters can be caused by natural, man-made and technological hazards, as well as various factors that influence the exposure and vulnerability of a community.
Supporting local humanitarian action
The IFRC is committed to supporting humanitarian action that is as local as possible, as international as necessary.Our 191 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are the lead actors in preparing for, responding to and helping communities recover from emergencies. In times of increased need, our global disaster response system effectively supports and coordinates their lifesaving work.
| Press release
Africa CDC and IFRC ramp up COVID-19 response in Africa
Addis Ababa, 25 August 2021 - The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today launched a new collaboration to strengthen community resilience and response to public health emergencies at community level. The two institutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to ramp up pandemic response—including testing support to countries; community mobilization; advocacy and scaling up of contact tracing. In addition to COVID-19, the collaboration includes other areas of public health.
Africa CDC and IFRC will strengthen investments in locally-led action—for prevention and response purposes—while working with governments to ensure they intensify efforts to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination. Additionally, Africa CDC and IFRC will scale up advocacy against vaccine wastage.
This new initiative comes at a time Africa continues to face major vaccine shortages, amid a high level of community transmission in countries such as Botswana, Burundi, Eswatini, Cabo Verde, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
John Nkengasong, Africa CDC Director, said: “Africa is facing a double-edged challenge of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing with health response gaps, and also trying to ensure that the continent prepares efficiently for future pandemics, using lessons from current challenges”.
Africa CDC has been implementing various public health responses to control COVID-19. These include the engagement of community health workers in risk communication and community sensitization; surveillance activities for early case identification; contact tracing and in facilitating referrals for testing and continuum of care.
Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General, said: “What the IFRC and its network of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies bring to this partnership with Africa CDC is our unparalleled access to local communities. Our community-based volunteers have the access and trust that are needed to address vaccine hesitancy and sensitize communities about adherence to preventive measures”.
The Africa CDC has been working to support African Union Member States to build a wide network of 2 million community health workers (CHWs) in line with the July 2017 African Union Assembly Decision. The collaboration with the IFRC network, which includes 1.2 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers across the continent is expected to strengthen community level interventions and consolidate gains in tackling the spread of the virus, while increasing awareness about vaccine benefits.
National Red Cross Red and Crescent Societies across Africa remain on the frontline of the response to COVID-19. They are providing ambulance services; conducting contact tracing and point of entry screening. They are also tackling stigma and the spread of misinformation and provide emotional comfort and psychological support to people in need.
| Press release
Haiti earthquake: Red Cross teams race against time to find survivors before tropical storm hits
Port au Prince, Panama, Geneva, 16 August 2021--With Tropical Storm Grace due to bring heavy rainfall over Haiti on Tuesday, Red Cross teams are racing against time to rescue people buried in the rubble after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on 14 August.
The number of casualties is climbing while the number of people missing remains unclear. Early damage assessments by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) indicate more than 800,000 people are directly affected by the earthquake’s impact.
IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain said: “This is a major disaster that will get worse as Tropical Storm Grace heads to Haiti. Hundreds of our local volunteers, themselves affected by this disaster, have been working around the clock in the hope to find survivors, provide first aid, health care and emergency shelter.”
Hospitals, clinics, roads and bridges have been destroyed and thousands of people have lost their homes. We know that this response will be challenging which is why we are mobilizing our global network to support the Haitian Red Cross as fast as possible.”
The worst-hit areas are extremely hard to access, as roads and bridges have been destroyed, and this makes it extremely difficult to assess the scale of devastation.
To support the Haitian Red Cross and scale up its operation, the IFRC has released funding from its emergency fund (DREF) and launched an emergency appeal for 10 million Swiss francs to deliver assistance to people in need of immediate assistance, including those who have been displaced.
IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said: “Our global network of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is fully mobilized to support Haiti and its people, who face multiple crises including political instability, gang violence, food insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The appeal will allow the IFRC network to provide critical, life-saving support such as emergency shelter and basic household items, emergency health and care, including psychosocial support, livelihoods support, access to water, sanitation and hygiene and restoring family links.
For more information, to arrange interviews with Red Cross staff on the ground or request pictures, please contact:
In Panama: Maria Langman | +507 6550 1090| [email protected]
In Geneva: Ann Vaessen | +4179 405 77 50 | [email protected]
Amman Humanitarian Declaration: Concerted efforts to help as many people as possible in Iraq, Jordan and Egypt
The Iraqi, Jordanian and Egyptian Red Crescent societies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have agreed on the "Amman Declaration," during a tripartite meeting that took place in Amman, Jordan on 11-12 August 2021. The declaration develops a model of cooperation that is consistent with local strategic orientation and with IFRC’s strategy 2030.
The partners agreed to work on a joint plan of action that addresses common challenges such as climate change, food security, livelihoods, particularly in light of the global consequences of the Covid19 pandemic on people's lives.
Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, Regional Director of IFRC MENA, said: "As partners, we are determined to adopt the best ways and mechanisms that translate our strategic visions into concrete actions on the ground. Particularly, in the fields of disaster preparedness and response, climate change, volunteer management, livelihoods and food security. We agreed to share our experiences notably in regard to working with refugees and displaced people with technical support from IFRC.”
Donor fatigue and the need to find new ways of funding was one of the topics discussed. Partners agreed to develop a joint plan of action to attract resources locally and regionally. They decided as well to form a capacity strengthening task force that will develop a training roadmap to strengthen the skills of the Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers.
For more information:
Rana Sidani Cassou: Mobile: +96171802779
| Press release
As COVID-19 cases surge in Africa, Red Cross warns that insufficient funding is impeding the response
Nairobi/Geneva, 2 July 2021 – Halting an increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in Africa will require additional funding. This was announced by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), amid a worrying surge of cases in Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, and South Africa.
National Red Cross teams in these seven countries are stepping up surveillance, testing, healthcare and hygiene activities. They have also scaled up their COVID-19 awareness campaigns in public places such as markets and border points.
However, efforts like these ones, aimed at containing the spread of the virus, have been strained by insufficient funding. With a third wave looming large, there are increasing concerns that the impact will be more devastating, especially if the shortage of funds persists.
MohammedMukhier, IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa said:
“Since the outset of this pandemic, not enough attention has been paid to the evolution of this virus on the African continent. Lower levels of transmission data have created the perception that this region has not been so affected by the pandemic. The upward trend in the number of infections that we are now seeing, is partly as a result of insufficient funding to address several gaps in the response. These include weak surveillance mechanisms; weak testing capacity; insufficient protective gear and medical equipment including hospital beds, oxygen and ambulance services. If these gaps are not addressed, cases will continue tosoar,followed bya peak in fatality rates, which is already being observed.”
IFRC Africa has so far only received about half of the funds it requires to support 48 countries in their response to COVID-19. Crucially, these funds are almost depleted.
Red Cross Red Crescent teams across Africa have been on the frontline of the response to COVID-19 since the outset. They are providing ambulance services, conducting contact tracing, promoting, and ensuring adherence to public health measures to prevent the spread of the virus and supporting in Infection Prevention and Control measures at treatment and isolation facilities and point of entry screening. They are also tackling stigma and the spread of misinformation by providing educational materials, running radio campaigns and informational hotlines for the community and providing psychosocial support to people in need. To address the secondary impacts of COVID-19, Red Cross Red Crescent teams have been providing cash to vulnerable families. Many of these vital prevention programmes are at risk, if more funding is not urgently secured.
Mukhier said: “Without adequate funding, we are unable to respond to the needs of the communities we serve or address the gaps and challenges of this response. The gains that have been made over the last year are at serious risk of being lost, if funding is not made available to help us continue to reach the most vulnerable and affected communities in Africa.”
The average number of new daily infections reported in Namibia and Zambia has reached a new high with 1,600 and 2,719 daily cases, respectively. This is by far the highest rate of infection (over 100 per cent increase) observed in these countries. Mozambique is recording 400 daily cases, a 10-fold increase in comparison with previous months, Uganda is now detecting over 900 daily infections, and South Africa close to 18,000 daily cases.
In addition to lack of funding, there is the challenge of availability and access to COVID-19 vaccines: just over 1 per cent of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated. Most of the countries experiencing increasing trends have reported less than 5 per cent of their population receiving at least one vaccine dose.
Furthermore, the response to COVID-19 in Africa is complicated by the existence of other parallel and mutually exacerbating emergency situations.
Rui Alberto Oliveira, IFRC’s Operations Manager for Africa said:
“Responding to COVID-19 in countries facing multiple crises, such as DR Congo, Sahel, Lake Chad, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Sudan or Somalia, is extremely challenging, meaning the disease may continue to circulate unchecked.
“We cannot wait for the situation to deteriorate further before taking action. We must ensure that enough resources are made available, now, to halt the progress of the imminent, and potentially catastrophic, third wave of COVID-19 in Africa.”