Israel / Palestine conflict: our response so far
As the escalation of hostilities in Israel and Palestine enters its second month, the conflict continues to take the lives of civilians, disrupt the delivery of life-saving medical care, interrupt critical services that people rely on to survive, and leave families grieving the loss of loved ones.
The IFRC has called on all parties for humanitarian access across Gaza and West Bank, the release of hostages, the protection of civilians, hospitals and humanitarian workers from indiscriminate attack and compliance with international humanitarian law.
Among those killed have been humanitarian aid and health workers who lost their lives while trying to save others, as well as people seeking safety and care at health facilities.
IFRC and National Society response
Meanwhile, IFRC member National Societies in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories continue to respond to urgent humanitarian needs and to provide life-saving assistance and other essential services. The IFRC, meanwhile, is supporting its National Societies Magen David Adom in Israel and the Palestinian Red Crescent in their on-going, live-saving work.
Magen David Adom in Israel (MDA) has been supporting affected communities since the beginning, with ambulance and medical services on call 24/7. Staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly, putting their lives and well-being in harm's way to tend to the wounded and deceased. A total of 1,500 ambulances and 10,000 first responders (EMTs and paramedics) have been mobilized. Since 7 October, they have treated over 4.000 patients.
These staff members and volunteers have been working under difficult and dangerous circumstances. Tragically, several volunteers and staff have died in line of duty, killed while treating patients. Several others also suffered major or minor injuries while on duty. Ambulances have also come under attack at various times during the hostilities.
The MDA has also supported the Ministry of Health in the transfer of patients and the evacuation of bed-ridden people close to the border. MDA is also helping communities prepare in case of further escalation. For example, the National Society offers free, first-aid training focusing on trauma care. It has also gathered, tested and processed over 50,000 units of blood to supply ambulances, mobile intensive care units, hospitals and clinics.
As the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated – with little humanitarian aid reaching impacted communities – Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCRS) teams are working around the clock in extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances. Already, several PRCS volunteers have been killed in the escalating violence. Meanwhile, there are drastic shortages of critical basic necessities, such as fuel, water, food and medical supplies.
Despite the challenges, PRCS has continued to provide critical, life-saving care. In the Gaza Strip, the PRCS has provided emergency medical care to more than 8,800 injured people as of 4 November. PRCS ambulance crews have also transported more than 2,800 people killed since the escalation began.
PRCS’s Al-Quds hospital in Gaza city has cared for 1,061 injured people and taken in long-term patients from the main hospital. The National Society’s Al Amal hospital in Khan Younis has cared for 873 injured people as of 4 November and has also taken in long-term patients from the main government-run hospital.
This life-saving work is being done in the face of regular power and communications blackouts as well as the extreme danger posed by the on-going conflict. PRCS teams have reported shelling very close to their hospitals, ambulance center, main warehouse, and headquarters causing injuries, damaging the buildings and restricting access to the hospitals. Eight ambulances are inoperable due to severe damage, according to PRCS. Al Quds hospital, meanwhile, has continued operation despite demands that it be evacuated.
Meanwhile, PRCS staff have distributed relief items to more than 60,000 internally displaced families in temporary shelters and at their hospitals. Aid items include food parcels, milk, blankets, mattresses, water as well as some hygiene kits, kitchen sets, and baby necessities.
In the West Bank, PRCS has provided emergency medical care to more than 2,300 injured people. Ambulance crews have also transported 49 people killed in the fighting.
Aid delivery to Gaza so far
On 21 October, the first 20 humanitarian aid trucks were allowed to cross the border from Egypt into the Gaza strip. The Rafah border crossing — a key lifeline for essential goods into the Gaza strip — had been closed since the escalation of violence on 7 October.
Since the border was re-opened, 756 trucks carrying food, water, relief items, medicine and medical supplies have been allowed in as of 9 November – an average of 33 trucks per day. The aid that has been received is only a drop in the ocean considering the immense needs of Gaza’s two million people. So far no fuel has been allowed to enter the Gaza strip. The aid deliveries were coordinated by the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC) the only relief organization with access to North Sinai, including the Rafah border crossing.
New humanitarian flights
On 7 November, two new European Union Humanitarian Air Bridge flights for the people of Gaza took off from Ostend, Belgium and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, transporting almost 115 tonnes of assistance supplies to al-Arish, Egypt, near the Rafah Border Crossing Point.
The flights were organised through a coordination platform managed by the EU and the IFRC. The cargo from Dubai carried logistical items such as refrigerators and containers, a crucial element for the treatment of aid arriving in Egypt and Gaza. These items were purchased by the EU and donated to the World Food Programme in order to strengthen the logistical capacity of the Egyptian Red Crescent and to facilitate relief operations in the region.
Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt
In view of the scale of likely needs and in order to complement the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS)’s response efforts outlined in their appeal, the IFRC will enhance the capacities to respond through an Emergency Appeal by coordinating the response in neighbouring countries to the occupied Palestine Territories.
The IFRC will be supporting – in close coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - the response of its membership, as significant humanitarian actors in their own geographies, and strengthen their organizational capacities. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC and its membership seek CHF 30 million (CHF 20 million of which is expected to be raised by the IFRC Secretariat) to support the Lebanese Red Cross, Egyptian Red Crescent, Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Jordanian Red Crescent in preparing and strengthening their response readiness to the potential escalation of hostilities in the region and subsequent humanitarian needs.
On 13, October, the IFRC also allocated CHF 1 million from its Disaster Emergency Relief Fund to support a wide range of humanitarian assistance in the occupied Palestinian territories impacted by the hostilities.
The highest price
Since the escalation of hostilities began on 7 October, the IFRC has decried the fact that civilians are paying the “highest price” in the hostilities and has called on all parties to allow humanitarian organizations to safely access and support people impacted by the crisis.
In a joint statement on 14 October, IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain and ICRC Director General Robert Mardini said they were “appalled to see the human misery that has unfolded” and that “civilians - including women and children, the elderly, and the wounded and sick - are currently paying the highest price.”
“Human suffering is happening on all sides,” the statement said. “And it is always devastating. The death of a son or daughter, a sibling, a parent, is a human tragedy no matter where it happens or who it happens to. Civilian life must be protected on all sides.”
“We call on all parties to exercise restraint, to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, and to protect civilians – which must remain at the core of everything we do,” they wrote, stressing the critical need for all parties to respect and facilitate impartial and neutral humanitarian assistance to all those impacted by the violence.
The IFRC governing board, which includes National Society leaders from all parts of the globe, also expressed its shock and horror at the “growing humanitarian needs and the mounting loss of life” in a special statement released on 20 October.
“This situation underscores the critical importance of access to all civilians, including those held hostage,” the statement continued. “We urge all parties involved to prioritize the safety and well-being of civilians and to commit to ensuring rapid, safe, and unimpeded access, including the opening of the Rafah border crossing, for humanitarian organizations to provide essential humanitarian assistance and ensure protection.”
If you are a journalist and would like more information or to request an interview about this emergency, please email [email protected].
Follow these Twitter accounts for the latest updates
@elsharkawi - IFRC MENA Regional Director, Hossam Elsharkawi
Middle East: Complex emergency crisis
The dramatic escalation of hostilities in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories since October 7 has left millions of people living in fear, interrupted critical services that people rely on to survive, and left families on both sides grieving the loss of loved ones. The humanitarian needs are immense and the situation is expected to deteriorate as more people are displaced by the fighting. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC and its membership seek CHF 30 million (CHF 20 million of which is expected to be raised by the IFRC Secretariat) to support the Lebanese Red Cross, Egyptian Red Crescent, Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Jordanian Red Crescent in preparing and strengthening their readiness and response. View the appeal document in Arabic here.
Menstrual Hygiene Day: #WeAreCommitted to challenging period stigma, exclusion and discrimination
Around the world, millions of women and girls* face stigma, exclusion and discrimination simply because of one perfectly natural bodily function: their periods.
Negative attitudes and misinformation about periods limit women and girls’ potential. Too often they miss out on education and employment—either due to a lack of hygiene facilities and products to easily go about their daily lives while menstruating, or because they are weighed down by fear of shame and embarrassment from their communities.
Women and girls’ safety is also at risk. Without proper hygiene facilities, women can be forced to go into the open to deal with their period needs—leaving them exposed to physical danger and psychological harm. And in extreme cases, period stigma has tragically claimed women and girls’ lives.
At the IFRC, #WeAreCommitted to challenging period stigma, exclusion and discrimination and to improving the menstrual hygiene management (MHM) knowledge, skills and programming of our National Societies.
We’re working to raise MHM standards across our network—both as part of our long-term water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes, but also during emergency response. Because periods don’t stop in an emergency!
We focus on three main areas:
Providing pads and menstrual health items as part of our relief assistance
Community engagement to demystify periods, educate women and girls on how to manage them safely, and challenge negative attitudes—especially among men and boys. This also involves advocating for more and better MHM activities with governments.
Setting up WASH facilities designed with the additional needs of menstruating women and girls in mind.
Many of our National Societies are already doing fantastic work in this area. Let’s look at some of them!
With support from Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund, the Lebanese Red Cross has partnered with the IFRC, British Red Cross and consulting firm ARUP to develop inclusive and MHM-friendly latrines and bathing/laundering facilities. They focused on women living in informal tented settlements near the Syrian border.
Speaking to women in the settlements, Lebanese Red Cross teams learned that women mainly use disposable pads during their periods, or a cloth in an emergency, which they burn after a single use. Women explained if they had a safe, accessible and private space to use that was separated from men’s facilities and had discrete disposal methods, they would put their used pads in the bin.
Based on this feedback, the Lebanese Red Cross piloted technical designs for emergency WASH facilities that took these women’s needs into account. They developed a manual that can be adapted and used by other National Societies and partners—which includes recommendations of how to best engage with women and girls about their period needs in a sensitive and effective way. Click here to read more about the project.
Although menstruation is considered natural and a sign of maturity for women in Pakistan, it’s also seen as dirty, shameful and something to be dealt with in silence. Men are generally responsible for deciding on the menstrual health facilities and services offered to women and girls, but rarely involve or consult them on their needs.
The Swiss Red Cross worked with Aga Khan University in Pakistan to set up special MHM corners within hospitals—safe spaces in which women and girls could receive information and counselling about menstrual hygiene and reproductive health. They ran pad-making sessions with men and women to raise awareness of good hygiene practices. And they identified influential ‘MHM champions’ who are now spreading this knowledge and tackling period stigma within their communities.
For many girls in Malawi, managing their periods continues to be a challenge due to a lack of access to information, sanitary products, and adequate WASH facilities—particularly in schools.
The Malawi Red Cross Society, with support from the Swiss Red Cross, conducted mixed-method research with more than 500 school students to understand girls’ and boys’ knowledge, attitudes and practices around periods.
They discovered that:
More than half of the girls they spoke to had never heard about menstruation before it started
Girls with increased knowledge used better MHM practices and skipped school less
Interestingly, boys’ increased knowledge about MHM was associated with higher levels of teasing, and with more absenteeism of girls during their periods
The Malawi Red Cross Society has since used this research to inform their work in MHM so it better meets girls’ needs. They’ve constructed female-friendly toilets in schools, produced reusable menstrual hygiene products, delivered training to teachers and parents’ groups and advocated for more menstrual health activities at the community and district level.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, transgender people in Argentina were found to be having difficulty accessing menstrual hygiene items. In close coordination with two local specialist organizations which support and advocate for transgender people, the Argentine Red Cross distributed hygiene kits which included sanitary pads, tampons and menstrual cups.
Transgender men provided recommendations and selected appropriate menstrual items for the kits. Distribution of the kits was accompanied with virtual workshops on sexual health and correct use of menstrual cups. The Argentine Red Cross also set up a health advisory line to offer psychosocial support to anyone who needed it.
Learning resources and more information about MHM:
Discover even more case studies from our National Societies’ MHM activities in this collection
Explore our wealth of practical guidance, tools and advocacy resources on menstrual hygiene on our dedicated WASH site here
Visit the dedicated WASH page on the IFRC website
Visit the global Menstrual Hygiene Day campaign page for more information about this year’s theme
Contact our Senior Officer for WASH in Public Health, Alexandra Machado, for any MHM-related questions: [email protected]
*We recognize that not everyone who menstruates identifies as a woman, and that not all women menstruate.
Lebanon: Complex emergency
Lebanon has been facing an evolving complex humanitarian crisis since late 2019, generating widespread and growing needs for assistance and protection. Two powerful explosions occurred at the Port of Beirut on 4 August 2020, leaving devastating impacts while the country grapples with overlapping economic and financial crises, political volatility and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country is also hosting the highest refugee population per capita in the world.
| 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
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
Lebanese Red Cross
| Press release
World Bank and IFRC Support Independent Monitoring of COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign in Lebanon
Beirut, February 12, 2021 — The World Bank and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have signed today an agreement for the independent monitoring of Lebanon’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Under this agreement, IFRC acting as the Third Party Monitoring Agency (TPMA), will be in charge of independently monitoring the compliance of the vaccination deployment with national plans, international standards and World Bank requirements in order to ensure safe handling of the vaccines, as well as fair and equitable access to all.
According to the agreement, IFRC’s oversight and supervision will cover COVID-19 vaccine supply chain management as well as vaccine administration at vaccination sites from the technical, environmental and social safeguards perspectives. This includes but is not limited to storage, stock and temperature maintenance across the supply chain, service delivery at vaccination sites, eligibility of vaccine recipients and capturing client perspectives and feedback. The agreement will extend through December 2021 and may be prolonged as needed.
This agreement will cover the roll-out of vaccines to be procured under World Bank financing made possible through the re-allocation of US$34 million under the existing Lebanon Health Resilience Project to help Lebanon as it faces an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases. This re-allocation was the first World Bank-financed operation to fund the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and will cover over 2 million individuals. In a first phase, this financing will cover the purchase of 1.5 million vaccines (750,000 individuals) from Pfizer, and the first batch is expected to arrive to Lebanon on February 13, 2021.
“Lebanon is embarking on an unprecedented large-scale acquisition and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines with its health system already under severe strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, a deep and prolonged macroeconomic crisis and lastly the devastating Port of Beirut explosion,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director. “The World Bank’s partnership with IFRC aims to ensure fair, broad, and fast access to COVID-19 vaccines to help save lives and support economic recovery while ensuring strict compliance with the safeguards in place.”
In preparing for vaccine deployment, the Government of Lebanon, with the support of the World Bank and other partners, has conducted the COVID-19 vaccine readiness assessment, established a National COVID-19 Vaccine Committee, and prepared a National COVID-19 Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP). The NDVP has all the key elements recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and represents a central part of Lebanon’s vaccination readiness. According to the NDVP, Lebanon seeks to vaccinate 80 percent of the total population (citizens and non-citizens residing in the country). Vaccination will prioritize high risk populations through a multi-phase roll-out plan in line with WHO recommendations: high risk health workers, population above 65 years of age, epidemiological and surveillance staff, and population between 55-64 years with co-morbidities. By prioritizing these groups, the country’s vaccination program has the potential to reduce the consequences of the pandemic. Any exception to these priorities will jeopardize the efficiency, transparency and credibility of the vaccination plan.
“As a neutral independent international organsiation, we look forward to working with the World Bank on this important project to monitor the vaccine implementation plan and enable the public health authorities to ensure safe handling of the vaccines, as well as fair and equitable access to all,” said Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, IFRC MENA Regional Director. “Only through strong partnerships, we can overcome the multi-layered crisis in Lebanon.”
IFRC will use mixed methods for data collection including the monitoring of mobile data platforms to ensure real time data collection and analysis, in person observations and monitoring using checklists, in person monitoring, reporting and reconciliation of daily stock count. In addition, IFRC teams will monitor social media and analyze the data from the call center set up by the Ministry of Public Health as part of the Grievance Redress Mechanism established under the project.
In addition to the TPMA, the WB has established, in consultation with WHO, UNICEF, IOM, UNHCR and UNRWA, an international Joint Monitoring Committee to engage in the monitoring of the vaccination process, identify measures to enhance the quality of the campaign, and ensure joint advocacy throughout the process, based on findings from the TPM and other sources.
The World Bank reiterates its commitment to ensure the strict enforcement of the vaccination plan and the continuous and stringent monitoring of its implementation to help Lebanon contain the pandemic as promptly and efficiently as possible.
The World Bank, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes US$12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments, and strengthen vaccination systems. The financing builds on the broader World Bank Group COVID-19 response, which is helping more than 100 countries strengthen health systems, support the poorest households, and create supportive conditions to maintain livelihoods and jobs for those hit hardest.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.
| Press release
Six months after Beirut Blast: Deteriorating humanitarian situation needs global solidarity
The Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) appeal for continued global solidarity with the Lebanese people who are suffering from a multi-layered humanitarian crisis. Six months after the Beirut Port Explosion, people have become poorer and sicker, as well as are in urgent need of humanitarian support to cover basic necessities such as food and healthcare.
In addition to the economic crisis and civil unrest, Lebanon is witnessing high numbers of COVID-19 infections. Currently, the LRC hotline receives more than 4,000 calls every day, related mostly to coronavirus patients. While the number of people infected by COVID-19 keeps increasing, hospitals are reporting near-full occupancy in beds and intensive care units. In response to this situation, LRC has launched an initiative to provide home oxygen machines to COVID-19 patients who suffer from respiratory difficulties but can’t find a place in a hospital.
“We call on donors to support our life-saving services, as we have lost more than 50% of our funding as a result of the economic crisis and the devaluation of the local currency,” says Georges Kettaneh, LRC Secretary General. “LRC already had a major responsibility in providing ambulance and blood services throughout Lebanon, and now we have been called upon to do more and more. Our volunteers and staff are rising to the challenge, but for us to continue doing it, we need support from partners and donors. We need all the support possible – now more than ever,” urges Kettaneh.
IFRC is working closely with Lebanese Red Cross who is witnessing a large increase in the demand for its life-saving services. “Every day, the number of Lebanese people who need assistance is increasing. The needs are immense, and many are unmet,” says Cristhian Cortez Cardoza, Head of IFRC Lebanon Country Office. “The solidarity with Lebanon has been most appreciated, but more support is still needed,” Cardoza concludes.
Since the explosion, Lebanese Red Cross has provided food parcels, hygiene kits, primary healthcare services, blood units and ambulance services to more than 250,000 people. In addition, Lebanese Red Cross committed 20.5 million USD to support 9,800 most vulnerable affected families by providing them monthly 300 USD financial assistance for 7 months to manage their basic needs. By the 20th January 2021, the affected families had received the third round of direct financial assistance.
The explosion at Beirut port rippled through several areas of the capital, damaging homes of more than 300,000 people, killing more than 200 and wounding thousands.
Donations to Lebanese Red Cross can be made here.
4 months since the Beirut explosion: Lebanese Red Cross Secretary-General explains the situation now
On the 4th of August, a massive explosion occurred in the port area of Beirut, capital of Lebanon, injuring more than 6500 people and affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands. Four months later, a lot has been done but the work is far from finished.
Secretary-General of the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC), Georges Kettaneh, what are the needs of the affected people four months after the explosions?
People need three things: cash, health services and reconstruction of their houses.
We are supporting with the minor repairs and providing cash assistance to the families assessed to be in the most vulnerable situation. We continue the lead in the ambulance services and blood transfusions. We are active in primary health care services, providing mental health support, restoring family links and dead body management. We are also responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways.
How was the situation when the explosion happened on the 4th of August?
We had, and still have, an emergency contingency plan to manage unset emergencies. But the Beirut Port explosion was something we had not prepared for or even imagined in our wildest risk assessment exercises. We acknowledge that the humanitarian needs were too big for us to manage completely.
In 2 minutes, the blast caused devastation beyond imagination. People lost their lives, homes, loved ones. When we went to the streets to assess the needs, we found bodies of people laying on the ground.
We started our needs assessment as soon as possible to have the data that helped us to set priorities. Many people left their houses that were destroyed so we could not reach them. Now, they are coming back to us asking to be included. We had to evacuate people affected by COVID-19 and other patients from the destroyed hospitals to the ones that remained functional, either in Beirut or outside the capital.
How is the mental health of the Lebanese Red Cross staff and volunteers?
We Lebanese often like to project a positive image about ourselves pretending that we are doing fine. But in reality, we have been shaken to the bones. Our volunteers and staff need psychological support as all Lebanese people do.
Personally, I went through many challenging situations throughout my 20-year career as a humanitarian. During the war in Lebanon, I evacuated 21 bodies in 1986 in an explosion in Northern Beirut. I was kidnapped many times. I was under fire from snipers several times. All of this affected me for sure. But the Beirut explosion has been by far the most difficult thing to witness.
When the blast took place, people called me on my mobile screaming that they were injured pleading me to evacuate them. We mobilized all the ambulances and volunteers we could, even the retired ones. Some of the ambulances were not able to reach people because the roads were blocked by the rubble. Paramedics were hearing injured screaming under the rubble of their houses but they were not able to reach them.
As a humanitarian, this is your scariest nightmare.This affected me a lot. Some of my acquaintances and friends died. We all need mental health support in this situation, and the Lebanese Red Cross is doing as much as possible to provide it to everyone willing to receive it.
What have you learned from the explosion and the response operation?
The explosions were a force majeure. We were not prepared for such a thing. We didn’t envisage an explosion in the port. We were fully stretched by the COVID-19 as well as in providing first-aid, COVID-19 awareness and responding otherwise to the demonstrations in various parts of the country. No matter how overwhelmed we might be, we should always be prepared for the worse.
Another learning we got when we started to distribute relief item boxes. At first, we had 400 boxes but only 100 people showed up at the collection points. The community members that were affected by the blast, did not come to the street to receive the relief items they urgently needed. Culturally, coming to the public for the aid was hard for them.
We realized we need to adjust our approach to fit the sensitivities of the community. We decided to distribute the relief items from door-to-door even if it meant more work for us. Then, people were very happy to receive the aid as their dignity was intact.
Does the Lebanese Red Cross have enough resources to help the people in need?
We have gotten enough donations to provide cash assistance for 10,000 families. We are providing 300 US dollars per month to the most vulnerable affected families to cover their basic needs. You can read more about the cash assistance on the Lebanese Red Cross website.
The demand would go beyond the 10,000 families but we don’t have resources for more.
We are thankful for all the donations and support we have received from IFRC, ICRC and Partnering National Societies as well as other partners. We have worked together as one in the response to the explosion. From the Lebanese diaspora and companies, we have received more than 20 million USD as they regarded us as a neutral and trusted organization.
What comes to the economic crisis in Lebanon, we don’t have enough for responding to that in long term. For example, we need to provide livelihood support and shelter for the people, including the Syrian refugees.
In this situation, being transparent and accountable is crucial. Therefore, we have hired an international audit company to monitor our performance and to be as transparent as possible.
3,741 Individuals treated & transported by ambulance
14,499 individuals received primary health support
13,895 blood units distributed to hospitals
22,001 households with 110,005 individuals received food parcels & hygiene kits
49,127 door-to-door household assessments completed
6,019 individuals affected by COVID-19 transported
16,437 individuals received psycho-social support
9,744 vulnerable families received cash assistance
The Lebanese Red Cross launched an appeal for 19 million USD to continue providing emergency medical services and relief operations during the first three months.
IFRC, in support of LRC plan, has appealed for 20 million Swiss francs (21.8 million US dollars) to scale up health, shelter and livelihood support over the coming 24 months. Read more on the Lebanon Red Cross website.
In Beirut: Rana Sidani Cassou, +961 71802779, [email protected]
A pandemic reminds us why health care professionals are so valuable
Each nurse and midwife who joined the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has a different story, but they share a common passion: to care for those in need.
“I have a big heart that prompts me to engage in humanitarian work in all sectors, whether in times of peace, war, or natural disasters,” said Etidal Abdo Nasser Al-Qabati, a Yemeni nurse and midwife who has specialized in practical nursing and midwifery for three years and studied for four years to become a paramedic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife,” in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This year, according to WHO, the world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.
‘’I started to volunteer for humanitarian work, with the Yemeni Red Crescent, in 1973, and fell in love with nursing and helping others,’’ said Etidal, who is known as ‘Mama Etidal.’ “My biggest pain is knowing that we can conduct rescue missions but lack the necessary resources.”
Etidal started as a @YemenCrescent volunteer, now she is a professional nurse and midwife: “My long experience and big heart prompt me to humanitarian work.” She is the one who protects the dignity of mothers and women during the most difficult times. #YearOfTheNurseAndMidwife pic.twitter.com/5pnQXElVtf
— IFRC Middle East and North Africa (@IFRC_MENA) November 6, 2020
Lebanese midwife Pascale Rizk, joined the International Committee of the Red Cross in 2017 and chose this profession ‘’because it is amongst the most noble professions in the world”.
‘’The relationship that the certified midwife builds with the couple is outstandingly beautiful. Indeed, she witnesses the couple’s greatest moment of joy. And the most sacred event of their lifetime, i.e. the arrival of their newborn.’’
According to Pascale, midwifery and nursing are misperceived by society. ‘’Honestly, when people used to ask me what I did for a living, I would answer by saying ‘a certified midwife,’ and the first response that I would get was: ‘Oh, so you’re a doula?’ People don’t realize that certified midwives are one of the pillars of the medical sector. ‘’
Nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services and are often the first and only points of care in their communities. Nurses in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement have long been at the frontlines, in war, natural disasters and in combating major diseases like Ebola, SARS, coronaviruses and lately COVID-19, often putting their lives at risk.
"The core of our work is saving other people's lives," says Pascale, a #midwife at @ICRC_lb.#Midwives reduce suffering and protect the dignity of mothers and women during the most difficult times: war, disasters and disease outbreaks such as COVID-19.#YearOfTheNurseAndMidwife pic.twitter.com/DH7Gelr6FC
— IFRC Middle East and North Africa (@IFRC_MENA) November 8, 2020
Muhsin Ghalib, an Iraqi Red Crescent nursing officer, has chosen the nursing profession because it is a vocation that helps preserve human rights. Ghalib narrates an unforgettable experience where he witnessed the death of a young man who was helping his father at the hospital. “I can never forget this experience, because the father was the one who was sick, but ended up staying alive. Whereas his son, who was perfectly healthy, passed away just like that.’’
Today, health care workers need #solidarity, not #stigma. Thank them and show them your support every day. By doing this, you help yourself and others to stay safe.
Think what would happen if we don’t have enough #nurses and #midwives#YearOfTheNurseAndMidwife @iraqircs pic.twitter.com/EDsgGKU364
— IFRC Middle East and North Africa (@IFRC_MENA) November 5, 2020
It is pivotal to create and respect a humanitarian space in order to allow Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and health workers to care for people in need and alleviate human suffering among the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach communities.
Health workers who dedicate themselves to saving lives deserve society’s respect. They must not be prevented from reaching those in need.
Nurses and midwives have devoted their lives to saving and caring for others. In return, we should protect, respect, recognize and give thanks nurses, midwives and all health workers at all times.
Elias from @YemenCrescent was granted a #FlorenceNightingale medal – the highest award one can get in #HealthCareSector.#Midwives and #nurses are needed today more than ever before, and they must be appreciated by everyone. Thank you for what you do! #YearOfTheNurseAndMidwife pic.twitter.com/jUHiflcwj7
— IFRC Middle East and North Africa (@IFRC_MENA) November 4, 2020
Bahraini Red Crescent Society and Calmmess support Beirut with art and donations
Beirut/Al-Manama, 11 September 2020: The Bahraini group dedicated to painting and fine art lovers, Calmmess, has extended its exhibition “Let us Gather with Art and Love for Beirut” that is taking place at the gate number 4 of City Center-Bahrain Mall in Al-Manama until Monday, the 14th of September on the account of its popularity. This initiative was launched jointly with the Bahraini Red Crescent Society (BRCS) on the 6th of this month in solidarity with the Lebanese people after the explosion in Port of Beirut on the 4th of August, which killed over hundred, injured thousands, and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
“Let us Gather with Art and Love for Beirut” came as a virtual event by Calmmess that brought together 20 painting lovers of all ages. They cooperated to disseminate a love and hope message and support those who got affected by the catastrophe of Beirut. Ameena Ahmed Majed and Danah Naser Al Sayed, the founders of Calmmess, said: “The number of participants reflects the talents and capabilities in spreading peace and togetherness for a humanitarian cause. It also sheds light on the promising Bahraini talents. This is the first art exhibition curated by our Group, and we trust the chances of being in even bigger exhibitions in the future.”
A host of artists and amateurs took part in the exhibition, assigning the sale of their works proceeds to the BRCS, which will send these donations to the Lebanese Red Cross Society (LRCS). Moubarak Al-Hadi, the acting Secretary General and the General Director of the BRCS, stressed on the importance of efficient coordination with the LRCS, describing it as a trusted partner to deliver the necessary aids to the affected people in Beirut.
Ali Kahdem Madan, the Head of the Public Relations Committee in BRCS, said that the Society intensified its efforts by adding an art booth, “Ya Beirut”, at City Center-Bahrain. “[the booth] Is characterized by the enthusiastic commitment of our volunteers, who alternate to manage it from 10 in the morning until 10 at night. This initiative, that aims to mobilize the Bahraini society to contribute in the BRCS’ effort and back up our Lebanese brothers during their ordeal, saw a considerable interaction by the famous Social Media names in Bahrain.”
The BRCS valued the response of the Mall’s visitors and their financial contributions as well as the donations of the Lebanese Community to assist the affected families by the explosion. At the time of Beirut Port’s blast, the BRCS hurried to offer aids and assistance, and lend a helping hand with the available resources. The BRCS continues to work closely with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the LRCS, and the partners in the International Movement to assess the humanitarian situation in Beirut and provide ongoing support.
Majed and Al Sayed find that volunteering and fundraising for public issues are stronghold in Bahrain. “We believe the Bahraini society and youth are forerunners of philanthropy and humanitarian volunteering at all levels. And such activities aren’t strange to the BRCS that reacts for the good and for the benefit of the humanitarian causes.” Majed clarifies how “the art is my breathing space and a room for relaxation, beauty, and calmness.” While Al Sayed considers it “a mirror of the charm of life and nature shaped in paintings.”
This isn’t the first time the BRCS engages in the humanitarian aspect of arts. Madan explained how the Society collected donations for the families in need inside and outside Bahrain through “Let’s Stop Their Hunger” campaign in “The Avenues” Mall in Al-Manama during the past Holy month and Fitr Celebration. The Mall’s goers worked on decorating and ornamenting empty plates to ultimately buy them and donate the money to the families in need. The initiative attracted a number of renowned Bahraini artists, who transformed the white plates into art pieces displayed on the donation campaign’s booth walls.
Beirut Port explosions: Survivors’ needs on the rise while normal life seems far away
Beirut, 4 September 2020: One month after the devastating port explosions in Beirut, the humanitarian needs of the survivors remain unmet and are growing every day.
The horrific disaster on 4 August killed at least 190 people, injured some 6,500 others, and left 300,000 homeless. The volunteers and staff of the Lebanese Red Cross are supporting more than 106,000 of the most vulnerable survivors with ambulance and medical services, psycho-social support, and assessing their short-term and long-term needs.
More than 6,000 households have been assessed to date, and the overwhelming majority – 96 per cent - need assistance with shelters, home repairs, medical care, medications especially for chronic diseases, cash and food assistance. Because of banking restrictions since October 2019, only 13 per cent reported having savings that they could access.
Mr. George Kettaneh, Secretary General of the Lebanese Red Cross, said: “In the very near future, the Lebanese Red Cross will start to distribute direct cash support for at least 10,000 families. We will spend 5 million US dollars every month on direct cash distribution to enable people having some level of dignity in buying their own food and fulfilling their own needs.
“In view of the impact and severity of this disaster, many people will depend on national and international donor support for a long time before they can rebuild their lives and their livelihoods.”
The assessments indicate that more than over half of the survivors assessed (57 per cent) have a family member living with a chronic illness that requires medication, 8 per cent are living with a disability, and 5 per cent are pregnant and lactating mothers.
There have been serious psychological and mental health impact on the general population, including staff and volunteers of Lebanese Red Cross. While the long-term effects are yet to be assessed, the Lebanese Red Cross is providing psycho-social support in three locations near the blast area. Its volunteers and staff are also working to maintain regular services such as emergency medical services and blood transfusion.
Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, Middle East North Africa Regional Director at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: “The explosion is no longer in the headlines, but it is still affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who desperately need shelter repairs, medical care, medications, cash, and food. The Lebanese Red Cross are doing everything they can, but they need our and donors support to do more.”
The Lebanese Red Cross launched an appeal for 19 million USD to continue providing emergency medical services and relief operations during the first three months.
IFRC, in support of LRC plan, has appealed for 20 million Swiss francs (21.8 million US dollars) to scale up health, shelter and livelihood support over the coming 24 months. Donate here: https://supportlrc.app/.
In Beirut: Rana Sidani Cassou, [email protected]
| Press release
Beirut Explosion: Urgent relief for survivors underway as IFRC appeals for 20 million Swiss francs
Geneva, 9 August 2020 –The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) appealed today for 20 million Swiss francs (US$ 21.8 million dollars) to rapidly scale up emergency medical support and economic relief for survivors of Tuesday’s explosion at the Port of Beirut.
The blast, which came during a spike of COVID-19 over the past several weeks in Lebanon, poses additional burden on already fragile health infrastructures during a spiralling economic crisis. The IFRC is working closely with the Lebanese Red Cross to ensure additional COVID-19 prevention measures are in place for the long run, as aid workers continue working around the clock to support the more than 300,000 people displaced by the disaster with medical treatment, shelter and psychological support.
Hossam Elsharkawi, Regional Director of the IFRC in Beirut, said:
“At a time when people have been shaken to their core, this extra layer of support from the international community cannot come soon enough. I see no sign of our Red Cross teams on the ground stopping as they work around the clock to help people suffering from a now triple-layered emergency of economic crisis, COVID-19 and massive explosion.”
The Lebanese Red Cross has deployed Emergency Medical Teams and its country-wide fleet of 125 ambulances to the site of the explosion, rescuing the injured and providing first aid at triage stations. Red Cross teams on the ground have been evacuating patients from collapsed hospitals and initiating emergency blood transfusions, while distributing food, water, hygiene kits, mattresses, masks, gloves and other essential relief items to survivors.
Funds raised through the IFRC Emergency Appeal will go toward Lebanese Red Cross ambulance service and will support the purchase and delivery of emergency medical supplies, medicine, livelihood support and the rehabilitation of damaged Lebanese Red Cross premises.
The explosion has killed more than 150 people and injured more than 5,000. Some 200 people are still believed to be missing.
The Lebanese Red Cross is already providing emergency shelter for 1,000 families and plans to continue sheltering as many as 10,000 families in the coming weeks and months.
Trained volunteers and staff are also providing psychosocial support to survivors and are helping to put separated family members and friends back in touch throughRestoring Family Linksservices.
Donations can be madeby wire transferor viathe iRaiser platform.
Beirut explosion: thousands of families shocked and homeless in devastated city
The Lebanese Red Cross is working around the clock to support hundreds of thousands of people affected by Tuesday’s disaster at the Port of Beirut, with medical treatment, shelter and psychological support.
The National Society deployed Emergency Medical Teams and more than 125 ambulances to the site of the explosion, rescuing injured people and transporting them to medical sites despite some hospitals having been damaged. First aid and triage stations have also been set up to help people with less severe injuries. Red Cross teams are also distributing food, water, hygiene kits, mattresses, masks, gloves and other essential relief items to survivors.
The explosion killed 150 people and has injured more than 5,000. Some 200 people are still believed to be missing.
Huge numbers of people lost their homes in the disaster, with the Lebanese authorities estimating that as many as 300,000 people have been displaced. The Lebanese Red Cross is providing emergency shelter for 1,000 families for the first 72 hours after the crisis and plans to provide shelter to as many as 10,000 families in the coming weeks and months.
Trained volunteers and staff are also providing psychosocial support to survivors and are running Restoring Family Links services to help put separated family members and friends back in touch.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released 750,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to support the Lebanese Red Cross in providing assistance to 15,000 of the most affected people for two months.
The Lebanese Red Cross is appealing for 19 million US dollars to cover the cost of providing emergency medical services for three months. Donations can be made by wire transfer or via the iRaiser platform.
Beirut disaster: Lebanese Red Cross responds to port explosion
Hundreds of Lebanese Red Cross emergency medical personnel and 75 ambulances are still at the scene of yesterday’s devastating explosion at the Port of Beirut, looking for survivors and rushing injured people to hospital for life-saving treatment.
More than 100 people are feared dead and thousands were injured in the disaster, and many people are still missing. The Lebanese Red Cross has set up triageand first aid stations to ensure that people with non-critical injuries can be treated and comforted while the worst-affected survivors are being taken to hospital.
The blast rippled through several areas of the capital, shattering windows and doors, and wounding many people. There are reports of significant damage to structures in the nearby downtown area – mostly broken windows due to the blast and collapsing balconies.
The Jordanian Seismological Observatory has estimated that the explosion was equivalent to a 4.5 magnitude earthquake, and the sound of the blast could be heard as far away as Cyprus, located 240km away in the Mediterranean Sea. The cause of the disaster remains unclear and investigations are still underway.
You can support the Lebanese Red Cross' disaster response work here.
Lebanon Protests: Red Cross volunteers continue supporting people in need
Since the nationwide mass protests started in Lebanon, the Lebanese Red Cross teams have been on the ground providing life-saving support to people affected. To date, more than 12,965 people have been assisted. To help the Red Cross to cope with the needs, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released over 380,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund.
The Red Cross has a country-wide network of around 12,000 volunteers, and a thousand of them have been mobilized daily all over Lebanon. The Red Cross teams have treated hundreds of people on the site of the protests, while more critical cases have been transported to hospitals.
Due to the unrest and road blockages, civilian cars have not been able to reach hospitals in many places. With 165 of its ambulances and other vehicles mobilized, the Red Cross has also provided medical transportation to hospitals to dialysis and cancer patients as well as others in need of urgent treatment.
“Since day one of the protests, we have been responding to around 3500 emergencies all over the country in addition to our regular, ongoing services. So far, we have supported around 8000 people affected by the situation. Our volunteers are well known and respected because of their neutrality, impartiality and commitment to serve humanity. We will remain on high alert and continue to support people in need”, says Georges Kettaneh, Lebanese Red Cross Secretary General.
The Lebanese Red Cross Blood Transfusion Centres have also scaled up their services. Over one thousand blood units have been provided and distributed to hospitals all over the country.
| Press release
Repatriation of child from al-Hol camp in Syria
Beirut/Geneva, 7 November 2019 – A young Albanian boy will be reunited with his family in Italy later today following a successful repatriation effort involving the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and different authorities.
The young boy had been living in al-Hol camp in northern Syria. He was taken to Syria by his mother in 2014. His mother was later killed during fighting.
Francesco Rocca, IFRC President, accompanied the child from Syria to Lebanon this morning. He said:
“I would like to thank all those involved in securing the safe return from al-Hol camp of this boy to his family in Italy. In particular, I want to thank the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and its President Khaled Hboubati, for the huge efforts that have been made to facilitate this repatriation, and for the tremendous dedication that it has shown and continues to show in its response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria.”
According to authorities, more than 100,000 people are living in camps in northern Syria, including 68,000 in al-Hol camp alone. This includes an estimated 28,000 children from more than 60 different countries. Rocca continued:
“This news is positive, but it is barely a drop of relief in an ocean of suffering. We call on the national governments of the foreigners in the camp and all concerned parties to take action in a manner that alleviates the suffering of a very vulnerable group of people. Ideally this approach would allow individuals to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
“We appreciate that this situation is complex. There are legitimate concerns that have been raised by governments. But those concerns must be balanced with the need to treat people humanely. Today’s news demonstrates that, with political will, a solution is possible,” said Rocca.
Khaled Hboubati, President of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, said:
“We recognize the importance of our duty to restore family links. We spare no efforts to meet this responsibility today and in the future, in parallel to the other humanitarian responsibilities we shoulder. Our goal is to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable people in Syria, working hand-in-hand with our partners.”
IFRC President Rocca urged the media to ensure that the boy and his family are given time and space to recover from their ordeal
“I appreciate that there is a lot of interest in this story. But now that he is safe, let’s leave this boy and his family alone to heal.”
Italian Red Cross will continue to support the family, including with psychosocial support.
IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.
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Lebanese Red Cross mobilizes 1,000 paramedics and 160 ambulances to support thousands of people
The Lebanese Red Cross is providing first aid and emergency medical transportation to hospitals for people who took to the streets across Lebanon.
“Our teams remain in full alert to respond the unfolding emergency. We have mobilized more than 1,000 paramedics and 160 ambulances all over Lebanon,” said Georges Kettaneh, Lebanese Red Cross Secretary General.
Since 16 October, the Red Cross has responded to 1,160 emergency cases. More than 617 people have been taken care of in Red Cross centres and 142 units of blood have been provided by transfusion services.
“As civilian cars were unable to cross the checkpoints, we provided transportation to 258 patients needing kidney dialysis, MRI and urgent hospital treatment of which 46 cancer patients were transported from Northern Lebanon to the Saint Jude Hospital in Beirut.”
The Red Cross called on demonstrators to facilitate its movement to be able to continue saving lives.
National Society Investment Alliance: First Funding Announcement
The National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) today announced the results of its first round of funding, with accelerator investments awarded to the Red Cross Societies of Lebanon and Ukraine, and bridge funding awards made to a further eight National Societies (Armenia, Colombia, Comoros, Malawi, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia). Together this represents a combined total of nearly 1.5 million CHF.
Announcing the results of the first funding round, Co-chairs of the NSIA Steering Committee, Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, Under-Secretary General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Balthasar Staehelin, Deputy Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said:
“We are delighted to announce this first round of NSIA funding, the culmination of a process that has involved collaboration and cooperation from across the Movement, and demonstrates the demand and potential for investment in National Society capacity.”
To respond to the varied needs of National Societies, NSIA can award up to one million Swiss francs of accelerator funding to any one National Society over a five-year period. In addition, bridge grants of up to 50,000 Swiss francs over 12 months can help National Societies prepare the ground for future investment from NSIA or elsewhere.
To date, NSIA has been supported by generous contributions from the governments of Switzerland, The United States, and Canada.
First Round of NSIA Funding
The first call for proposals received 48 applications from National Societies across all regions, with a range of contextual challenges and organizational development needs. In response, the NSIA Office conducted an independent and objective process of consultation and review, working with colleagues from the IFRC and the ICRC at the national and regional level, as well as the National Societies themselves.
The Steering Committee agreed that the first 10 National Societies that will receive bridge funding are: Armenia, Colombia, Comoros, Lebanon, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, Ukraine and Zambia. Lebanon and Ukraine will receive the accelerator funding in this first round.
The proposals from National Societies speak to a wide-range of needs, and are underlined by the desire to increase their sustainability, independence and ability to provide relevant services to vulnerable populations. Key themes across the applications include: efforts to increase financial sustainability, develop system and structures at the national and branch level, and improve governance and accountability.
Selected National Societies
The Lebanese Red Cross will use a substantial accelerator investment grant to strengthen its Project Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting (PMER), communications, and fundraising capacity with the aim of meeting more than 70% of its core services costs through local sources by 2023.
Similarly, the Ukrainian Red Cross Society will utilise an accelerator investment to develop its resource mobilization capacities, building on initial planning and analysis and helping the National Society respond to the ongoing crisis in the country.
The bridge grant will support the Armenian Red Cross Society to develop a resource mobilization plan, focusing on un-earmarked income generation that is urgently required to meet ARCS programmatic activity needs.
The Colombian Red Cross Society will receive bridge funding to help develop, test and implement new initiatives which will ensure regular income, strengthening the National Society in three crosscutting areas: communication and marketing, reporting and training.
There is a need for the Comoros Red Crescent to enhance staff core competencies with regard to governance and financial management. The bridge grant will therefore allow the development of an investment plan for the National Society to best use potential future investment.
NSIA bridge grant funding will enable the Malawi Red Cross Society to conduct a thorough and detailed assessment of potential national level income sources, subsequently developing an investment proposal to pursue the most promising.
It is expected that through the bridge grant implementation, the Namibia Red Cross will be able to resolve a number a of critical challenges by consolidating its financial statements and systems, increasing financial liquidity and developing a forward-looking strategy.
The Nigerian Red Cross Society will receive bridge funding to help explore the opportunities for developing commercial first aid services in the country, conducting a detailed analysis and developing a business plan for future investment.
The Uganda Red Cross Society will receive bridge funding to work with its operational network of 51 branches to consolidate and improve its first aid training, and explore the possibility to unlock this resource and generate national level income.
With several institutional changes needed within the Zambia Red Cross Society in order to achieve its development goals, a bridge grant will allow the ZRCS to undertake a midterm review of its existing strategic plan and developed and improved strategic and investment plan looking forward.
Empress Shôken Fund announces grants for 2019
About the Fund
The Empress Shôken Fundis named after Her Majesty The Empress of Japan, who proposed – at the 9th International Conference of the Red Cross – the creation of an international fund to promote relief work in peacetime. It is administered by the Joint Commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which maintains close contact with the Japanese Permanent Mission in Geneva, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Meiji Jingu Research Institute in Japan.
The Fund has a total value of over 15 million Swiss francsand supports projects run by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to benefit their communities in various ways. The first grant was awarded in 1921, to help five European National Societies fight the spread of tuberculosis. The Fund has assisted more than 150 National Societies thus far.
The imperial family, the Japanese government, the Japanese RedCrossand the Japanese people revere the memory of Her Majesty Empress Shôken, and their enduring regard for the Fund isevident inthe regularity of their contributions to it.
The grants are usually announced every year on11April, the anniversary of her death. This yearthe announcement isbeingpublished earlierdue to the weekend.
The selection process
The Fund received 47 applications in 2019, covering a diverse range of humanitarian projects run by National Societies in every region of the world. This year the Joint Commission agreed to allocate a total of 395,782 CHF to 14 projects in Bolivia, Cyprus, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Singapore, Slovenia, Suriname, Thailand, Ukraine and Vanuatu.
The projects to be supported in 2019 cover a number of themes, including displaced people, disaster preparedness in vulnerable communities, and social cohesion and inclusion. Moreover, nearly all of the selected projects seek to strengthen the volunteer base of National Societies, with a view to building on the unique role played by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in communities everywhere.
Going forward, the Joint Commission will continue to focus on innovative projects that are geared towards learning so that the broader Movement canbenefit from project findings.
The 2019 grants
The Bolivian Red Cross is currently working to address the issue of gender-based violence among young people. It will use the grant to set up a permanent programme for schools and youth organizations in order to conduct educational sessions, raise awareness, and provide support and assistance to victims of violence.
Cyprus has become an important destination for trans-Mediterranean migration. Using the grant, the Cyprus Red Cross Society will train refugees and asylum seekers in standard and psychological first aid to enable members of the migrant community to help each other and relieve some of the pressure on the health-care sector.
The Red Cross Society of Guinea-Bissau will use the grant to strengthen the resilience of coastal communities threatened by extreme weather. The funds will go towards drawing up an emergency action plan, building up stocks of relief items and training at-risk communities so that they can respond rapidly in times of need.
In Iraq, displaced people and those living in remote areas have limited access to water, sanitary facilities and health care, which increases the risk that diseases such as cholera will spread. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society will use the grant to set up a health-education programme to raise children’s awareness of communicable diseases and the importance of personal hygiene.
The conflict in Syria has significantly increased the number of refugees in Lebanon, which has put a strain on blood-related services in the country. The Lebanese Red Cross is a major provider of these services and will use the grant to enhance its ability to deliver them free of charge to all those in need.
Hundreds of schools in Mexico were damaged by a major earthquake in 2017. The grant will help the Mexican Red Cross to set up a programme to prepare school communities for disasters and other emergencies, promote healthy lifestyles and develop skills to facilitate peaceful co-existence.
Young people account for more than 70% of the volunteers of the Mozambique Red Cross. The National Society will therefore use the grant to strengthen its youth-oriented initiatives by running training camps and information campaigns, and setting up Red Cross activities in schools.
In 2004, the Sao Tome and Principe Red Cross opened a social home for the elderly, which plays an important role in reducing this community’s vulnerability. The grant will allow the National Society to renovate the building and improve the services on offer.
The Singapore Red Cross Society runs a large-scale programme to deploy volunteers overseas during disasters. It will use the grant to scale up the training programme for these volunteers, adding more specialized and in-depth training and team-building sessions to ensure the volunteers can work as effectively as possible.
The Slovenian Red Cross plans to take an innovative approach to social cohesion by tackling hate speech and its consequences, with a special emphasis on hate speech against migrants. The grant will go towards a training programme within schools, designed to encourage students to become young cultural ambassadors and further spread the message.
The Suriname Red Cross Society will use the grant to address disaster preparedness in vulnerable schools in Paramaribo. The National Society will help schools and communities to draw up disaster plans, deliver first-aid training to teachers, and set up and train school emergency brigades made up of teachers and students.
The Thai Red Cross Society has a proven track record in conducting water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities in emergencies, through its widespread network of registered nurses. It will use the grant to scale up this campaign, as well as to create a WASH manual, together with general and menstrual hygiene kits.
The armed conflict in Ukraine has led to a substantial rise in the number of volunteers working for the Ukrainian Red Cross Society. The grant will go towards a new, more sophisticated system for registering, managing and training the National Society’s growing volunteer base.
People with disabilities are at greater risk during disasters. The Vanuatu Red Cross Society will therefore use the grant to improve and promote disability and gender inclusion in National Society projects and programmes concerning volunteers, recruitment, capacity building, participation and access.