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27/05/2022 | Article

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! Lebanon 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. Pakistan 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. Malawi 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. Argentina 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.

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19/11/2021 | Emergency

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.

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04/08/2021 | 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

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03/09/2021 | 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

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12/02/2021 | 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.

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04/02/2021 | 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.

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03/12/2020 | Article

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? [caption id="attachment_70771" align="alignright" width="200"] The Lebanese Red Cross Secretary-General Georges Kettaneh[/caption] 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. [box] Key figures 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 [/box] [box] Appeal Update: 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. [/box] Media contacts: In Beirut: Rana Sidani Cassou, +961 71802779, [email protected]

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09/08/2020 | 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.

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07/08/2020 | Article

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.

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05/08/2020 | Article

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.

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13/11/2019 | Article

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.

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07/11/2019 | 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. About IFRC: 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. www.ifrc.org - Facebook - Twitter - YouTube

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22/10/2019 | Article

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.

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11/04/2019 | Article

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.

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09/01/2019 | Article

Lebanon: Storm Norma brings rain, snow… and two babies

By Rana Sidani Cassou More than 300 Lebanese Red Cross volunteers and staff have been working round the clock to protect people from the rain and snow of Storm Norma, performing nearly 600 rescue missions – and delivering two beautiful, healthy babies inside ambulances. The Red Cross rescue missions have taken place all over Lebanon and have included emergency response support following 49 road accidents with one CPR. Volunteers transported seven pregnant women to hospitals to deliver their babies, one of whom - a baby girl - was in such a hurry to see the world that volunteers had to deliver her inside the ambulance. A second baby, a boy, was born in another Red Cross ambulance on 9 January. The National Society has deployed more than 45 ambulances to take patients to hospital for treatment for heart attacks, dialysis, and other emergency cases, and has also also evacuated more than 700 Syrian refugees from five flooded camps, bringing them to safety and providing relief supplies. Lebanese Red Cross blood centres have also distributed around 100 units of blood to hospitals in need. With a further 200 trained volunteers on standby, the Lebanese Red Cross is ready to scale up the response should the storm intensify. People are advised to stay inside their houses and call 140 in case they need help.

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