Fleeing Syria and surviving the Türkiye earthquake: Houda’s secret ingredients for resilience
Starting your life over somewhere new is never an easy feat. It takes immense mental strength to rebuild years of hard work and community from scratch.
For Houda Al-Fadil, starting over wasn’t by choice. She was forced to flee a war-torn Syria, leaving her home behind so she could protect her family and offer them a chance of a better life—a life away from bombing, hunger, and fear.
Back in October 2020, we interviewed Houda for our Red Cross Red Crescent magazine and learned how she and her family had started their new life in Kahramanmaraş, Türkiye.
There, Houda had found her calling in the kitchen. Cooking had always been a passion for her, but it also became a way to make ends meet and support her husband and four children.
Catching up with Houda in April 2023, she told us how she signed up for cooking courses at Turkish Red Crescent community centres to pursue her food business.
“Thanks to these courses, I learned how to buy and sell. I learned about Turkish traditions and the Turkish community, and I felt included. They brought together people from Türkiye and Syria, and I was able to learn from both. They also organized a cooking festival where I was able to sell food that I had prepared at home.”
The courses inspired her to create new recipes that combined Syrian and Turkish ingredients. Selling her dishes from home, she quickly built up a loyal following of customers who loved her unique culinary concoctions.
Her business was going well and she began dreaming up her own little restaurant, a safe space in which people from Syria, Türkiye and other places could connect with one another over food.
But on the morning of February 6, 2023, it all came to a halt. A 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit southeast Türkiye and northern Syria, killing more than 50,000 people and destroying homes and livelihoods.
Fortunately, Houda and her family were physically unscathed, but it was a terrifying experience for them.
“The shaking and the sounds that went on for a minute and a half were extremely distressing. One of my kids couldn’t sleep nor eat for a whole week after that. I sent her to stay with our relatives for a while so she could recover, and she came back when she started to feel better,” Houda says.
As well as the physical damage caused by the earthquake, with cracks appearing on the walls of her home, the real damage was to Houda’s up-and-coming cooking business.
“I had almost 100 customers, everyone was buying the dishes I was preparing. But most of my customers fled Kahramanmaraş after the earthquake. Some people moved to Istanbul, Bursa and Mersin. Others sadly passed away. I only have two customers left now.”
The earthquake might have shaken Houda, but it had little effect on her perseverance and her will to keep moving forward. So, what’s the secret ingredient to her resilience?
“My family keeps me going. I want my daughter to continue her university studies during these difficult times, and I want to help her achieve her dreams. By pursuing my own dream, I can support my children and other people to pursue their own. This is what makes me happy; helping others and providing all the support they need to achieve their goals.”
Houda wants to rebuild her cooking business in Türkiye, with no plans to return to Syria.
“I wouldn’t go back to Syria. The situation there is dire; the poverty is unbelievable. Some people don’t have food. I heard stories of people who had to sell their clothes to be able to feed their children. There’s no water, no electricity, no internet. There’s just no proper life for us there.”
To help her on her cooking journey, Houda has also now taken up gardening with support from the Turkish Red Crescent. Unwavering support from their volunteers has been another key ingredient to her resilience.
She concluded: “I still aspire to do it. My culinary dream lives on. Everyone should hold on to their ambitions and not give up early on. Stay strong in front of the challenges that lie ahead!”
You can listen to our recent interview with Houda via Red Cross Red Crescent magazine's latest podcast.
To assist people affected by the 6 February earthquake, the IFRC launched two Emergency Appeals for Türkiye and Syria to support the response of our National Societies on the ground.
And since 2019, in partnership with the Turkish Red Crescent, the IFRC has been supporting more than 1.5 million refugees like Houda in Türkiye through our Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) Programme, funded by the European Union. Click here to find out more.
Türkiye and Syria earthquakes: MENA Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies come together in crisis
It was 4:17 AM on February 6, 2023 when two powerful earthquakes wreaked havoc across southeast Türkiye and northern Syria, killing more than 50,000 people and instantly destroying livelihoods.
Those fortunate enough to walk out of their buildings woke up to absolute devastation. The only thing more frightening than the sight of collapsed buildings was the deafening silence.
While the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Turkish Red Crescent were very quick to respond, it was clear from the immense scale of the disaster that additional support was urgently needed.
Thankfully, regional and global support from the IFRC network was swift, with Red Cross and Red Crescent societies from all over the world sending aid within 24 hours.
National Societies from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region were some of the first to arrive on the scene. Red Crescent and Red Cross emergency teams from Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE were all dispatched immediately to support search and rescue missions and provide urgent relief.
Let’s hear from some of them about how they responded, and hear their perspectives on the crisis:
The Iraqi Red Crescent Society was quick to act, with emergency teams and shipments of relief items by air and land. Their President, Dr. Yassin Ahmed Abbas, said:
“Two Iraqi airplanes carrying tons of relief items landed in Syria approximately 8 hours after the earthquake. We also dispatched a team of 150 volunteers - supported by ambulances and mobile clinics - to Türkiye to assist with search and rescue and first aid. We’ve managed to provide more than 300 tons of relief supplies so far - to both Syria and Türkiye - and there’s more coming.”
At the same time, the Algerian Red Crescent quickly mobilized its resources, deploying an emergency team and sending out two shipments totaling 185 tons of relief items that included food, water, clothes, blankets, mattresses, tents and generators.
Nabyl Daas, Emergency Response Team Coordinator for the Algerian Red Crescent, said:
“We formed a team of 26 volunteers that included two orthopedic surgeons and a team of Mental Health & Psychosocial Support specialists. We served in 4 different areas in Aleppo, but the conditions were extremely difficult as most buildings were in danger of collapse, which made our work extremely challenging.”
It was a similar story for the Kuwait Red Crescent Society volunteer team, who were unaware of the immense challenges ahead.
“We felt so many aftershocks during our search and rescue missions, which made our job more difficult than it already was. The most intense aftershock was a 6.4-magnitude, and it caused more deaths and destruction.” said Adnan Haidar, a Kuwait Red Crescent volunteer.
“There was nowhere to sleep as everything was destroyed, homes, hotels, everything. People were lining up in fuel stations to get fuel for their cars, which were turned into temporary homes. It was extremely cold, so people used the heaters in their cars for warmth. They would then turn off the cars to sleep because either they were too scared to go back into a building or because their homes were completely destroyed,” Adnan added.
As well as sending much-needed support crews, the Kuwait Red Crescent Society signed an international cooperation agreement for 5 million USD to provide urgent aid in affected areas in Syria, which included food, medical supplies, blankets, tents, electrical appliances and prefabricated homes.
However, there is a need for more support despite the ongoing efforts, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), which dispatched a team of 14 specialized in Disaster Risk Management, Mental Health & Psychosocial Support, and First Aid.
The PRCS assessed the situation in Syria and were able to identify several gaps, including a shortage in particular relief items.
Rana Faqih, Disaster Risk Management Coordinator for the Palestine Red Crescent, said:
“We were able to assist thousands of people through our different services; however, there is a desperate need for more support.”
“There’s plenty of aid coming in, but it’s not enough. There are plenty of food parcels and hot meals, and they’re enough for everyone, but we noticed an insufficiency in other relief items such as baby formula, children’s clothes, hygiene kits and dignity kits. We need to do more.”
There is, nevertheless, light at the end of the tunnel, as Abdallah Zgheib - who was part of the Lebanese Red Cross search and rescue team - says:
“I cannot describe the feeling we had when we rescued a pregnant woman and her child from under the rubble. I never imagined I would feel so joyous and thankful amid such devastation. Everyone who witnessed this moment erupted in celebration. We celebrated hope.”
“The power of humanity is what gave us hope and kept us going, non-stop; it kept us going in sub-freezing temperatures and it kept us full despite barely eating anything for 4 days straight.”
One month into this heartbreaking crisis, MENA Red Cross and Red Crescent teams continue to support one another in the face of challenging and evolving circumstances.
While much uncertainty remains for those affected by the earthquakes, our volunteers are a constant and will be there for people as long as they’re needed.
This crisis has shown, more than ever, that there is strength in numbers. Strength in working together. And strength in our IFRC network.
| Press release
Türkiye and Syria one month on: A mental health ticking time bomb
Geneva/Ankara/Damascus, 03 March 2023 – Nearly one month since two devastating earthquakes struck Türkiye and Syria, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warns of the urgent need of a sustainable short- and long-term response to the health and mental health and psychosocial needs to prevent a “second disaster”.
Since day one, the Turkish Red Crescent and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent with the IFRC support, have been meeting the immediate humanitarian needs in the hardest hit areas, including the distribution of food, clean water, hygiene items, winter clothing, blankets and the provision of first aid, health care and sanitation services. But one month into the response, scaling up mental health services is crucial.
The demand for mental health and psychosocial support and health care is immense, and in some areas where access is difficult, it can put the most affected at even higher risk of developing medium- and long-term mental health challenges that can hinder recovery and resilience.
The earthquakes have rocked survivors to their very core. Entire communities are suffering after losing everything from their loved ones to homes, jobs and many sentimental belongings they own. Moreover, many caregivers and first responders are struggling to cope with what they’ve seen in addition to the exhausting workload and secondary trauma.
In Türkiye, Red Crescent teams have set up safe spaces offering mental health and psychosocial support for children to play, supporting over 42,000 people, including first responders and health workers. They also provide psychological first aid and offer referrals to local health facilities.
“Responding from the local level, with both mobile and fixed units, is what allows the Turkish Red Crescent and IFRC to respond immediately to the physical and mental health needs of those most affected. A localised and early health and mental health response is and will continue to be essential to prevent negative long-term and even permanent effects on people's lives”, said Lauren Clarke, IFRC health coordinator for the humanitarian response in Türkiye.
In Syria, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams have supported over 30,000 people with psychological first aid, especially children and continue to provide healthcare and medicines through mobile health units, and physical rehabilitation programs and clinics. The earthquake comes after nearly 12 years of conflict that has already displaced millions and traumatised many communities.
“Many of the damages caused by the earthquake are not visible. People have suffered more than a decade of conflict which has already affected their mental health and wellbeing. This earthquake adds another layer to that. We also have seen that psychological wounds won’t always appear right away. That is why we need to provide continuous support, not only right now but for years to come. Hopefully, there will not be another disaster that would complicate the situation even further”, said Gwendolen Eamer, IFRC Health Coordinator in Syria.
The IFRC Emergency Appeals for 650 million Swiss francs will support the Turkish Red Crescent and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to continue scaling up their humanitarian response and recovery efforts over the next two years in what is one of the most challenging earthquake responses recently faced by the global Red Cross Red Crescent network.
For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
[email protected] or +41 79 708 4367
Note to editors
In Syria, Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams have also distributed more than 1.2 million relief items, such as winter clothes, food, clean water, hygiene articles, and they have provided sanitation services, as these are key to prevent outbreaks such as diarrhea, respiratory and skin infections, COVID-19 and other viral diseases.
In parallel, the Palestine Red Crescent in Syria together with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent continue to deliver aid, including food distribution, ambulances and medical services, focusing mainly on the Palestinian camps in Aleppo and Latakia.
In close coordination with the health authorities, the Turkish Red Crescent is also providing health care through seven mobile clinics in hard-hit rural areas and temporary shelters. Where markets are functioning, they have distributed more than 140,000 cash vouchers, helping to empower survivors by restoring their agency, and giving them the freedom and control to meet their needs in the way they prefer. Turkish Red Crescent volunteers have also distributed over 94 million hot meals.
| Press release
Syria and Türkiye: IFRC increases emergency funding ask to CHF 650 million, as humanitarian needs rise
Geneva/Ankara/Damascus (16 February 2023)–As the scale of the earthquake’sdevastation inSyriaandTürkiyebecomes clearer, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is increasing its Emergency Appeals from CHF 200 million to CHF 650 million to respond to rising humanitarian needs in both countries.
“The fullimpactof this earthquake is still unfolding. The situation on the ground is rapidly changing, and needs are growing by the minute. For survivors, these are some of the hardest moments of their lives and the road to recoverywill belong. The most urgent needs are shelter, health care and sanitation, food, and water. People are also facing major distress – early access to mental health and psychosocial support is critical,” said IFRC’s Secretary General Jagan Chapagain,who is currently visiting communities in Syria and Türkiye.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Turkish Red Crescent have been working around the clock to support affected communities even though many staff and volunteers have also lost homes and loved ones.
Millions of people in Syria and Türkiye are affected, and many are seeking shelter at relatives’ homes, inneighbouringcities or in emergency shelters. Others are sleeping in their cars, in tents or outdoors, exposed to freezing temperatures. Temporary shelters are critical so that evacuated families have a warm place to stay while they figure out next steps.
Long-term global support and solidarity to deliver humanitarian assistance will be needed in the monthsand yearsof recovery ahead.
IFRC’s Emergency Appealssupport impacted people throughthe Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the Turkish Red Crescentvia rapid response teams, funding, material assistance and more. Updates to the IFRC’s increased financial asks tell the story of a continually unfolding disaster with compounding needs—from shelter and health to livelihoods and food security.
InTürkiye, Turkish Red Crescent has deployed more than 5,000 staff and volunteers in ten affected provinces with stocks of food and basic aid items to support those injured and evacuated. Teams have distributed more than 31 million hot mealstopeople outdoors and at emergency shelters. To meet the increased demand for blood, Turkish Red Crescent has sent its national blood stock to the affected regions and is calling on people across Türkiye to donate blood.
InSyria, Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams have been responding with 4,000 volunteers and staff inthehardest hit areas – including Hama, Aleppo, Lattakia and Tartous – reaching more than 365,000 people with life-saving support. Medical units have been performing first aid, emergency evacuations and transport to hospitals. Volunteers on the ground have distributed more than 220,000 packages with items such as food, water, basic relief supplies and hygiene kits, and have been helping people connect with loved ones separated by the crisis.
Both Red Crescent teams are providing mental health and psychosocial support to those in need to help alleviate distress and refer them to long-term mental health care if necessary.
In Palestinian Refugee camps in Syria, Palestine Red Crescent teams are working together with Syrian Arab Red Crescent to provide lifesaving support, including first aid and food distribution. Response teams were focused on Palestinian camps in Aleppo and Latakia, managing ambulances, medical clinics, doctors, and volunteers.
The earthquake has prompted a huge wave of solidarity from the IFRC network: dozens of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from aroundthe world have offered technical support. Many of them have already supported the Turkish Red Crescent and Syrian Arab Red Crescent with emergency relief items. Almost 60 National Societies have started domestic fundraising campaigns.
For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
[email protected] +41 79 708 4367
Note to editors:
Gaziantep press briefing: IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, will be holding anin-person press briefing from Gaziantepon Friday, 17 February at 17:30 local time. [email protected] details.
A/V materials available to media on theIFRC Newsroom.
| Press release
IFRC calls for long term support and solidarity for the people of Türkiye and Syria
Geneva/Ankara/Damascus (11 February 2023) - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling on the international community for long-term support and solidarity to the people in Türkiye and Syria hit by two devastating earthquakes on 6 February.
“The level of pain and suffering is immense and the need for support is equally enormous. This humanitarian response is not a sprint. It is a marathon. We call on the international community to support the people of Syria and Türkiye not just in the coming days, but also in the months and years needed for recovery”, said Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General.
Turkish Red Crescent and Syrian Arab Red Crescent are at the very heart of this response. Both National Societies are rooted in the communities they serve, providing unique access to hardest-hit areas. Often volunteers and staff come from those same communities and may have lost loved ones and homes themselves. They continue to work around the clock to provide life-saving care to survivors.
As the life-saving search and rescue window sadly closes, the most urgent needs are shelter, health and mental health care, food, and water.
The IFRC continues to scale up international support, bringing in urgently needed relief supplies and resources across borders to support localized efforts.
“The aftermath of the earthquake is that of utter devastation. Buildings, schools, homes, and hospitals are destroyed. The most heart-breaking reality is the many thousands still missing and stuck under the rubble. The chances of finding survivors are shrinking. Time is running out fast. Response efforts are extremely challenging. Many roads and other infrastructure have been damaged, limiting access to affected areas. Freezing winter conditions and aftershocks are also hampering those efforts and putting rescuers in considerable danger”, the IFRC Secretary General concluded.
The IFRC has scaled up its two International Emergency Appeals to 200 million Swiss francs to support people in Syria (80 million Swiss francs) and Türkiye (120 million Swiss francs).
Red Cross Red Crescent Action
In Türkiye, the Turkish Red Crescent has deployed more than 4,000 staff and volunteers in affected provinces with stocks of food and basic aid items to support those injured and evacuated. Their teams have distributed 3.5 million hot meals among people outdoors and at emergency shelters and reached 284,000 people with ready-to-eat packages. To meet the increased demand for blood, Turkish Red Crescent has sent its national blood stock to the affected regions and is calling on people across Türkiye to donate blood.
In Syria, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams have been responding with 4,000 volunteers and staff in hardest hit areas – including Hama, Aleppo, Lattakia and Tartous –reaching almost 60,000 people with life-saving support. Medical units have been performing first aid, emergency evacuations and transport to hospitals. Volunteers on the ground have distributed more than 42,000 packages of food, water, basic items and hygiene kits to people, and have been providing restoring family links services.
Red Crescent National Societies in both Türkiye and Syria are providing mental health and psychosocial support to those in need to alleviate distress and refer them for long-term mental health care if necessary.
In the Palestinian Refugee camps in Syria, Palestine Red Crescent teams are working together with Syrian Arab Red Crescent to provide life-saving support, including first aid and food distribution. Their response teams are mainly focused on the Palestinian camps in Aleppo and Latakia, providing ambulances, medical clinics, doctors, and volunteers.
For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 4367, [email protected]
In Beirut (covering Syria): Mey Elsayegh, +961 3 229 352, [email protected]
In Gaziantep:(coveringTürkiye) Corrie Butler, +36 70 430 6506, [email protected]
In Ankara: Elif Isik, +90 539 857 51 97, [email protected]
In Washington: Marie Claudet, +1 202 999 8689, [email protected]
Photos and video of this response are available to download and use here.
Türkiye and Syria earthquakes: IFRC response to date
Two devastating earthquakes (magnitude of 7.7 and 7.6) struck southeast Türkiye in the early hours of Monday 6 February 2023, followed by several aftershocks. The earthquakes killed tens of thousands of people and injured many more in the region, as well as in bordering Syria.
This was the largest earthquake Türkiye and Syria have faced in more than a century.
Both the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Turkish Red Crescent responded immediately, with thousands of volunteers and staff working around the clock to provide life-saving care.
Months later, millions of people continue to be affected and displaced and in need of shelter, health and mental health services, sanitation, food, and water.
Our emergency appeals
The IFRC launched two Emergency Appeals to support the response of our National Societies on the ground, with a combined value of 650 million Swiss francs (CHF). Follow these links to learn more about each appeal and priorities for the response:
In Syria:200 million Swiss francs to support the Syrian Arab Red Crescent
In Türkiye: 450million Swiss francs to support the Turkish Red Crescent
Please use the following links to donate to our response in each country:
Donate to Syria response
Donate to Türkiye response
We are grateful for your valuable support which will enable us to help the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Turkish Red Crescent to deliver lifesaving support.
Click here for general information about donating to the IFRC.
If you are a journalist and would like more information or to request an interview about this emergency, please [email protected]
What are our National Societies doing?
Both the Turkish Red Crescent and Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been at the very heart of this earthquake response.
InTürkiye, Turkish Red Crescent deployed more than 5,000 staff and volunteers in ten affected provinces with stocks of food and basic aid items to support those injured and evacuated. Teams have distributed more than 300 million hot mealstopeople outdoors and at emergency shelters.
InSyria, Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams responded with 4,000 volunteers and staff inthehardest hit areas – including Hama, Aleppo, Lattakia and Tartous. Through their clinics and mobile health units, they have provided healthcare and medicines for more than 1.1 million people. And they have distributed more than 3.2 million humanitarian relief items,including shelter, blankets, mattresses, winter clothes, hygiene supplies, and food and agriculture supplies.
Red Crescent National Societies in both Türkiye and Syria are providing mental health and psychosocial support to those in need to alleviate distress and refer them to long-term mental health care services where necessary.
The earthquake prompted a huge wave of solidarity from the IFRC network: dozens of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from aroundthe world have offered technical support. Many of them have supported the Turkish Red Crescent and Syrian Arab Red Crescent with emergency relief items. Almost 60 National Societies have started domestic fundraising campaigns.
Follow these Twitter accounts for the latest updates:
@SYRedCrescent- Syrian Arab Red Crescent
@RedCrescent- Turkish Red Crescent
@BirgitteEbbesen - IFRC Europe Regional Director, Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen
@elsharkawi - IFRC MENA Regional Director, Hossam Elsharkawi
Press release from 3 March: "Türkiye and Syria one month on: A mental health ticking time bomb"
Press release from 16 February: "Syria and Türkiye: IFRC increases emergency funding ask to CHF 650 million, as humanitarian needs rise"
Press release from 11 February: "IFRC calls for long term support and solidarity for the people of Türkiye and Syria"
Our first press release from Monday 6 February with an initial update and announcing our two appeals.
Rights-free photos and videos from our response so far which you can download and use.
General information about earthquakes and earthquake preparedness.
A devastating 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck southeastTürkiye, close to the border with Syria, in the early hours of 6 February. It was followed by several aftershocks, killing thousands and injuring many more in the region. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) is assisting affected people by distributingfood, household items, shelter support and cash assistance. Volunteers are also providing health services, access to clean water and sanitation facilities, and hygiene products. Through this appeal, the IFRC is supporting SARC to meet people's immediate and early recovery needs in an already complex humanitarian setting.
A devastating 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck southeastTürkiye in the early hours of 6 February, followed by several aftershocks, killing thousands and injuring many more in the region, as well as in bordering Syria. The Turkish Red Crescent (TRC) is distributing tents, blankets, sleeping bags, bed chairs and mattressesto meet the urgent shelter needs of the people whose houses were destroyed. Through this appeal, the IFRC is supporting TRC to meet the immediate and early recovery needs of 300,000 affected people. Support includes shelter, food and water, mental and physical health services, cash assistance and protection for vulnerable groups.
| Press release
IFRC launches international Emergency Appeals for CHF 200 million to respond to deadly earthquake in Türkiye and Syria
Geneva/Ankara/Damascus (6 February 2023) -The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is launching Emergency Appeals for CHF 200 million to respond to a deadly 7.7 magnitude earthquake in Türkiye and Syria.
The Turkish Red Crescent and Syrian Arab Red Crescent have immediately mobilized to support communities affected: needs are growing minute by minute. Rescue teams have been reaching hardest-hit areas where survivors remain trapped under rubble.
In Türkiye, teams from the Turkish Red Crescent deployed in ten affected provinces in the south and southeast regions with stocks of food and basic aid items such as tents and blankets to support those injured and evacuated. Their teams are also providing psychological support, distributing hot meals and sending its national stock of blood and plasma to the affected regions.
In Syria, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has been responding on the ground since early morning, supporting search and rescue operations, providing first aid, performing emergency medical evacuations and transporting injured people to the hospitals. A big number of buildings collapsed amidst vulnerable living situations and very harsh weather conditions.
“This earthquake caused unfathomable damage. Our worst fear is coming true. In this response, every minute counts,” said Xavier Castellanos, IFRC Under Secretary General for National Society Development and Operations Coordination.
“The vulnerabilities are coupled on top of harsh winter conditions, making it unbearable for many. The vulnerable living conditions, particularly in Syria, are even further stretched in a decade-long war. People who lost their homes and loved ones need our support. We must join forces and do our best to help.”
Increased global support and solidarity to deliver humanitarian assistance is essential in the weeks and months of recovery ahead. IFRC will launch two International Appeals, CHF 80 million to support people in Syria with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and CHF 120 million in Türkiye with the Turkish Red Crescent.
Updated on Feb. 7:
Based on continued monitoring of the situation, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has increased the amount of the Emergency Appeal. We are now seeking 200 Million to respond to the deadly earthquake in Türkiye and Syria.
For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa, +41.79.708.4367, [email protected]
In Beirut (covering Syria): Mey Elsayegh, +961 3 229 352, [email protected]
In Budapest: Corrie Butler, +36 704306506, [email protected]
In Ankara: Elif Isik, +90 5398575197, [email protected]
Photos of this emergency are available to download and use here.
| Press release
Tonga: One year since earthquake and tsunami, homes being rebuilt
Nukualofa/Suva, 13 January 2023 – One year since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that cut off Tonga from the rest of the world, homes are being rebuilt for over 200 displaced families.
The complex process of rebuilding shattered communities, devastated from the triple disasters of the Volcano, its resultant Tsunami and then a first wave of the COVID Pandemic, has also included cleaning water supplies polluted with ash, re-establishing lost livelihoods and providing cash assistance for people with disabilities and those displaced from their damaged homes.
Tonga Red Cross Society has been working with a variety of partners – including the Tongan government to support displaced households, some of whom – one year later are still seeking shelter with families, friends and in church halls.
Secretary-General of Tonga Red Cross Society, Sione Taumoefolau, said:
"The disaster continues to make its presence felt in the lives of all of us in Tonga, but especially those on the outer islands, where communities were flattened, and fragile livelihoods destroyed.
"We must continue to strengthen our efforts to help the most vulnerable among us, many of whom are still without homes.
"Working alongside our Red Cross partners, we are determined to stand with the most affected communities as they undertake the long process of rebuilding their lives."
Tonga Red Cross has been distributing cash voucher assistance to most affected households both in Tongatapu, and outer island groups of Ha’apai and ‘Eua. Teams have also been working with a variety of stakeholder groups to assist people with disabilities, including families and students of ‘Ofa Tui moe Amanaki disability school.
In an innovative pilot project of Tonga Red Cross working alongside the government and the Nomuka community, a cash for work project saw equipment and financial support provided to assist community members in cleaning debris from their fresh-water lake. With access to clean and safe drinking water a priority, Red Cross has also undertaken a number of water projects, including the installation of water filters in affected communities.
Tonga Red Cross has also been providing much needed psychological first aid training and as a result - it is only just now, one year on, that people are beginning to talk more freely about the events of that day and revealing some of the trauma they felt and how they are coping.
Head of the IFRC Pacific Office, Katie Greenwood, said:
“A disaster of this scale requires a coordinated effort between local, national and international actors. Our Red Cross partners have been an important part of this, coordinating closely with response and recovery efforts at the community level.
“Given the magnitude of this disaster, it will continue to take some time to rebuild and get things back to normal. IFRC will be right there with Tonga Red Cross every step of the way.”
For more information or to arrange a media interview, contact:
In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected]
| Press release
Earthquake hits West Java, Indonesia as authorities rush to rescue survivors
Jakarta / Kuala Lumpur, 22 November 2022: Thousands of families in the west of the island Java were left reeling as a 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit the area on the afternoon on Monday, 21 November. Thousands of houses, schools, infrastructure, roads and more have been severely damaged as some are seen in a state of rubble.
The National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure in Indonesia officially reports more than 103 casualties and more than 320 people injured. The numbers are still emerging as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah) are working with authorities to urgently assess ground situation and gather more information.
The Secretary General of Indonesian Red Cross, Sudirman Said, said:
“We are devastated to hear about the lives that have been lost by the earthquake. Indonesian Red Cross relief and emergency teams have been deployed to help with evacuations, providing first aid, distribute clean water, establish emergency kitchens and emergency relief, focusing on most affected areas. We also mobilised 5 units of ambulance, medical personnel and volunteers to help with urgent evacuation and ground assessment.
“We are doing all we can to ensure no more lives are lost. We are ensuring that our volunteers and personnel do all they can to help people seek safety and comfort at our emergency shelters where critical relief can be found. We would also urge people to stay calm and to contact authorities for help.”
The earthquake hit the district of Cianjur where the livelihoods of the people thrive around small and medium enterprises revolving around local wear and products. While the earthquake did not trigger tsunami warnings, the people of West Java are no stranger to earthquakes and are doing all they can to stay vigilant for aftershocks and dangerous falling debris.
Over 13,700 people have been reported displaced while thousands more have lost their homes and are scattered in various emergency shelters.
IFRC Head of Delegation, Indonesia, Elkhan Rahimov, said:
“We are alongside Indonesian Red Cross to closely assess ground situation and determine the immediate needs of the affected community. Volunteers at the frontline are also prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of themselves as they work around the clock to help people get to safety.
“Our first main priority is to serve the affected community by meeting their immediate needs like access to drinking water, shelter and administering first aid. We are focusing our efforts on these while we plan our next phase of longer-term assistance.”
Red Cross personnel continue to respond as landslides, electricity and telecommunications cut off are reported.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
In Kuala Lumpur:
Rachel Punitha, +60 19 791 3830,
Annisa Marezqa, +62 812-8103-9155,
Awan Diga Aristo, +62 813-2063-5505,
| Press release
Afghanistan: Unending crises driving millions to breaking point
Kuala Lumpur/Kabul/Geneva 15 August – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is renewing its call for increased global solidarity with the people of Afghanistan who continue to face immense humanitarian need.
Simultaneous crises in the country have caused some of the worst suffering in recent generations.
A cocktail of disasters and crises has battered the country for more than a year now, with new shocks worsening conditions that were already dire. In late June, an earthquake struck south-East Afghanistan killing more than 1,000 people and destroying or damaging homes of 60,000 households leaving them exposed to the elements. Starting July into August, off-season rains brought floods that washed away livelihoods and aggravated humanitarian needs across more than 20 provinces.
Mawlawi Mutiul Haq Khales, Afghan Red Crescent Acting President, said:
"The past 12 months have been extremely difficult for our people as economic hardship, exacerbated by sanctions-related limitations to access income, piles pressure on millions who were already battling acute food insecurity, poverty, and many other shocks.
"We, in Afghan Red Crescent, have scaled up our response operation in every province and our extensive network of volunteers continues to deliver assistance which is really a lifeline particularly to those excluded even from the most basic support, especially widows and their children.
"Contributions from our local and international partners have been critical, and we are truly grateful. We are asking for continued support because millions of our people will rely on long term humanitarian interventions to meet their very basic needs."
With the support of the IFRC and other partners, the Afghan Red Crescent response operation has so far reached more than 150,000 households with food assistance and at least 15,000 households with cash distributions. Its more than 140 health facilities, among them mobile health teams, also continue to provide primary health services including routine immunizations across Afghanistan.
Humanitarian assistance needs to be sustained.
Necephor Mghendi, IFRC's Head of Delegation for Afghanistan, said:
"The people of Afghanistan cannot be forgotten. This is now one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with over 20 million people remaining in need of urgent assistance."
"As the world's largest humanitarian network, we are responding in many ways to help aid vulnerable communities. IFRC continues to support the Afghan Red Crescent in its humanitarian efforts, but the succession of crises and disasters is driving millions to breaking point, resulting in a massive humanitarian need that is putting immense strain on the availability of resources.
"Winter is coming, and we are worried that lives could be lost if we do not act early enough to alleviate conditions for people whose coping capacities are weakened by multiple shocks."
The IFRC and Afghan Red Crescent are ramping up preparedness for a potentially harsh winter, which will be upon the country in a few months. The greatest concern is high-altitude areas where temperatures are very likely to drop below minus-10 degrees. Procurement of winter clothing, winter boots, thermal blankets, heating stoves and other essentials is underway in readiness.
To support the Afghan Red Crescent, the IFRC has appealed to the international community for 90 million Swiss francs to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to more than 1 million people affected by multiple crises. Winter preparedness forms a critical part of the plan.
To arrange an interview, get access to audio-visuals, or for more information, contact:
Asia Pacific Office: Rachel Punitha, +60-197-913-830, [email protected]
Asia Pacific Office: Joe Cropp, +61 491 743 089, [email protected]
| Press release
Deadly earthquake hits crises-riddled Afghanistan
The Afghan Red Crescent, together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has mobilised to support communities affected by a deadly 5.9 magnitude earthquake which struck the south-East region of Afghanistan early morning Wednesday 22 June.
Based on initial reports, at least 1000 people have been killed, with the number of casualties expected to increase as rescuers reach hardest-hit villages where people remain trapped in rubble. Remote districts in the provinces of Khost and Paktika have been most affected.
Afghan Red Crescent staff and volunteers from affected communities were among the first responders working alongside local authorities and other humanitarian organisations. Additional teams have been deployed from Kabul and neighbouring provinces to boost the speed of assistance.
Furthermore, food supplies, non-food items and medicines that were in stock have been redirected to areas hardest hit by the quake to address immediate needs.
Dr Mohammad Nabi Burhan, Secretary General of Afghan Red Crescent, said:
“This latest earthquake is another horrific tragedy for Afghanistan, as if there were not enough. It struck in a grim backdrop where more than 50 per cent of our people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance due a combination of catastrophic crises.”
“It is heartbreaking to see such human suffering among people who were already struggling to recover from effects of decades of conflict, severe drought, flooding, and extreme economic hardship among other shocks.”
Afghan Red Crescent trucks with relief items and medicines as well as ambulances have been dispatched to the affected areas. These will complement mobile health teams that were already operational in Paktika, of which some have been redirected to address immediate needs resulting from the earthquake.
Necephor Mghendi, IFRC’s Head of Delegation for Afghanistan, said:
“Local responders and institutions have played a critical role in saving lives of thousands who would otherwise still be trapped in rubble. Strengthening local preparedness capacity is the surest and quickest way to an effective response."
“We only recently revised our Emergency Appeal to increase emergency relief, health services and recovery assistance in almost all province of Afghanistan which are battling a cocktail of catastrophic humanitarian crises. Following the deadly earthquake, we will have to scale up further our operations in Khost and Paktika.”
The IFRC has released 750,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) in support of a timely response by the Afghan Red Crescent. Increased global support and solidarity to deliver humanitarian assistance is needed.
As part of its ongoing support, the IFRC is urgently appealing to the international community for 90 million Swiss francs to support the Afghan Red Crescent to deliver emergency relief, health services and recovery assistance to more than 1 million people in the provinces hit by multiple crises. This includes an extra 10 million Swiss francs to address the needs wrought by the quake.
For more information or to arrange interviews:
In Geneva: Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, Director A.I, Communications Department, Mob: +41 (0)79 213 24 13, Email: [email protected]
In Asia/Pacific: Rachel Punitha, Manager A.I., Communications, Mob: +60 19 791 3830,
Email: [email protected]
An earthquake is a sudden andrapid shaking of the ground caused by the shifting of rocks beneath the earth’s surface, or by volcanic or magmatic activity in the earth. Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning, and can occur at any time. Theycan lead to death, injuries, property damage, loss of shelter and livelihoodsand disruption of critical infrastructure.Most deaths are due to buildingscollapsing or to secondary hazards, such as fires, tsunamis, flooding, landslides and release of chemicals or toxic materials.
Haiti: Earthquake and Cholera
A major 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on 14 August 2021, killing more than 2,000 people and causing widespread destruction to people's homes and infrastructure. The Haiti Red Cross Society responded rapidly to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to those affected. More than one year on, this Emergency Appeal is supporting ongoing recovery and reconstruction efforts. And in December 2022, we revised the Appeal to also help the Haiti Red Cross Society control a Cholera outbreak in the country through water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and community engagement activities.
| Press release
Haiti earthquake: thousands in dire need of health care and safe water
Port au Prince, Panama, Geneva, 7 September 2021— The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warns that access to health care and safe water is critical following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on 14 August.
More than 212,000 people are affected by damaged water systems, which limits their access to safe water for drinking and hygiene, putting them at risk of water-borne diseases.
Felipe del Cid, IFRC’s Head of Operation in Haiti, said:
“The damage assessments carried out by the Haitian Red Cross and the IFRC show that there are severe health, water, sanitation, and hygiene needs. Providing health care, guaranteeing access to safe water, and promoting hygiene is vital at this stage of the humanitarian response. It can prevent disease outbreaks and save lives.”
To respond to health care and hygiene needs, the Haitian Red Cross and the IFRC have been distributing water and hygiene kits to 2,115 families in the Nippes and Sud departments. They also received other relief goods, such as tarpaulins, blankets and kitchen supplies. In total, the IFRC and its network have already delivered 199 tonnes of relief goods to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. From there, it is transported to the affected areas by road, air or sea.
“More distributions are planned during the coming weeks, despite the challenging context. Delivering humanitarian aid is a complex task due to factors such as damaged roads, food insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic, and sociopolitical instability,” added del Cid.
Preventing the spread of waterborne diseases through access to safe water and hygiene promotion is at the core of the earthquake response. The Red Cross has already installed two water plants in the remote area of L’Asile. These plants will produce 60,000 liters of safe, clean water a day for 4,000 people. More plants will be set up in the following weeks, starting with one in Grand’Anse.
There is also an increased risk of vector-borne diseases, and respiratory transmission diseases such as COVID-19. This is the result of a combination of displacement, poor shelter options and lack of adequate access to safe water. The Red Cross continues to promote public health measures, including protection measures against COVID-19, to mitigate the risk of outbreaks.
Dr. Guiteau Jean-Pierre, President of the Haitian Red Cross, said:
“Haiti is facing overlapping crises: the pandemic, the earthquake, and the pre-existent humanitarian needs. In coordination with the authorities, communities, partners, and stakeholders, the Red Cross will continue to work tirelessly to help and prepare the most vulnerable communities. Another potential emergency could be life-threatening for them.”
The situation in the affected communities may deteriorate even further, as Haiti will likely face more weather-related disasters in the following weeks and months. The Caribbean is in the middle of its hurricane season, which runs from 1 June to 30 November and peaks between August and October. In anticipation of these disasters, the humanitarian teams on the ground are supporting the Haitian Red Cross’ preparedness plans.
In support of those who are still in dire need, the IFRC has released funding from its emergency fund (DREF) and launched an emergency appeal for 10 million Swiss francs to continue providing life-saving humanitarian aid and support the recovery from the earthquake.
For more information, to arrange interviews with Red Cross staff on the ground, or request B-roll/pictures, please contact:
In Haiti: Naomi Nolte | +31646808096 (WhatsApp) | +509 3616 5890 | [email protected]
In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes | +507 6999-3199 | [email protected]
In Geneva: Teresa Goncalves | +44 7891 857 056 | [email protected]
| Press release
Haiti earthquake: Red Cross teams race against time to find survivors before tropical storm hits
Port au Prince, Panama, Geneva, 16 August 2021--With Tropical Storm Grace due to bring heavy rainfall over Haiti on Tuesday, Red Cross teams are racing against time to rescue people buried in the rubble after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on 14 August.
The number of casualties is climbing while the number of people missing remains unclear. Early damage assessments by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) indicate more than 800,000 people are directly affected by the earthquake’s impact.
IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain said: “This is a major disaster that will get worse as Tropical Storm Grace heads to Haiti. Hundreds of our local volunteers, themselves affected by this disaster, have been working around the clock in the hope to find survivors, provide first aid, health care and emergency shelter.”
Hospitals, clinics, roads and bridges have been destroyed and thousands of people have lost their homes. We know that this response will be challenging which is why we are mobilizing our global network to support the Haitian Red Cross as fast as possible.”
The worst-hit areas are extremely hard to access, as roads and bridges have been destroyed, and this makes it extremely difficult to assess the scale of devastation.
To support the Haitian Red Cross and scale up its operation, the IFRC has released funding from its emergency fund (DREF) and launched an emergency appeal for 10 million Swiss francs to deliver assistance to people in need of immediate assistance, including those who have been displaced.
IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said: “Our global network of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is fully mobilized to support Haiti and its people, who face multiple crises including political instability, gang violence, food insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The appeal will allow the IFRC network to provide critical, life-saving support such as emergency shelter and basic household items, emergency health and care, including psychosocial support, livelihoods support, access to water, sanitation and hygiene and restoring family links.
For more information, to arrange interviews with Red Cross staff on the ground or request pictures, please contact:
In Panama: Maria Langman | +507 6550 1090| [email protected]
In Geneva: Ann Vaessen | +4179 405 77 50 | [email protected]
Ten years since the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
A message of appreciation to our partners and supporters for their global spirit of togetherness
March 11 is a special day for Japan. It is a day to reflect on the path we have taken, a day to think about where we are going, and a day to thank the world for its solidarity and support. It is also a day when the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement renews its commitment to stand together against the humanitarian crises that still threaten the world.
On this same day in 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, killing 18,428 people and displacing 470,000 others. The tsunami also caused serious damage to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, resulting in a reactor core meltdown. This was a complex triple disaster never experienced before.
The Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) was on the ground when the disaster occurred and began immediate relief operations. Red Cross hospitals in the affected areas were at the front line in saving lives.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) sent its representative and communication delegates to Japan to support the JRCS amid the chaos.
During the prolonged evacuation of affected communities, the goodwill and solidarity from the people around the world provided hope and relief to those impacted by this triple disaster. Foreign aid provided household appliances in the temporary shelters. Children received psychosocial support in "summer camps" located in safe places away from the disaster zone where they could enjoy being outdoors with the full support of carers.
In the first six months after the disaster, 894 JRCS medical teams supported hospitals and evacuation centres, treating more than 75,000 people. The JRCS distributed relief items, provided psychosocial support, restored family links, and organized blood donation drives.
The world was an "eyewitness" to the disaster as livestream videos of the tsunami and the nuclear accident were broadcast internationally. Countries and their people expressed their solidarity and support for the affected communities. Out of this solidarity, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in more than 100 countries and territories, as well as some governments, contributed a total of about 100 billion yen (about US$ 1.24 billion) to the relief and recovery activities of the JRCS.
The JRCS used this experience to blend international and domestic support to help those most in need. This was a great learning experience for the JRCS to build its new capacity.
Three months after the disaster, representatives of the JRCS, the IFRC and several sister National Societies came together to develop a recovery plan. This included providing 133,000 households with electrical household appliances, social services to support the elderly and disabled, temporary housing construction, support for children including schools and psychosocial support, rebuilding local health facilities, strengthening disaster management capacity and activities in response to the nuclear disaster.
A total of 60 projects in 10 sectors have been completed, and the details of those projects can be found in theFinal Report.
While many areas continue to recover from this complex disaster, some 41,000 people are still displaced, including more than 22,000 people who are unable to return to their homes due to the residual radiation. It will not be easy to restore communities to their pre-disaster state; there is still a long way to go.
Japan is a country prone to many natural disasters which has brought a lot of investment in disaster prevention. However, the massive scale of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear accident taught us that preventing loss of life and mitigating against disasters is not only about investing in the hardware, but also about having a mindset that is always ready for new crises and agile enough to act before they happen.
Nuclear disasters may be infrequent but when they do occur, can have devastating and long-term consequences for people and the environment.
As we move forward, we have reflected we have learned from this unprecedented tragedy and how we can prepare for future disasters. Recalling the Chernobyl accident 35 years ago, we must ensure the lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear accident strengthen our disaster mitigation and prevention measures in the event of another nuclear accident. As a first step, the JRCS, the IFRC, and several sister National Societies published the "Nuclear Disaster Guidelines for Preparedness, Response and Recovery" in 2015.
The global spirit of solidarity and unity bestowed on the people of Japan saved and rebuilt lives and supported the recovery from this devastating disaster. For the past decade, JRCS has repeatedly conveyed its gratitude and thanks to the world. On this 10th anniversary memorial of this terrible disaster, we say thank you to the world again.
Today we are in the midst of new crises. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create much suffering around the world and the impact of climate change affects all of us. These crises are global challenges that can only be solved if we change our behaviour as individuals and work in a spirit of togetherness. Our global solidarity will be the driving force to overcome the world's crises, now and in the future.
Thank you to our supporters around the world.
Yoshiharu Otsuka, President, Japanese Red Cross Society
Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General, IFRC
For more information, visitthis special site for Great East Japan Earthquake.
JRCS/IFRC Joint Message - Ten years since the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.pdf
| Press release
Indonesia: Medical crews help fearful earthquake survivors
Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta/Geneva, 18 January 2021 – More Indonesian Red Cross ambulance and medical crews have arrived to treat people injured following the destructive earthquake that hit West Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Critical relief has been arriving in affected areas, including tarpaulins and other shelter supplies, along with food and safe water as thousands of people remain displaced, fearful of more dangerous quakes.
Since a devastating earthquake struck last Friday (15 January), Red Cross search and rescue teams have been working around the clock alongside government emergency agencies to locate and help trapped survivors escape, with many buried deep in the rubble.
Indonesian Red Cross Secretary General, Sudirman Said, said:
“We have another seven ambulances and first-aid and medical teams treating people who have been injured in this terrible earthquake, boosting the local hospitals and Red Cross crews that were already stretched to the limit responding to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our specialist teams and volunteers have been buoyed by the rescues of people stuck in the rubble, but their work is also heartbreaking as they have been recovering bodies non-stop over the past three days.”
More than 19,000 people remain displaced as a result of the earthquake and aftershocks. The Indonesian Red Cross is providing tarpaulins and other sleeping equipment, including kits for families and babes. Red Cross teams on 10 water-tanker trucks are providing safe water to people who have fled their damaged homes.
Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Indonesia Country Office, Jan Gelfand, said:
"Each minute has been critical in the race against time to rescue people trapped deep underneath collapsed buildings. The remarkable work rescuing people and treating hundreds of wounded people is taking place amid dozens of smaller earthquakes and scary aftershocks.
“The physical impact of this earthquake is terrifying, but we must not underestimate the debilitating psychological effect this disaster is having on tens of thousands of people who fled their homes as they are living with the constant threat of another big quake.”
The IFRC has released 460,000 Swiss Francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to provide emergency assistance to 20,000 people who have been directly impacted by the earthquake. The support provided by the Indonesian Red Cross will include efforts to meet immediate shelter, health care, and water and sanitation needs, as well as actions designed to protect women, children and the most vulnerable, all the while helping survivors to stay safe from COVID-19.
| Press release
Indonesia: Rescue and relief rushed to earthquake survivors
Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta/Geneva, 15 January 2021 – Indonesian Red Cross rescue teams are searching for survivors in the rubble and providing first aid following a devastating earthquake in Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Red Cross specialist ambulance crews and first aid teams are treating people injured in the earthquake. Over 630 have been injured, dozens killed and more than 15,000 displaced according to the Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency.
Indonesian Red Cross Secretary General, Sudirman Said, said:
“This is a most tragic earthquake and our specialist teams have been working through the night to help people amid the rubble. Our first priority is to search for survivors and tend to the wounded.
“These hours are critical for saving lives. We are working double time to help injured survivors, keep them safe from COVID-19 and provide relief to the thousands who have been displaced from their homes.”
The Indonesian Red Cross is rushing more critical medical and relief supplies by plane and land to the earthquake-affected areas. Ambulance crews have been sent along with another 92 volunteers, clean water tankers and production units, tarpaulins for shelter, face masks plus 200 family relief kits to help survivors.
Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Indonesia Country Office, Jan Gelfand, said:
"It breaks my heart to see the carnage caused by this tragic earthquake, which has flattened a hospital and hundreds of homes.
“This earthquake is a brutal blow for the people of Sulawesi in the middle of a deadly COVID-19 pandemic. It is a matter of life and death to help survivors stay safe from this disease.”
| Press release
Croatia: Potential COVID-19 spread in temporary shelters concerns in aftermath of killer earthquake
Zagreb/Budapest, 30 December 2020 – Red Cross teams have mobilised across Croatia to help hundreds of people hit by yesterday’s magnitude 6.4 earthquake, the latest in a series of deadly quakes to have struck the country this year.
Croatian Red Cross spokesperson Katerina Zoric said Red Cross personnel have been on hand at the epicentre Petrinja since it hit around midday yesterday, killing reportedly seven people and injuring more than 26.
“More than 100 trained Red Cross staff and volunteers are helping with evacuations, providing first aid for the injured, helping clear the rubble and set up tents for displaced people,” she said.
“We have been working through the night to distribute aid to people affected in Petrinja and in the surrounding villages of Hrašnik, Cross Oak, Oak and Cepeliš. We have supplied food, water, warm tea, blankets and jackets to people forced to remain outside. We have helped with the evacuation of a nursing home and will continue to be in the field wherever help is needed.”
The Croatian Red Cross is collecting cash and in-kind donations through its website to support the people affected.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Regional Director for Europe, Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen confirms that the organisation is supporting Croatian Red Cross efforts.
“We are concerned about the effect of on-going earthquakes on these communities. People in the quake-affected areas are already suffering mental distress after a powerful 5.4 earthquake struck Zagreb in March this year, damaging buildings and structures and the recent quakes are only compounding understandable anxiety and uncertainty,” she said.
“We are also worried that the current turmoil may lead to a surge of COVID-19 cases in Croatia. Hundreds of people who were forced to leave their homes, are accommodated in communal buildings and tents, while others are seeking shelter in different parts of the country, increasing the risk of transmission. The Croatian Red Cross is doing an outstanding job to ensure that COVID-19 protection measures are observed during the emergency operation.”
| Press release
Red Crescent and Red Cross provide urgent assistance following powerful earthquake in Turkey and Greece
Izmir/Ankara/Budapest/Geneva, 31 October 2020 – Turkish Red Crescent Society (Türk Kizilay) is continuing to provide life-saving assistance to people affected by the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that struck yesterday off Turkey's Aegean coast, north of the Greek island of Samos.
According to initial reports by Turkish authorities, at least 25 people have lost their lives, more than 800 have been injured, and several buildings have collapsed or sustained damage following the tremors.
“Right now, we have a critical life-saving window – our teams are focused on ensuring people get the urgent support they need in the hours and days after this earthquake, including hot meals, hygiene items and psychosocial support,” said Ibrahim Ozer, Turkish Red Crescent Deputy Director General for Disaster Management from Izmir, the most affected area in Turkey.
“Many are also unable to return home due to the aftershocks and we’re focused on ensuring some of their most basic needs are met – such as food, emergency housing and other essential items.”
More than 140 Turkish Red Crescent volunteers and personnel were immediately sent to the affected area. Volunteers have been supporting authorities in search and rescue efforts, providing psychosocial support as well as deploying their mobile kitchens with the capacity to serve 56,300 people with hot food.
In Greece, which was also hit by the earthquake, a Hellenic Red Cross rescue team has arrived on the island of Samos and is working with authorities to determine the most pressing needs. The teams are trained in first aid, rescue and water provision among other emergency skills.
Two teenagers died on Samos after a wall collapsed on them while they were walking home from school.
IFRC regional director for Europe Birgitte Ebbesen said the quick response by Turkish Red Crescent and Hellenic Red Cross rescue teams was to be commended and showed the importance of local preparedness and action.
“Turkish Red Crescent and Hellenic Red Cross volunteers are in every town and city across their countries. They are part of the communities they serve - they know the people and their needs. We thank them for their selfless and life-saving work and stand ready to support in any way we can.”
AV content from Turkey:
AV content from Greece:
| Press release
Two years after tsunami, communities tackle COVID-19 crisis
Palu/Jakarta/Kuala Lumpur, 28 September 2020 – Two years after an earthquake and tsunami struck communities in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, thousands of survivors face a severe socio-economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The September 28 earthquake triggered a three-meter high tsunami and soil liquefaction that left more than 4,100 people dead and some 110,000 houses damaged or destroyed. Indonesian Red Cross Society volunteers from the affected areas were the first to respond, and staff and volunteers from all over Indonesia have been involved in the two-year relief and recovery effort.
This massive operation involving government and multiple agencies has also faced challenges. While many displaced people have alternative accommodation, they are often living with relatives due to widespread destruction of residential areas, the huge scale of people displaced, and most recently COVID-19.
Limited employment opportunities in the area due to damage caused to local industry have been compounded by social restrictions across Indonesia. The Regional Development Planning Agency reports that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been worse for the local economy than the disaster two years ago.
Secretary General of Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), Sudirman Said, explained:
“Over the last two years, Indonesian Red Cross has been delivering emergency and recovery programs to people in Sulawesi, adjusting in the past six months to protect people from COVID-19 while expanding scope to support those affected by the disasters and who are facing even more hardships due to the pandemic.”
“Throughout the province, hundreds of COVID-19 cases have been reported placing families in jeopardy due to cramped living conditions and crowded homes. We are adapting to these new needs and challenges.”
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) supported Indonesian Red Cross assistance for affected communities has included emergency healthcare for 17,600 people; close to 22 million liters of water has been distributed to over 70,000 people; health promotion activities and psychosocial support have helped to keep 14,000 people safe and well. In the recovery phase, PMI and IFRC are on pace to provide cash assistance to more than 10,000 families (40,000 people) amounting to around CHF 4 million in direct cash transfers.
Jan Gelfand, IFRC Head of Country Cluster Support Team for Indonesia and Timor-Leste, said:
“After Tsunami Aceh & Nias, this has been the biggest Indonesian Red Cross relief and recovery operations and local teams have achieved a tremendous amount in some of the most challenging circumstances to help communities recover from this triple disaster over the past two years.”
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.
Nepal Red Cross: In this together
Geneva/Kathmandu--The five-year anniversary of the devastating earthquakes of 2015 is an opportunity to grieve for the thousands of lives that were lost, and to reflect on the progress we have made in helping communities recover. And today, as Nepal works to halt the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, this anniversary is also a stark reminder of the wide range of risks that communities face.
The morning of 25 April 2015 changed Nepal forever. The statistics are shocking: more than 8,800 people were killed; more than 1.1 million families were affected; more than 880,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. But the true scale of the tragedy can only be appreciated by remembering that every one of those numbers represents a human being: their lives, the people they loved, the roof over their heads, their livelihoods, their hopes and their dreams.
When this disaster happened, I was working as the Asia Pacific Regional Director for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). I had extensive experience in responding to disasters, and in managing large-scale early recovery operations. But I am also Nepali. I was overwhelmed with shock and grief. Yet, I immediately had to focus on how to help the people who had survived—not only right then, in their desperate pain within the rubble of their communities, but for however long it would take for them to recover and rebuild a safer life.
Who was best placed to help them? This was obviously the Nepal Red Cross Society and its highly trained volunteers, many of whom were living in the very communities that had been destroyed or damaged by the earthquake.
These community-based volunteers and staff were on the ground, providing life-saving support from the outset of the disaster. In all, more than 8,000 volunteers and staff moved straight into action, delivering first aid and distributing relief items to those who needed it most. It became Nepal Red Cross’ largest ever humanitarian operation, reaching hundreds of thousands of people with the support of the IFRC and other International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement partners.
Now the people of Nepal are facing a new threat: Covid-19. And the volunteers and staff of the Nepal Red Cross Society and other local community-based organisations will be the key to halting the spread of this pandemic.
Disease outbreaks begin and end inside local communities. Every volunteer plays an important role in connecting directly with their communities, in supporting the most vulnerable people, and in providing the information they need to keep themselves and each other safe and healthy.
In Nepal, the past five years have taught us different ways to adapt our response to community needs. These lessons are strengthening our Covid-19 operation, and the same innovative spirit will be critical as we prepare for other complex emergencies, none of which will stop for the pandemic.
The annual monsoon season is fast approaching, bringing with it the threat of flooding, landslides, dengue fever and other health and natural hazards.
Last year more than a hundred people were killed, tens of thousands were forced to leave their homes and many others lost their livelihoods. Red Cross volunteers quickly swung into action, helping people evacuate, distributing essential relief items and assisting with search and rescue.
This year, by necessity, Covid-19 is changing the way we work. But it does not change our focus on helping people who are most vulnerable, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, class, or political opinions. Whether it is an earthquake or a coronavirus, crises do not affect all of us in the same way. In many situations, having a roof over your head or the possibility for physical distancing is a privilege.
This is why we will continue to work from within the communities who need us most, to reduce risks where possible, to be prepared to respond to emergencies and to support long-term recovery. We are incredibly proud of and grateful for, the dedication and compassion shown by all humanitarian volunteers during the 2015 earthquake response and recovery efforts and other crises in Nepal, and the trust that they have built with their communities. In these extraordinary times, they are needed more than ever.
By Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General
View the opinion piece in the Kathmandu Post
| Press release
Croatia: Red Cross shelters hundreds of homeless after 5.4 magnitude earthquake
Zagreb/Budapest,22 March 2020– More than 100 Croatian Red Cross volunteers are providing urgent assistance and shelter for people on the streets of Zagreb, after a powerful earthquake of 5.4 magnitude struck the Croatian capital early this morning.
The quake, at 6:24am, was the strongest in Croatia in more than 140 years. Many buildings are badly damaged and at least one, in Adzijina Street, collapsed trapping several people. There are power cuts in some parts of the city.
Immediately after the earthquake, Croatian Red Cross teams distributed water and blankets for patients and newborns who were displaced from a central city maternity hospital.
Red Cross volunteers have set up six tents around hospitals in Zagreb and a tent city at French Republic Square, which can accommodate up to 500 people.
The tents will also shelter people who do not want to return home, as aftershocks continue to rock the city. People are being provided with food, water, tea and blankets. The Croatian Red Cross headquarters sustained minor damage.
The Executive President of Croatian Red Cross, Robert Markt, said all measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 are being observed in the tent city.
“The situation is very challenging because we are dealing with both an earthquake and the COVID-19 outbreak,” Mr Markt said. “We are aware that people are scared and that is why Red Cross teams will patrol the streets of the city to help as many people as possible and provide psychosocial support.
“Of course, we also need to remind citizens of the importance of protecting against the spread of COVID-19. For now, we have the situation under control.”
An additional 100 Red Cross volunteers are visiting the elderly and those in self-isolation for COVID-19, bringing the total number of volunteers to 200. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 126 cases of COVID-19 in Croatia, with one death.
Mr Markt said the Red Cross is ready for further action when Croatia’s Civil Protection Authority determines what is needed.
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