Earthquake

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Post earthquake, Red Cross China helps people heal and rebuild

Justmore than one month ago, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Linxia Prefecture of Gansu Province in China. The quake struck at midnight on December 18, 2023, as people were sleeping through a cold winter night,destroying homes and claiming lives.With its well-developed disaster preparedness capacity and an established cooperation mechanism with its provincial chapters, the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) responded immediately, swiftly carrying out rescue and relief work as it raced with time to save lives.The first batch of relief items dispatched by the RCSC arrived within the first 12 hours after the earthquake.In coming hours and days,more than 20 Red Cross rescue teams in five categories – from medical relief to psychological support – were dispatched to the disaster area.The teams carried out comprehensive response work,including search and rescue, basic aid material, psychological support, provision of meals and toilets, construction of resettlement sites, as well as transportation and distribution of disaster relief materials.Within ten days of the earthquake, the people affected by the earthquake had moved into clean and warm temporary shelters and schools had resumed classes.Now, with the rapid response complete, the operation has moved to the post-disaster recovery and reconstruction stage.Mental health: a key part of recoveryWith the gradual normalization of people’s lives, some places in the village havestarted to offer skill training courses such as welding, elderly care and housekeeping, with training subsidies provided. The training sessions aim to make people more confident and capable of rebuilding their homes and livelihoods.Another key building block in the recovery is helping people adjust to the massive disruption the earthquake has had in their lives. This is one reason why volunteers regularly organize counselling sessions, as well as fun, lively activities, and games for children in many of the resettlement areas."Are you coming back tomorrow?" onechild asks Chunhui Ji, a team leader from the Red Cross's Gansu Mingrui psychological service team after one such joyful session of games at one of the resettlement sites."Crisis intervention is an important part of post-disaster recovery,” saysChunhui Ji. “If timely counselling is not provided, it will affect the psychological and even physical health of the affected people long after the disaster, especially affecting the growth of young people.”The difference the counselling is making can be seen in the way the children interact with each other before and after the sessions. One small boy — frightened by the earthquake and its aftermath — was reluctant to play or talk. After the counselling with the psychological team member, however, his nervousness eased a lot and he began to actively join in the games with his friends."Disasters like earthquakes are sudden with serious damage," saidTao Tian, a team member of the psychological rescue team and doctor of Ningxia Ningan Hospital. “Throughout the disaster and post-disaster periods, people may exhibit varying degrees of psychological stress at different times, requiring tailored intervention techniques to help restore mental health.”The RCSC attached great importance to the mental well-being of the affected people, giving priority to the psychological counselling of adolescents and children.Responding to the imperative need, 25 members from Gansu and Ningxia Red Cross Psychological rescue teams had been fully operational at the resettlement sites since the third day after the earthquake.“People are exposed to extremely distressing events when disasters, such as an earthquake, happen to them,”says Olga Dzhumaeva, Head of IFRC East Asia Delegation. “Addressing people’s mental health is a vital part of what we do during and after a disaster. Psychosocial support to affected people, including children, is key to humanitarian response, bringing priceless impact on the life of people who are in critical need.”Some information from Xinhua News Agency

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| Press release

Red Cross swings into action immediately after Japan earthquake

Tokyo/Beijing/Geneva, 3 January 2024 - Responding to a devastating magnitude 7.6 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Ishikawa Prefecture, the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) has mobilized swiftly. The events of New Year’s Day have caused extensive damage, disrupting power, water supplies, communications, and transportation. Tragically, at least sixty-two lives have been lost, with many more injured. In the immediate aftermath, JRCS's nationwide network was activated, with staff from the Tokyo headquarters rapidly deployed for assessment and coordination. Local chapters, supported by Red Cross hospitals and Blood Centres, initiated response actions. Echoing the spirit of solidarity, neighboring JRCS branches have dispatched additional relief teams. Nobuaki Sato, Deputy Director General of the International Department of the JRCS, said: “The earthquake shook the country to its maximum intensity and triggered the highest tsunami alert, and people could not help but be reminded of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 13 years ago. We did not encounter a major tsunami, but there is a long way to go to promote the more rapid evacuation of people, search and rescue for missing people, support for evacuees and their recovery. The Japanese Red Cross Society will stay close to the people affected and provide support.” The JRCS’s robust disaster preparedness, marked by a well-orchestrated deployment of resources and personnel, has been crucial in this rapid response. This readiness is vital in a country like Japan, frequently confronted with seismic activities. Alexander Matheou, Regional Director for Asia Pacific of the IFRC, remarked: “We are with the Japanese Red Cross Society during these trying times, especially those displaced and traumatized by the earthquake. Although the Asia-Pacific Region is prone to frequent disasters, it has also proven itself to be leading the way in life-saving prevention, preparedness, resilience, and humanitarian innovation, sending us a strong message about the urgent need to strengthen humanitarian responses to disasters and crises. We thank our teams on the ground for the swift response, and we acknowledge that the impact will be psychological not just physical. The IFRC stands ready to support.” The IFRC, through its East Asia Delegation, remains closely engaged with the JRCS, ensuring a coordinated approach in addressing both the immediate and future challenges posed by this disaster. More information: To request an interview, please contact:[email protected]  In Kaula Lumpur: Afrhill Rances: +60 19 271 3641 In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67 Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06

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| Press release

Türkiye-Syria Earthquakes: IFRC highlights critical funding shortfall in recovery efforts

Geneva/Ankara/Damascus, 5 February 2024: Marking one year since the catastrophic earthquakes that devastated Türkiye and Syria, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today calls for renewed solidarity to meet pressing humanitarian and recovery needs, highlighting a critical funding shortfall in its ongoing humanitarian response.Despite reaching 14 million earthquake-affected people (10.5 million in Türkiye and 3.5 million in Syria) through the tireless efforts of 80,000 volunteers, the IFRCEmergency Appealsstill face alarmingfunding gaps:65% for Türkiye and 43% for Syria. One year on, the needs of those affected byone of the century's deadliest natural disasters remain persistent. The earthquakes, which claimed over 55,000 lives, have had devastating impacts on people’s lives.One year on, Türkiye is on the slow road to recovery, but communities in Syria are struggling to rebuild their lives.Jessie Thomson, Head of IFRC Delegation in Türkiye, said:“Nowis not the time to scale down. In fact, we need to redouble our efforts. Despite important steps forward, the long road to recovery remains. The affected people now require support in rebuilding their businesses, recovering their lost livelihoods, and beginning the slow journey back to normalcy.”In Türkiye, the Turkish Red Crescenthas been instrumental in providing daily necessities, includingover 426 million hot meals and free medical servicesviamobile health clinics. Furthermore, througha cash relief program supported by the IFRCnetwork and international partners, over460,000 familieshave received cash to meet their basic needs. Notably, this program has also extended support tosmall businesses and farmers, while over207,000 peoplehavereceived psychosocial support.In Syria, many affected people were already living in a dire situation, due to over 13 years of instability and conflict. Most cities are still in ruins and basic infrastructure is severely damaged.Mads Brinch Hansen, Head of IFRC Delegation in Syria, said:“Our collective efforts withthe Syrian Arab Red Crescenthas been pivotal in reaching over 3.5 million people. Yet, the scale of needs remains immense in Syria, with millionsstill grappling withextreme poverty and the daunting task ofrebuildingtheir lives amidst ongoing conflict anddestruction.”The Syrian Arab Red Crescent continues to be a critical lifeline, providing around 23 million humanitarian services and volunteers continue to provide people with food, water, basic relief items, health care, and psychosocial support.About the IFRC’s Appeal:The IFRC launched two Emergency Appeals, one forTürkiye and one forSyria, amounting to CHF 500 million; both are still significantly underfunded (funding gap of 65 per cent in Türkiye and 43 per cent in Syria). Further support and funding are urgently needed to make a significant impact on the lives of those affected and empower people to rebuild their lives and contribute to their local economies in both countries.For more information, audio visual material or to coordinate an interview, please contact:[email protected] Ankara:Miriam Atallah, +90 53 091 70224In Beirut:Mey Al Sayegh: +961 761 74468In Geneva:Tommaso Della Longa +41797084367Mrinalini Santhanam +41 76 381 5006Andrew Thomas +41 76 367 6587 Carina Wint +47 413 91 873B-roll footage and images of volunteers responding are available at the IFRC newsroom.'

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Afghanistan: Three months after Herat earthquake, an urgent need for shelter

By Mir Abdul Tawab Razavy and Rachel Punitha The earthquakes that struck the western Afghan state of Herat in October 2023 destroyed homes and claimed lives over a wide swath of mountainous terrain — from the state’s main city, Herat, all the way to mountain villages miles away. The epicentre was recorded near a mountain range just west of Herat state, resulting in widespread destruction in more than 380 villages. Many of the lives lost were women and children. Surviving family members found themselves thrust into the harsh reality of loss and despair, with winter approaching and their homes in ruins. Once the proud caretakers of small flocks of sheep, families now face the daunting challenge of rebuilding their lives and livelihoods. But their most immediate plea is for safe, warm shelter as temperatures continue to drop. “We need help with rebuilding our homes,” villagers consistently tell Afghanistan Red Crescent and IFRC teams that visit the villages and offer a wide range of support. More support urgently needed The Afghan Red Crescent, along with the IFRC, have been working together to help the people rebuild their homes and make sense of what has happened. Afghan Red Crescent has deployed over 200 staff and volunteers, reaching more than 112,000 people across 40 villages with emergency shelter, household items, food, health services, and WASH items. The food assistance they’ve provided has reached over 7,300 households, whille cash assistance valued at more than $US 22,000 (AFN 1,568,000) has been provided to 410 families. Health services, including mental health and psychosocial support, have been extended to over 12,000 people, supported by the Danish Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross, and IFRC. At the early onset of the earthquakes, more than 15,000 emergency shelter items (tarpaulins or tents) were distributed, while Red Cross Red Crescent teams’ staff and volunteers work round the clock to work out proper permanent shelter solutions. Since then, shelter engineers have been deployed to the areas and are assessing their shelter needs for immediate procurement. In collaboration with ARCS, the IFRC has mobilized additional financial support for Herat through its network and the larger Emergency Appeal for the Afghanistan Humanitarian Crisis. Meanwhile, IFRC-DREFhas increased its contribution to the emergency appeal by an additional CHF 750,000, raising the total IFRC-DREF contribution to the Afghanistan crisis to CHF 2,500,000. But more is still needed to meet the needs identified by the appeal and to ensure people in Herat state have what they need to get through nights of bitter cold. Digging to stay warm In one mountainside village, Abdul Qayoum, is grappling with the responsibility of four children, including two very young toddlers. As their tent offered little defense against the biting cold and relentless winds, especially during the night, his children have been shivering night after night. With no other options, Abdul Qayoum began laboring tirelessly, digging into the unforgiving ground in a desperate attempt to create a more secure space, into which he could settle in with his children so that the winds howl past them. His eyes reflected a mixture of determination and despair while he explained his family’s plight. In this village, IFRC teams also witnessed a group of mothers and grandmothers who were attempting to put up a tent with their bare hands in the cold. They were hoping that it would withstand the fierce, night winds. More resilient shelter Afghan Red Crescent and IFRC shelter teams have been working urgently along with other humanitarian organisations to approve a shelter design that can be constructed locally and will be able to withstand further shocks. “We will be including volunteers from villages and local masons from the cities in our training sessions on how to mount proper bracing for the walls of their new shelters,” says an IFRC Shelter specialist deployed to Herat. “The homes that were destroyed in the earthquake were all made of mud or clay and were built by hand. Unfortunately, that is why they were reduced to rubble so fast. “Now we want to make sure that they know how to include metal or even wood bracings in their walls and roofs so that their homes can withstand a greater degree of shock.” ‘My only hope’ In the meantime, people are trying to maintain hope even as they grieve for what they have lost. 45-year-old Halima [not her real name], says she is able to enjoy some warmth for a short while, when she cooks in her tent as a means to keep warm. She admits this is not very safe, but she has no other option. Halima had adopted a young boy from her community as she did not have any children of her own. This is one of the many ways that people look out for each other in the community, she says. Sadly, her adopted son lost his life in the earthquake. “He was my only hope,” she says, with an expression of deep anguish.

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Morocco: Three months after quake, Red Crescent teams help communities prepare for winter

Three months after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Morocco on September 8 — killing and injuring thousands of people and causing widespread destruction — the Moroccan Red Crescent is still working to help thousands of people, many of whom are still living in temporary shelters and tents as winter in the Atlas Mountains approaches. In the immediate aftermath of the quake, Moroccan Red Crescent (MRCS) teams were on the ground immediately, coordinating closely with the IFRC and local authorities to assess the situation, support wth search and rescue and provide help to affected people. Among other things, MRCS has provided first aid and psychosocial support, helped transport injured people to hospitals, evacuated people from damaged buildings and helped in offering dignified burial management. Other National Societies have also lended a hand as well. With support from, the Qatar Red Crescent, for example, MRCS has distributed tents, mattresses, blankets and kitchen kits in many remote mountain communities. On 12 September, the IFRClaunched an Emergency Appeal for 100 million Swiss francsto scale up the relief efforts of the Moroccan Red Crescent. The appeal followed an allocation of1 million Swiss francsfrom the IFRC'sDisaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF)to support MRCS actions on the ground. The funding has helped the Moroccan Red Crescent provide health services, clean water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, relief items, food, livelihoods support, protection and community engagement activities. That work continues. But the needs are still great and communities are still vulnerable. The photos below offer a glimpse into the the kinds of support given so far and the challenging situation people are facing as high-altitude, mountain communities prepare for winter. Read more here about what assistance this funding is supporting. Still today, the trauma of the quake lingers in peoples’ minds. In Ighermane, a village in the mountain of the Chichaoua province, families are anxious not only about aftershocks, but also about how to protect themselves from the cold and feed themselves over the winter months. Temperatures have dropped significantly and food stocks are at their lowest. The earthquake also left families in many villages like Ighermanewithout toilets, access to running water or facilities to bathe ordo laundry. Red Crescent teams also worked with community members in many places such as Tagadirt, which was nearly completely destroyed by the quake, to install latrines, showers and more water points to improve living conditions for people who lost their homes. Since the earthquake struck, hundreds of supply trucks — full of tents, blankets, mattresses, jericans, clothes and food — have been dispatched to the earthquake-affected provinces of Al Haouz, Chichawa and Taroudant. The IFRC and the MRCS continue to engage with communities, to listen to their needs so they can offer the most effective recovery support. The IFRC and MRCS continue to listen to the people of the Atlas Mountains in order to help them weather the winter, prepare for potential future shocks, and ultimately to get back to life as it was before this catastrophic quake.

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| Podcast

Alexander Matheou: Flipping a common humanitarian narrative about a vast, diverse and dynamic region

In this episode, Alexander Matheou challenges a common humanitarian narrative about the Asia Pacific region being “disaster prone.” Yes, it is particularly vulnerable to climate-related events — and it has more than its share of volcanos and earthquakes — but it’s also leading the way in life-saving prevention, preparedness and humanitarian innovation. As IFRC’s regional director for the Asia Pacific region, Matheou talks about the opportunities and leadership this vast, dynamic and diverse region offers the humanitarian world.

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| Press release

IFRC scales up aid efforts in response to Nepal’s Karnali Earthquake: Emergency appeal launched

Kathmandu/ Kuala Lumpur/ Geneva, 10 November 2023 — The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal for 5 million Swiss Francs to scale up relief and response efforts of the Nepal Red Cross Society. Last Friday, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck western Nepal just before midnight, causing significant damage and distress. The tremor, centred in Ramidanda, Jajarkot district of the Karnali Province, is the most recent in a series of seismic events affecting the region this year. It is estimated that 38,000 families have been affected by the earthquake, including approximately 30,000 homes destroyed or damaged. Since the disaster hit, the Nepal Red Cross Society’s (NRCS), with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and its partners, have been working with local authorities. They are supporting search and rescue operations, providing first aid, psychosocial support, ambulance services and immediate relief assistance to those affected. Immediately post the earthquake, IFRC allocated CHF 775,395 from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the affected families. In-country Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies and partners have also pledged their support in this crucial time. Herve Gazeau, Programme Coordinator IFRC and spokesperson based in Kathmandu, said: “The Nepal Red Cross Society has been on the ground since the first day. They are delivering critical emergency services and relief support in the impacted districts that are rather difficult to access in the mountainous areas, with support from IFRC and its partners. As we are racing against the time and with a sense of urgency to reach the most vulnerable, the IFRC is making an appeal to support the earthquake-affected families, especially given the arrival of winter in Nepal.” “IFRC and its partners pledge their continuous support to the NRCS throughout the process as they work to assist the affected families in the region.” Nepal Red Cross Society is working closely with Nepali authorities, using its established relationships, to speed up aid delivery. Current efforts include distributing essential items like tents, blankets, and mattresses, and preparing for any urgent blood supply needs in hospitals. The emotional well-being of those who have lost loved ones is also being addressed through psychosocial support by Nepal Red Cross Society volunteers and response teams. Currently, immediate assistance is underway, yet thousands of affected families remain in open spaces with no alternate shelter and in fear of another tremor. With the onset of winter, relief shelters and essential warm items have become imperative. More information For further details on our response to the Nepal earthquake, visit the Nepal Red Cross Society website or the IFRC appeal page. To request an interview, please contact: [email protected]     In Nepal: Herve Gazeau: +977 1 4285843 In Kuala Lumpur: Afrhill Rances: +60 19 271 3641 In Geneva:  Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67  Mrinalini Santhamam: +41 76 381 50 06 

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| Emergency

Nepal: Karnali Earthquake

On 3 November 2023, an earthquake measuring 6.4M on the Richter Scale struck Nepal's Jajarkot district, resulting in 157 reported deaths, hundreds or people injured and large-scale destruction of property in 11 districts. This is the largest earthquake to impact Nepal since the 7.3M earthquake in 2015 and the latest one to hit western Nepal since November 2022. The IFRC and its membership seek CHF 7 million (CHF 5 million of which is expected to be raised by the IFRC Secretariat) to support the Nepal Red Cross Society to reach 50,000 people with life-saving services.

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| Press release

Crisis upon crisis: Devastating earthquakes strike Afghanistan as IFRC calls for urgent support

Kabul/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 12 October – Afghanistan faces an escalating humanitarian crisis following a devastating series of earthquakes. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) urgently reiterates its call for immediate action and international support, emphasizing that an existing appeal for 120 million Swiss Francs remains critically underfunded, with only 36 percent raised. The Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), in coordination with the IFRC and other partner Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, was among the first to respond. Their rapid interventions included emergency medical aid, essential non-food supplies, temporary shelter and rescue operations in the affected provinces. Mawlawi Mutiul Haq Khales, the Afghan Red Crescent Society Acting President, said: "The situation in the country is already extremely dire. People were just starting to recover when another series of massive earthquakes hit us, all within less than a week. On top of that, winter is coming, and there's an urgent need for shelter, food and healthcare." The earthquakes hit the western part of Afghanistan, and primarily affected Badghis, Ghor, and especially Herat, registering a magnitude of 6.3. Sadly, another earthquake of the same magnitude followed four days later, causing further destruction and loss of lives. These events resulted in significant casualties, destroyed homes, and displaced many individuals. This catastrophe exacerbates Afghanistan's existing humanitarian crises of severe drought and economic hardship. Speaking from the backdrop of his visit to the affected parts of Herat this week, Alexander Matheou, IFRC Regional Director for Asia Pacific, remarked: “What we are seeing on the ground is a chilling scene: three affected villages which I visited two days ago have been reduced to absolute rubble, with not a single house left standing. Our teams on the ground say this is the picture in several other villages. These early observations underscore that the full extent of the damage is yet to be realized.” "The Afghan Red Crescent Society's tireless efforts in this catastrophic situation cannot be overstated. They've been first responders, reaching affected areas swiftly and delivering crucial assistance. We have managed to redirect essential supplies and mobile health facilities to the most impacted areas within a day, thanks to our network of trained volunteers and responders.” Immediate needs include food aid, cash assistance, emergency shelter and household items. There is also a focus on emergency health care, mental support and clean water and sanitation. Further assessments are ongoing to determine the disaster's entire impact and to strategize for emerging needs like shelter repair, livelihood recovery, and facility rehabilitation. Alexander Matheou added: “The full scale of the tragedy is still unfolding, and international support is urgently needed. Afghanistan can't be a footnote in a world already grappling with multiple crises. Every contribution counts, especially now, when our resources are already stretched to their limits." In light of the growing demands, the IFRC is revising its appeal for 120 million Swiss Francs to aid the ongoing efforts of the Afghan Red Crescent Society. Currently, this appeal remains severely underfunded, with only 36 percent of the required funds raised. Contributions can be made through participating national societies or directly via the IFRC website. More information To request an interview, please contact: [email protected] In Afghanistan: Mir Abdul Tawab Razavy: +93 747 407 027 In Kuala Lumpur: Afrhill Rances: +60 192 713 641 In Geneva: Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06 Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67 

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| Podcast

Homa Nader: Bringing hope to the people of Afghanistan

In this episode, we explore the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan with Homa Nader, Manager of Strategic Engagement and Partnership in the IFRC country office in Kabul. Four years of drought, economic sanctions and the legacy of conflict are just a few of the factors that have left some 34 million Afghans facing extreme hardship. We spoke with Homa about the daily challenges for average Afghans, theparticular difficulties for women, and about the critical and inspiring work of Red Crescent volunteers in helping people cope.

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| Press release

One month after Morocco earthquake: A race against winter for affected families

Geneva/Beirut/Marrakesh, 6 October 2023: Nearly one month since the devastating earthquake in Morocco, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) highlights urgent humanitarian needs as winter approaches. Immediate requirements include warm shelter for those who have lost or incurred damage to their homes and crucial hygiene infrastructure like latrines and showers. From the start, the Moroccan Red Crescent Society has been on the ground. Together with IFRC support, the teams are closely collaborating with local authorities to assess needs and deliver assistance. Active in the four most impacted provinces—Taroudant, Marrakech, Chichawa, and Al Haouz—the Moroccan Red Crescent currently has hundreds of volunteers engaged, providing relief items and psychosocial support. One month into the response, the need to scale up shelter and sanitation efforts remains critical. To date, the Moroccan Red Crescent, supported by the IFRC, have reached over 50,000 people. More than 290 volunteers have been deployed across affected provinces. They have supported search and rescue operations, organized medical caravans and established makeshift medical tents. The teams have also conducted blood donation drives and offered psychosocial support to affected people, even in the most remote villages. Gwendolen Eamer, Head of Emergency Operations for the IFRC, said: "The earthquake has devastated thousands of families, exposing them to harsh conditions. Our teams are working tirelessly, but the scale of the need is overwhelming, particularly as winter is closing in on the High Atlas Mountains. Time is of the essence. We are racing against the clock to provide insulated shelters and winter essentials. Our appeal targets not just immediate needs but is intended to prepare these communities for a harsh winter and build their resilience for the years to come." Given the region's high altitude of between 1500-2000 meters, the cold is especially piercing for those without adequate shelter. While initial relief has provided some basic accommodations, the pressing need for insulated shelters and winter provisions is escalating. Sami Fakhouri, Head of Delegation, Morocco, IFRC, added: “Coordination with local authorities has been pivotal in sustaining our response efforts. Our volunteers are the lifeblood of these operations, often reaching places others can't. Yet, as winter approaches, some families are worried not just about the cold but about living in dignity and reuniting with their loved ones. We are actively seeking solutions to upgrade or adapt shelters for the winter months. The real test lies ahead, and failing is not an option." The IFRC Emergency Appeal seeking CHF 100 million to support the Moroccan Red Crescent’s response has been funded up to around CHF 19 million, with a current funding gap of approximately 81%. Continued support and funding are desperately needed to significantly impact those affected, enabling them to rebuild their lives and contribute to local economies. More information To fund the emergency appeal and support the people of Morocco in their time of dire need, visit the IFRC website. For b-roll footage, visit the IFRC newsroom. To request an interview, contact: [email protected] In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67 Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06 In Beirut: Mey Alsayegh: +961 3 229 352

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Morocco earthquake: Baby boy safely delivered amid collapsed buildings

Amizmiz, 50km south-west of Marrakesh, is one of the towns most heavily affected by the September 8 earthquake in Morocco. Upon entering the town on 18 September, we saw search and rescue teams packing up their equipment after a grueling ten days of pulling survivors and casualties from the wreckage. What’s striking as we entered the small town is the buzzing main street, with only a few visibly destroyed houses. An eerie semblance of normality. But as we passed through the small side streets in the heart of the city, it’s chaos. Hundreds of houses have collapsed on top of each other. All that remains is rubble and dust. Public buildings were not spared. The local hospital, while still standing, now has severe cracks and had been declared unsafe to operate. With nowhere else to go, several makeshift medical tents have been set up in the middle of the street to take care of injured people who continue to arrive. It was just as we entered one of these tents, located on the edge of the main roundabout with its continuous flow of cars and trucks bringing relief supplies, that baby Anas was born. With the sun beating down, the temperature in the tent exceeds 35 degrees Celsius. There’s only one delivery table and a desk inside. Anas is nestled safely in the arms of his mother, Nezha, blissfully unaware of the chaos surrounding him. He’s Nezha’s third child—her second boy—named after one of the nurses who helped her when she reached the clinic. Nezha’s smile, and the smiles on the faces of the local nurses who cared for her, are a ray of sunshine in the difficult times Nezha and her family are going through. By the end of the day, the local branch of the Moroccan Red Crescent had managed to find a temporary structure, with electricity and air conditioning, where they relocated the improvised maternity ward. As our response to the earthquake continues, it’s precious moments like this—a mother cradling her healthy newborn son—that keep our volunteers and staff going amid the heartbreak and devastation. -- Click here to learn more about our response to the Morocco earthquake. To donate and support people like Nezha to recover from this crisis, please donate here.

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Morocco earthquake: Families unite in tragedy, but fear solidarity will fade

Amizmiz is a small town in Morocco, located at the foot of the High Atlas mountain range. Behind the main road that leads up into the mountains, there are hundreds of small, narrow streets full of adjoined houses. It’s in one of these streets that Khadija, Fatima, Radia and Zineb used to live. When the earth started to shake on the night of September 8, they were all at home, ready to go to sleep after their nightly prayers. Within seconds, the walls of their house started to shake and collapse. They rushed out into the street, fortunate to all make it out safely, but lost everything they had. Khadija, Fatima, Radia and Zineb are part of a community of ten families who are now living under tents, about two hundred metres from where their homes once stood. They haven’t just lost their homes, they’ve also lost their income. Khadija, Fatima and Radia’s husbands used to work in the local market, the souk, that has also been completely destroyed. “We are very grateful for all the help we have received so far, the solidarity has been amazing,” says Khadija. “But we know the solidarity will fade away and soon we will have nothing to eat. We don’t have any income anymore; our husbands can’t work. We don’t know how we will be able to cope in the weeks to come,” she adds. Khadija and her friends want to go back home. They want their houses to be rebuilt exactly where they were. “A house is life,” explains Khadija. In an emergency like the September 8 earthquake, it’s often children who suffer most and who need the most support with their mental health recovery. “They scream in the middle of the night. They have a lot of nightmares. They are also much more sensitive, crying more often. They are scared,” says Khadija. But despite the tragic circumstances, Khadija and her friends make sure that life goes on, for them and their children. Between the donations they’ve received, they’ve managed to set up a functioning kitchen to feed the whole community—proving that against all odds, and in the face of so much loss, humanity can prevail. The Moroccan Red Crescent is supporting Khadija’s community, and many more across the country, by providing essential relief supplies. Volunteers are also offering psychosocial support to help people process the shock of such a sudden, devastating disaster. -- The IFRC network is in it for the long haul with our response to the September 8 earthquake. To support people like Khadija who have lost everything, please donate to our emergency appeal today.

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| Press release

Dead bodies from natural disasters and conflict do not generally pose health risks, Red Cross and WHO say

Geneva –Amiddevastatingloss of life due to disasters and conflict, there is often unfounded fear and misunderstanding concerning the dead. It is therefore important that communities have the tools and information they need to manage dead bodies safely and with dignity.This is in part to help survivors along the path to recovery,the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. When many people die in natural disasters or armed conflict, the presence of these bodies is distressing for affected communities. Some may move quickly to bury bodies, such as in mass graves, in part in an attempt to manage this distress, and sometimes because of the fear that these bodies pose a health threat. This approach can be detrimental to the population, the organizations said. Though local authorities and communities can be under immense pressure to bury the dead quickly, the consequences of mismanagement of the dead include long lasting mental distress for family members as well as social and legal problems. Well managed burials include easily traceable and properly documented individual graves in demarcated burial sites. This should ensure that the exact location of each dead body, as well as the associated information and personal belongings, is known as outlined in guidance developed by the organizations, in particular theICRC/IFRC/WHO Manual for the Management of the Dead After Disasters. Cremations should not take place before the body is positively identified. In order to support better management of the dead, the organizations provide supplies and expertise to local authorities to help them manage the sometimes-overwhelming task of burying the dead. Today in Libya, Red Cross and WHO teams are working directly with authorities, communities and the Libyan Red Crescent Society, supporting them with guidance, materials, and training. The ICRC and WHO are both delivering body bags in Libya to help with the dignified treatment of the dead. The bodies of people who have died following wounds sustained in a natural disaster or armed conflict almost never pose a health danger to communities. This is because victims who have died from trauma, drowning or fire do not normally harbour organisms that cause disease with common precautions. The exceptions are when deaths occur from infectious diseases such as Ebola or Marburg diseases or cholera, or when the disaster occurred in an area endemic for these infectious diseases. Under any circumstance, dead bodies near or in water supplies can lead to health concerns, as the bodies may leak feces and contaminate water sources, leading to a risk of diarrheal or other illness. Bodies should not be left in contact with drinking water sources. “The belief that dead bodies will cause epidemics is not supported by evidence. We see too many cases where media reports and even some medical professionals get this issue wrong,” said Pierre Guyomarch, the head of ICRC’s forensics unit. “Those who survive an event like a natural disaster are more likely to spread disease than dead bodies.” “We urge authorities in communities touched by tragedy to not rush forward with mass burials or mass cremations. Dignified management of bodies is important for families and communities, and in the cases of conflict, is often an important component of bringing about a swifter end to the fighting,” said Dr Kazunobu Kojima, Medical Officer for biosafety and biosecurity in WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme. “An unnecessary rush to dispose of bodies of those killed in disasters or conflict deprives families of the opportunity to identify and mourn their loved ones, while providing no public health benefit. Dignified treatment of the dead requires appropriate time to identify the deceased and mourn and perform funeral rites in accordance with local cultural and social norms,” said Gwen Eamer, IFRC’s Senior Officer for Public Health in Emergencies and Head of Emergency Operations, Morocco Earthquake Response. The ICRC, IFRC and WHO wish to remind authorities and communities of the following: While it is distressing to see dead bodies, community leaders or authorities should not hastily bury bodies in mass graves or carry out mass cremations. Burial or cremation procedures must keep in mind cultural, religious, and family concerns. The bodies of those who die from natural disasters or armed conflict are generally not a source of disease. Unless the deceased has died from a highly infectious disease, the risk to the public is negligible. However, there is a risk of diarrhoea from drinking water contaminated by faecal material from dead bodies. Routine disinfection of drinking water is sufficient to prevent waterborne illness. Rapid, disrespectful mass burials or cremations, make identification of the dead and notification to family more difficult and sometimes impossible. The only time dead bodies pose a health risk of epidemics is when the deaths resulted from some infectious diseases or when a natural disaster occurs in an area where such a disease is endemic. Lime powder does not hasten decomposition, and since dead bodies in disaster or conflict are generally not an infectious risk, the disinfection of these bodies is not needed. After any contact with the deceased, hands should be washed with soap and water, or cleaned with alcohol-based hand rub if there is no visible soiling. The ICRC, IFRC and WHO urge all parties to conflict, and responders in disasters, to follow established principles for the management of dead bodies, for the good of all of society, and have offered further support as needed. For more information, please contact: ICRC media office:[email protected] IFRC media office:[email protected] WHO media office:[email protected]

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| Press release

Morocco earthquake: IFRC intensifies relief operations amid upcoming rains and risk of landslides

Geneva/Beirut/Marrakesh, 19 September 2023: With forecasts predicting imminent rain and a heightened risk of landslides, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is intensifying its relief operations in Morocco following last week's devastating 6.8 magnitude earthquake. The urgent need for swift and effective action has never been greater. Benoit Carpentier, IFRC spokesperson, said: "A deteriorating road network, particularly in isolated mountain villages, is making the distribution of essential supplies a race against time. We are deeply concerned about the imminent weather conditions. The Moroccan Red Crescent’s local knowledge is invaluable. They are our guiding force, making sure that our response is as effective as possible. We must continue to mobilize support for the weeks and months ahead to ensure that no community, no individual, is left behind." Hundreds of Moroccan Red Crescent volunteers are on the ground, providing a lifeline in affected regions. Immediate relief measures include provision of first aid. M'hamed En-Nosse, Director of Operations and Regional Coordinator of Rescue and First Aid for the Moroccan Red Crescent in the Marrakesh-Safi region, said: "Moroccan Red Crescent volunteers have been responding to the emergency since the first hours following the earthquake. We are now mobilizing all our forces in collaboration with public authorities and with the support of the IFRC to assist those who have lost everything before the arrival of rain and cold weather. The journey ahead is long, but we will stand by the side of those affected for as long as necessary." While immediate needs for food and water have been met due to the strong community solidarity, safe shelter and sanitation remain a significant concern. Makeshift settlements are still home to thousands of families who require essential items ranging from mattresses and blankets to cooking utensils and hygiene supplies. Moreover, the need for solar-powered lighting and safety measures is increasingly apparent, especially in areas where restoring electricity will take weeks. As colder weather approaches, the likelihood of people cooking indoors and using gas heaters rises, elevating the risk of fires. In this context, financial support is critical for local procurement of essential supplies that address both immediate and evolving needs. On 12 September, the IFRC launched an emergency appeal for 100 million Swiss Francs (CHF) to direct overwhelming support from individuals both within Morocco and the international community. It aims to support the Moroccan Red Crescent in efforts ranging from immediate relief like health services, clean water, and sanitation, to medium-term solutions like community engagement and livelihood support. More information Your contribution can make an immediate difference. Click here to donate to our emergency appeal and support the people of Morocco in their time of need. To request an interview, please contact: [email protected] In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67 Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06 In Beirut: Mey Alsayegh: +961 3 229 352

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Morocco earthquake: Stories of heartbreak emerge in Tamaloukte

When the 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Morocco late at night on September 8, Said was out of town and away from his family home located in the small rural town of Tamaloukte—close to the earthquake’s epicentre. Immediately, he rushed back home through the rubble and debris of collapsed buildings that now inundate the surrounding roads. Upon arriving home, he discovered the remnants of his house—barely recognizable and almost completely destroyed by the earthquake. While he had been rushing home, Said’s father, Mohamed, had tried desperately to save his three grandchildren who were inside. But, tragically, two of Said’s three children—his 11 year-old daughter, Asma, and 5 year-old son, Ibrahim—did not survive. "I was sleeping at home when the earthquake hit. I was told that my second house [where the grandchildren were at] had collapsed, so I came rushing to save my grandchildren but found them under the rubble, unresponsive. The roof came down while they were inside,” explains Mohamed. Asma and Ibrahim are two of the 47 victims who have lost their lives to the earthquake in Tamaloukte. The Moroccan Red Crescent, with the support of the Qatar Red Crescent, has been giving Said’s family vital psychosocial support as they come to terms with their immense loss. Volunteers have also provided Said’s family with a tent, warm blankets, several mattresses and clothes to get through the initial aftermath of the disaster. This assistance is just the first step in what will likely be a long and difficult journey to recovery. Behind every stat or number in this crisis, there is a story: stories of lost loved ones, neighbours, friends. Stories of futures, stolen in an instant, and of broken homes. Through our Morocco earthquake emergency appeal, the IFRC network is supporting the Moroccan Red Crescent to be there for families like Said’s now, and long into the future. While we cannot replace what he has lost, we will do everything we can to help Said and his family rebuild their lives. -- To support people like Said who have lost everything due to the earthquake, please donate to our Morocco earthquake appeal today.

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Rebuilding lives: Cash assistance supports refugee family in Türkiye to recover from earthquakes

On 6 February 2023, Türkiye was shaken by two massive earthquakes—the most significant seismic events the country has faced in the past century. The earthquakes have left a lasting impact on the nation's southeast region and beyond, toppling buildings, disrupting people’s livelihoods, and leaving communities in distress. For refugee communities living in Türkiye, the earthquakes came as yet another blow in their journey to find a peaceful and safe life. Ahmad Al Saleh is a refugee from rural Hama, Syria. He and his family moved to Türkiye in 2015 due to the escalating conflict at home, settling in Antakya – just 100km away from the first earthquake’s epicentre. “At 4:30 AM, we were sleeping with the kids when we suddenly felt the house shaking. Out of fear, we ran straight outside. It was raining and the weather was so cold. It wasn’t an option for us to go back in, so we slept outside for ten days," says Ahmad. Thankfully, Ahmad’s wife and six young children weren’t physically harmed during the earthquakes. But other families living close by weren’t so lucky. "Seeing all those survivors, children and women all around the place crying… I didn’t know who to help first. I saw people crying over their children, others over their wives and some others over their siblings. I saw buildings that were totally damaged. It was impossible to clean the rubble," explains Ahmad. Before the earthquakes struck, Ahmad and his family had been receiving monthly cash assistance from the IFRC and Turkish Red Crescent through the EU-funded Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) programme. The ESSN provided refugees living in Türkiye with reliable support via prepaid debit cards—called 'KIZILAYKART' or 'Red Crescent card'—to help them cover their basic needs. After the earthquakes, we worked with the Turkish Red Crescent to increase this cash support to affected communities—providing a lifeline for families like Ahmad's to cover essentials like rent, electricity, water bills, and groceries when their lives were turned upside down. "Regarding work, it became a lot less now. I hope I keep receiving this assistance through the KIZILAYKART. Otherwise, it’s impossible for us to pay rent, especially since the prices have drastically increased now. There are no jobs, unfortunately. In agriculture, normally you work only for a couple of days, but now we’ve been left with nothing," says Ahmad. Several months on from the earthquakes, the Turkish Red Crescent and IFRC remain firmly by the sides of communities across Türkiye. We continue to help people like Ahmad recover from the long-lasting impacts of the earthquakes—knowing from our many years of experience that cash assistance is one of the best ways to help people recover from disasters with freedom, independence and dignity. -- More information: Click here to learn more about our Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) programme. Click here to learn more about the IFRC’s response to the earthquakes in Türkiye. And click here to learn more about cash assistance.

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Morocco: Earthquake

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Morocco on September 8, killing and injuring thousands of people and causing widespread destruction. The Moroccan Red Crescent Society (MRCS) responded immediately, providing first aid and psychosocial support, helping transport the injured to hospitals, evacuating people from damaged buildings and providing dignified burial management.Through this appeal, the IFRC is supporting MRCS to meet the immediate and early recovery needs of 500,000 affected people. Priorities include providing food and safe water, essential household items, shelter support, health and mental health services, and cash assistance.

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| Press release

Morocco earthquake: IFRC launches CHF 100 million emergency appeal to scale up relief efforts 

Geneva, 12 September 2023 - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal for 100 million Swiss Francs to further scale up relief efforts of the Moroccan Red Crescent. More than three days after the earthquake hit Morocco, aid is reaching more remote locations, but conditions are challenging. Since the disaster hit on Friday night, Moroccan Red Crescent teams have been working with Moroccan authorities. They are supporting search and rescue operations, providing first aid and psychosocial support, helping transport the injured to hospitals and evacuating people from damaged buildings, and providing food and water. Within 24 hours of the earthquake, we approved one million Swiss Francs from our Disaster Response Emergency Fund (the DREF) to support the Moroccan Red Crescent in their actions to provide immediate locally sourced relief. The emergency appeal we launch today will support the Moroccan Red Crescent work on both the most pressing needs and the medium-term temporary solutions. These include health, clean water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, relief items and basic needs (food, household essentials), livelihoods, protection and community engagement. The IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said “The IFRC is launching this appeal to harness the goodwill shown by so many towards the people of Morocco. The needs on the ground are great and will only grow over coming days and weeks. We ask partners and donors to continue to show solidarity with the people of Morocco and to help scale up our collective support to those communities hit by the earthquake. This emergency response is a marathon, not a sprint: people affected by the earthquake will need support for weeks and months to come. We will need to support them not only now, but in the future. Such a vast-scale earthquake needs long-lasting and sustainable support.” More information On the IFRC website, you can find a regularly updated webpage on the emergency response. Photos are available here. To request an interview, please contact: [email protected]  In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67 Andrew Thomas: +41 76 367 65 87 In Beirut: Mey Alsayegh: +961 3 229 352

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Morocco earthquake: IFRC and Moroccan Red Crescent response to date

This page was last updated on Monday 18 September. For updates on our earthquake response going forward, please visit out Morocco: Earthquake page. Click here to donate to our earthquake response in Morocco. A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Morocco on Friday, September 8, killing more than 3,000 people, injuring many more and causing widespread devastation. Moroccan Red Crescent (MRCS) teams were on the ground immediately, and have been since, coordinating closely with the IFRC and local authorities to assess the situation, support in the search and rescue operation and provide help to affected people. On 12 September, the IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal for 100 million Swiss francs to scale up the relief efforts of the Moroccan Red Crescent. Funding raised will help the Moroccan Red Crescent to provide health services, clean water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, relief items, food, livelihoods support, protection and community engagement activities. This appeal follows an allocation of1 million Swiss francs from the IFRC'sDisaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) to support Moroccan Red Crescent activity on the ground. Read more here about what assistance this funding is supporting. Other Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from around the world have also reached out to provide assistance. This emergency response is a marathon, not a sprint: people affected by the earthquake will need support for the weeks and months to come. Media enquiries If you are a journalist and would like more information or to request an interview about this emergency, please [email protected]. Photos Photos from the response so far are available here. We are adding new photos as they become available. Follow these Twitter accounts for the latest updates @IFRC @IFRC_MENA @elsharkawi- IFRC MENA Regional Director, Hossam Elsharkawi General information How to prepare for, and protect yourself during, earthquakes

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El Salvador: Red Cross supports communities before, during and after disasters

Rosa Cándida is a farmer from Las Maravillas village on the outskirts of Ahuachapán, western El Salvador. She and her husband, two daughters and two young granddaughters live off the land—growing maize, beans and sorghum in the lush countryside close to their home. In stark contrast to the idyllic setting, in recent years, Rosa has seen tropical storms, landslides, heavy rains and earthquakes devastate her country. El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, but it faces big disaster and climate-related risks. In 2022, Rosa was one of more than 1.7 million people who needed some form of humanitarian assistance or protection in the country due to disasters. An earthquake in January of this year damaged her home, creating big cracks in its mudbrick walls and forcing her family to sleep outside while they found the money needed to repair it. Half a day’s farming only generates just enough income for Rosa to feed her family for the day, meaning disasters like the earthquake have a drastic impact on her family’s finances and wellbeing. Thankfully, help arrived in the form of the Salvadoran Red Cross. Their teams quickly conducted an earthquake damage assessment and provided cash assistance to more than 600 families in the region—including Rosa’s. “Support from the Red Cross reached us and helped us buy food, medicines and other household items," she says. Red Cross teams completed two cash transfers, making sure the money got to the people who needed it most: "We prioritized households which were the most heavily affected by the earthquake and which included older people, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under five," explains Fatima Evora from the Salvadoran Red Cross. Cash assistance is one of many ways in which the Salvadoran Red Cross is helping local communities across the country to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters. Their volunteers have also been setting up early warning systems to prepare communities for droughts and floods, as well as helping people to adopt climate-smart livelihoods. And as part of the Programmatic Partnership between the IFRC, National Societies, and the European Union, the Salvadoran Red Cross organized community workshops earlier this year so people could learn about their disaster risks and know how to prepare. “We learned that there are green, yellow, orange and red alerts, and that each one indicates a different level of risk. We can be prepared and warn people via megaphones to evacuate and seek help,” says Juana Santa Maria, who attended a workshop in San Luis Herradura. “The most valuable thing has been to know that, as a community, we are able to seek help from the mayor's office, community development associations and civil protection personnel. Today we have more information to prepare for and respond to disasters,” she adds. -- In 2022, we reached 3,000 people in El Salvador through the Programmatic Partnership with the European Union. Implemented by 24 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world—including in Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Ecuador in the Americas—the Programmatic Partnership helps communities to reduce their risks and be better prepared for disasters and health emergencies. With the coordination of the Spanish Red Cross, Italian Red Cross and Norwegian Red Cross and support from the IFRC, the Salvadoran Red Cross is: Building community knowledge Providing assistance to people on the move Preventing and responding to health outbreaks Ensuring community perceptions and concerns are taken into account and used to improve their humanitarian assistance

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| Press release

Türkiye and Syria earthquakes: Six months on, IFRC calls for urgent support to meet immense ongoing needs

Ankara/Damascus, 3 August 2023: Six months after the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for urgent support to affected communities still reeling from the monumental impacts of the disaster. Although recovery efforts are well underway, the earthquakes have had an immeasurable impact, leading to the loss of thousands of lives and affecting millions more. “We have seen astounding resilience in communities, but people still find themselves stuck in a very difficult situation,” says Ruben Cano, IFRC Head of Delegation in Türkiye. “Many people in Türkiye – particularly those who lost their homes and income – are still struggling with their day-to-day needs, including paying for food, rent and other necessities. A ‘normal’ life is still far from reach.” Many people are falling deeper into debt to help cover their needs while they recover and build back income sources. More than 50 percent of families supported by the IFRC and Turkish Red Crescent are taking on new debts after the earthquakes as the country battles inflation and a drastic increase in prices. In Syria, the reality for many people is even more dire – the earthquake's impact, coupled with 12 years of conflict, has rendered recovery exceedingly challenging. The economic situation continues to push already vulnerable communities deeper into hardship and uncertainty. “The rescue phase of the earthquake response may have concluded, but the emergency situation persists,” says Mads Brinch Hansen, IFRC Head of Delegation in Syria. “Immediate international support is needed right now, both to meet immediate humanitarian needs, as well as to build people’s resilience and rehabilitate vital infrastructure and community services, which are on the brink of collapse.” The IFRC, together with the Turkish Red Crescent and Syrian Arab Red Crescent, has been at the very heart of this response since day one. Teams have been providing immediate relief to affected communities, including food, water, shelter, healthcare and mental health and psychosocial support. Financial support through cash and vouchers is helping many families recover as best they can, as is support for rebuilding businesses and opportunities for income. The IFRC launched two Emergency Appeals, one for Türkiye and one for Syria, totaling CHF 500 million. There is still a funding gap of 74% in Türkiye and 56% in Syria. Further support and funding are urgently needed to make a significant impact on the lives of those affected and empower individuals to rebuild their lives and contribute to their local economies in both Syria and Türkiye in the long term. Notes to the editor: More about the operation in Türkiye: click here The Turkish Red Crescent has been providing 416 million meals to affected communities and responders in the last six months while also ensuring people have clean water, essential hygiene items and health services. Teams have set up safe spaces offering mental health and psychosocial support to many children, parents, first responders and other individuals who need it. To help survivors buy the items they need as they recover, cash assistance has been given to more than 137,000 families in partnership with the IFRC and WFP. In partnership with the IFRC, the Turkish Red Crescent has reached over 590,000 people with cash and voucher assistance. For the short-term, multipurpose cash assistance gives people the opportunity to buy what they need the most, but it will also be a vital tool to provide livelihood assistance to those who lost their jobs or their sources of income. IFRC and the Turkish Red Crescent are currently ramping up aid support for livelihood assistance to people with a focus on agriculture, animal husbandry and small businesses. The IFRC Emergency Appeal is seeking CHF 400 million to support the Turkish Red Crescent response has already been funded up to CHF 105.5 million, thanks to some of our national societies’ support, the generosity of multiple governments, the European Union and the international community. The current funding gap is approximately 74 per cent. More about the operation in Syria: click here Communities affected by the earthquake in Syria are grappling with the daily struggle for survival, as access to necessities like food, water, shelter, and medical care is becoming increasingly scarce. Since day one, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) staff and volunteers were the first on the ground to respond, and they have provided more than 12 million humanitarian services, including food, water, shelter, healthcare and mental health support to the affected population. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent continues to be the main humanitarian actor in Syria and is covering the impacts of the earthquake on a broad scale, including food, water, shelter, healthcare and mental health support, and items to meet people’s basic needs. It will continue to support communities over the years to come. So far, SARC provides 80% of the Syrian population with safe water through the treatment and maintenance of damaged water infrastructure and has a network of 229 health facilities, which represent a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people across the country. The IFRC Emergency Appeal seeking CHF 100 million to support the SARC response has already been funded up to CHF 44million, with a current funding gap of approximately 56%. For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact: [email protected]  Global: Anna Tuson: +41 79 895 6924 Syria: Mey Al Sayegh: +96176174468 Türkiye: Sevil Erkus: +905366449122

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7 disasters in the Americas in 2023 that you may not have heard about

Disasters and crises happen all the time around the world. Some make international headlines – like the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria or the international armed conflict in Ukraine – but others go unheard of to people outside the countries where they strike. These smaller, lesser-known disasters still claim lives, destroy livelihoods, and set entire communities back. The Americas region alone has faced many small and medium-sized disasters so far this year. But while these disasters may have gone unnoticed to the wider world, Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies across the region have been there – right by the side of communities. The IFRC has supported – getting money to our National Societies quickly through our Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) so they can prepare and respond effectively. Let’s take a look at seven disasters in the Americas you may not have heard about from the first half of 2023, and how the IFRC network has supported the people affected. 1. Chile - forest fires: In Febuary 2023, strong winds and high temperatures caused dozens of forest fires across central and southern Chile, leading to casualties and widespread damage. They followed earlier, destructive forest fires in December 2022 that spread rapidly around the city of Viña del Mar. With DREF funding, the Chilean Red Cross provided support to more than 5,000 people affected by the fires over the following months. Staff and volunteer teams provided medical support to communities and distributed cash so that people could buy the things they needed to recover. More information. 2. Uruguay - drought: Uruguay is currently experiencing widespread drought due to a lack of rainfall since September 2022 and increasingly high temperatures in the summer seasons—prompting the Uruguayan government to declare a state of emergency. The government officially requested the support of the Uruguayan Red Cross to conduct a needs assessment of the drought, so it could understand how it was impacting people and agricultural industries. With funding from the DREF, Uruguayan Red Cross teams headed out into the most-affected areas to speak to more than 1,300 familiesabout the drought’s impact on their health, livelihoods and access to water. Their findings are helping the government to make better-informed decisions on how to address the drought, taking into account the real needs of those affected. This is the first time DREF funding has been used to support a damage assessment in this way. More information. 3. Paraguay - floods: In February and March 2023, heavy rains in northern Paraguay caused severe flooding—forcing many families to abandon their homes and paralyzing key infrastructure and industries. The Paraguayan Red Cross responded, providing first aid and psychosocial support to people in temporary shelters. Volunteers also shared information with communities on how to protect themselves from water-borne diseases and from the increase in mosquitoes. More information. 4. Ecuador - floods, earthquake, and landslides: In the first quarter of 2023, Ecuador was struck by several, simultaneous disasters—floods, landslides, building collapses, hailstorms and an earthquake—that put the Ecuadorian Red Cross to the test. Their volunteers deployed quickly provided wide-ranging support to people affected--including shelter, health care, water, sanitation and cash assistance. They also conducted surveys to understand exactly how people had been affected, and what they most needed to recover. More information. 5. Argentina - floods: In June, heavy rains caused flash flooding in the municipality of Quilmes, Buenos Aires, affecting an estimated 4,000 families. The flooding caused power outages, road closures and a contamination of water supplies—prompting the local authorities to request the support of the Argentine Red Cross. Volunteer teams quickly mobilized to provide first aid and psychosocial support to people who had moved to evacuation centres in the area. In the coming weeks and months, the Argentine Red Cross – with DREF funding – will provide shelter, health, water, sanitation and hygiene support to 500 of the most vulnerable families affected by the floods. More information. 6. Haiti floods: Flash floods also struck Haiti in early June following an exceptionally heavy rainstorm that swept the entire country. Though not classified as a cyclone or tropical downpour, the rainstorm nonetheless affected thousands of families, claimed more than 50 lives and submerged entire houses. The Haitian Red Cross quicklydeployed rescue workers to provide first aid and assist with evacuations. Working alongside Movement partners, and with DREF support, they’ve also been distributing mattresses, shovels, rakes, hygiene kits, water treatment kits and plastic sheeting. In a country already experiencing a cholera epidemic, Haitian Red Cross volunteers continue to share important information with communities about how to stay healthy and adopt good hygiene practices—especially important due to the increased risk from flood waters. More information. 7. Dominican Republic - floods: This same rainstorm in Haiti also affected communities across the border in the Dominican Republic, causing flash flooding in the country’s west. The Dominican Red Cross has been providing humanitarian assistance in the form of search and rescue, evacuation, health and hygiene services, psychological first aid and restoring family links (RFL) services. More information. -- These are just a few examples of the many disasters that have hit the Americas so far this year. With DREF support, Red Cross Societies across the region have been able to respond quickly to these disasters—providing effective and local humanitarian assistance directly to those who need it. If you would like to help our network to continue responding to smaller disasters like these, please consider donating to our Disaster Response Emergency Fund today.

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IFRC statement at the Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region pledging conference

Excellencies, distinguished representatives, ladies, and gentlemen, for years we have gathered here to support the future of Syria and the region. After years of unrelenting conflict, the collapse of the Syrian economy, and a recent, devastating earthquake there is still no solution in sight. And the scale of the crisis outstrips our collective humanitarian response. The IFRC with its long-time presence in Syria, supports Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC)—the country’s largest community-based provider of humanitarian assistance to deliver quality and accountable services. SARC provides 5 million people each month with food and relief items and supports their longer-term resilience with livelihoods support, healthcare, water, and sanitation services. In neighbouring and host countries, the IFRC and its members, with the support of the European Union and other partners, have been providing assistanceto Syrians and host communities. We hope this continues. The pressure to expand our humanitarian programmes is immense. Aid alone will not reduce the humanitarian needs or contribute to a long-term resilience and sustainable recovery in Syria. This conference is a vital opportunity to focus on a key message: Saving lives must be our collective priority. SARC has unparalleled and trusted access in most of the country. Investing in local actors like SARC and National Societies in neighbouring countries is essential. Guaranteeing their unhindered delivery of assistance ensures that donor funding is directly supporting humanitarian and recovery programmes designed by and for communities who need it most. Ensuring basic services, and long-term economic opportunities, are critical to millions of Syrians. Livelihoods support, and strengthening basic services like health, sanitation, and education are long-term interventions that build resilience and must be developed with the needs of the Syrian people at centre-stage. We must also continue to work together to reduce the unintended impacts of sanctions on humanitarian response. The IFRC, closely working with other Movement partners, will continue to deliver impartial, neutral, and independent humanitarian aid, but to do so, we need collective and convergent leadership across the political divide. It is time for real responsibility-sharing and real solidarity amongst the international community if we want to see real and sustainable impactful change in the lives of Syrian people. Thank you.

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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.

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