Malawi: Tropical Storm Ana 2022
Tropical Storm Ana lashed the Southern and Central Districts of Malawi from Monday 24 January, bringing strong winds and heavy rains. In a matter of hours communities were being washed out by significant floods. More than 500,000 people are estimated to have been affected and infrastructure and power supplies have been significantly damaged. This Emergency Appeal enables the IFRC to support the Malawi Red Cross in meeting the immediate needs of displaced families, helping them rebuild their homes and livelihoods, and reducing their risk to future disasters.
| Press release
Climate Change: Red Cross calls for more investments in local action as European and African leaders meet in Brussels
Nairobi, Kenya. 17 February 2022 – As parts of Southern Africa are reeling from the impacts of tropical storms and cyclones and other parts of the continent are facing severe droughts, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling for urgent investment in local action to combat the effects of climate change. The call comes ahead of the 6th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit which gets underway today in Brussels, Belgium.
Recently, tropical storm Ana in Mozambique, Malawi, and Madagascar, and cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar again, left hundreds of thousands of people displaced, homes destroyed, and infrastructure worth billions of dollars damaged. At the same time, humanitarian organizations in Africa warned this week of a catastrophic hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa (Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia) where more than 20 million people are feared to face starvation because of prolonged drought. The Sahel and West Africa, particularly Nigeria, also face a deteriorating food security situation.
Mohammed Mukhier, the Regional Director for IFRC Africa said:
“What we are witnessing is a manifestation of the impact of climate change on the continent. We need to strengthen investments in local preventative measures that build people’s ability to cope with these intensifying disasters.”
Countries in Africa are only responsible for four per cent of global carbon emissions, and at the same time disproportionately affected by the widespread consequences of climate change and accelerated environmental degradation. Yet, climate financing pledged by world leaders is slow to reach the people on the ground who are most exposed to climate risks.
Ahead of the Summit, the IFRC calls for renewed efforts to build and implement a new Africa-EU Partnership that would answer to the needs of the most vulnerable people exposed to the impacts of climate change and the environmental crisis, strengthen food and health security and address forced migration. In the longer term, the role of local actors should be strengthened to support communities in building resilience and addressing humanitarian and development challenges on the continent.
Communities in Africa and elsewhere are also increasingly impacted by multiple hazards in addition to the changing climate, which are compounding their vulnerabilities and affecting their capacity to cope.
“Communities can hardly recover before they are hit by another disaster. Madagascar is a case in point where we saw a devastating drought last year, and before those effects could be relieved, some of those same communities have been impacted by cyclone Batsirai recently.” said Andoniaina Ratsimamanga, Secretary-General of the Malagasy Red Cross Society.
To support countries to cope, there is an urgent need to address underlying vulnerabilities in communities, including poverty and marginalization, and providing support to those most exposed to the impacts of climate change. At the same time, there is incredible potential that lies within the African continent to address these challenges, including innovative approaches by young people and women to issues such as land restoration and the use of digital platforms.
For more information, or to request an interview, please contact:
In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe, +254 735 437 906, [email protected]
In South Africa: Thandie Mwape, +27 66 486 8455, [email protected]
Madagascar: Tropical storm and cyclone
Torrential rains and widespread flooding in early 2022 severely affected communities across Madagascar. The country was badly hit by Tropical Storm Ana on 23 January followed byCyclone Batsiraion 5 February, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. This Emergency Appeal enables the IFRC to support the Malagasy Red Cross in helping vulnerable people impacted by these multiple weather systems. Priorities includefood assistance, emergency shelter and non-food items, water, sanitation and hygiene services, as well as health, nutrition and protection services.
| Press release
Madagascar: More than 4 million people at risk as Tropical Cyclone Batsirai bears down on eastern coast
Antananarivo/Nairobi, 4 February 2022—Tropical Cyclone Batsirai, is expected to strike the Atsinanana region of Madagascar tomorrow, only weeks after tropical storm Ana wreaked havoc in the country. Ahead of its landfall, Madagascar Red Cross Society’s teams in the region are preparing emergency relief items and helping communities in the path of the cyclone to move to safe areas.
Andoniaina Ratsimamanga, the Secretary General of Madagascar Red Cross said:
“Communities across the Atsinanana region are worried about the potential widespread damage the cyclone could cause. Many families urgently need temporary shelters, especially those whose homes are located in the areas that are likely to be impacted by the cyclone.
It is predicted that about 4.4 million people are at risk across 14 districts; with about 595,000 expected to be directly affected, and more than 150,000 likely to be displaced. Red Cross teams Atsinanana region are rushing to make necessary preparations, with a view to saving as many lives as possible.
“Madagascar Red Cross Society’s teams and partners are on high alert and are deployed in communities, warning them of the approaching storm. Red Cross teams are moving prepositioned emergency stocks from Grand Tana area (Ananalamanga) to Tamatave (Atsinanana), for ease of access. We are concerned by the size and projected impact of this intense cyclone. Our immediate response activities will focus on saving lives, and they will include search and rescue operations,” added Ratsimamanga.
Moreover, Red Cross teams are working with the Government to identify and set up safe buildings which will be utilized as emergency accommodation centres.
With emergency response efforts still ongoing due to the impact of tropical storm Ana that hit the Madagascar in late January, the impact of Batsirai could worsen the overall country’s humanitarian situation. The country’s emergency response efforts are overstretched, and the situation remains critical due to the impact of the recent widespread flooding, water stagnation and landslides caused by tropical storm Ana. At least 55 deaths have been recorded and more than 130,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to temporary shelters or host families in the last few weeks. The country is still grappling with a prolonged hunger crisis since 2021. IFRC and its partners are stepping up preparedness and response efforts, to assist more people—both those affected by Ana and those that are likely to be impacted by Batsirai
IFRC’s Programmes and Operations Coordinator in Madagascar, Denis Bariyanga, who is overseeing emergency preparedness efforts, said.
“We are already helping 2000 families affected by tropical storm Ana to meet their immediate needs. With the landfall of Batsirai, many more families in the country will require emergency relief items, including blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, water, sanitation and hygiene, among others.”
The IFRC had already released 428,609 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 26 January 2022, to support Madagascar Red Cross to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene services, healthcare, and psychosocial support, as well as cash assistance for shelter, livelihood and basic needs. More financial resources are needed to meet the increasing needs on the ground. IFRC is revising its emergency appeal for funding the crisis response.
For more information, or to request an interview, please contact:
Mialy Caren Ramanantoanina, +261 329 842 144, [email protected]
Ny Antsa Mirado Rakotondratsimba, +261 34 54 458 76, [email protected]
Denis Bariyanga, (WhatsApp: +250 786 527 056), [email protected]
María Mercedes Martínez; +261 32 1132 624, [email protected]
Euloge Ishimwe, +254 735 437 906, [email protected]
Mozambique: 2021-2022 floods and cyclones
Tropical Cyclone Eloise hit Mozambique on 23 January 2021, bringing devastating winds and extreme rainfall in Beira and surrounding districts. The cyclone caused severe flooding which claimed ten lives and caused massive damage. This Emergency Appeal has now been revised toinclude the impact of Tropical Storm Ana which made landfall on 24 January 2022 anddestroyed thousands of homes as well as dozens of schools and hospitals. An estimated 125,000 people have been affected, with many people already highly vulnerable from Eloise and other disasters in recent years.
No more excuses! The next disaster is coming, what are you doing about it?
By Robert Kaufman, Head of Philippines Country Office, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Imagine getting hit by six typhoons during a deadly pandemic. For millions of people in the Philippines, this is their reality as 2020 comes crashing to a close. Predictions of the increasing severity and frequency of emergencies have come true.
It’s heart-breaking, exhausting, and scary. But most of all it’s frustrating as much of this human and economic toll can be prevented.
We have known about the brutal effects of climate change for a long time, yet we haven’t been doing enough to fix it. Debates about the effects of climate change or whether partners should support more preparedness are failing people. If your roof blows off three times in one month and this extreme weather happens with relentless certainty, there’s nothing to debate. It is time to prepare more for what’s coming.
We know that the Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, topping the charts with the most disasters of all countries the past two years. It’s number two for the past decade just behind China.
We know the number of climate-related disasters has risen almost 35% since the 1990s. The stuff of Hollywood movies has become a reality for tens of millions of people around the world, as they face bigger, more violent storms and more disease outbreaks.
For decades we anticipated another pandemic. Hollywood blockbusters told horror stories of contagious diseases. Since 2008, we’ve seen fantasy become reality with several pandemics, the H1N1 flu virus, SARS and now COVID-19. Yet somehow, the world has been taken by surprise.
Let’s make no mistake, we have made inroads. Governments, humanitarian agencies and countless communities deserve credit for helping to save lives. Just seven years ago, the most destructive typhoon to hit the Philippines on record, Haiyan, killed close to 7,000 people. When Typhoon Goni hit in 2020, a storm as strong as Haiyan, less than 70 lives were lost. Still, I’m frustrated.
Early on in management, I learned that when you spend significant time and money on something, it is a priority. Most of the time and money in the aid sector is still spent on response, as if we don’t know what’s coming; neither the humanitarian community, the policymakers, nor the big donors.
Why are we not using our extraordinary capacity to anticipate crises to prioritize our time and money? What price do we need to place on the lives of people who have died or had their livelihoods ripped apart by disease and disaster before we change our priorities?
Today, we largely know the types of risks we are going to face, where they are going to hit and even in many cases, when. Many of the answers are clear as day.Typhoons strike the Philippines every November and December. Floods always follow drought in East Africa.
We know the risks and we know what to do about it. The latest study on the value of preparedness confirms what we already knew. Every dollar invested in reducing risks from climate-related disasters saves us $6 when we are fixing up the mess, according to the United States Institute of Building Sciences and the United Nations.
Super Typhoon Goni packed the most powerful winds of any storm in the world last year. Together with typhoon Vamco and other major storms, they came at a huge cost, seriously affecting the lives of more than 8.1 million people. More than 425,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed.
Among the millions whose livelihoods were disrupted, at least 200,000 farmers and fishermen lost their only source of income. The cost of agricultural damages totalled more than ₱12.3 billion (US260m) according to the Philippines Department of Agriculture.
Together, the storms were considered the secondmost expensive typhoons on record, costing more than $US 1 billion.
Money normally reserved for responding after disasters strike needs to be made available earlier and for longer-term solutions.
We need to stop soil erosion, plant trees and improve drainage. We need to avoid crop wastage with better grain storage and irrigation. We need to build safer houses with stronger and more permanent foundations. We need to protect land rights and strengthen economic development and social protection programs so that people are not dependent on aid when disaster strikes.
There needs to be a public accounting of how well resource allocation aligns with scientific prediction and the lessons we have learned.
We must put our money where our mouth is. Failing is a dereliction of our responsibility to those most at risk and to ourselves.
This past year, millions have faced often insurmountable hardships and heartache. We have a duty to protect the hope and dignity of those we pledge to support by ensuring everyone has a fair chance of a decent life.
There just can’t be any more excuses.
Syria: Red Crescent brings hope and warmth to communities affected by harsh winter
By Karina Lapteva, IFRC
During winter, IFRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) increase humanitarian response efforts to help children and families to cope with the cold weather in most affected areas.
Years of war brought destruction to many areas in Homs, Rural Damascus, Aleppo, Raqqa, Dier Ez Zor and Dar’a. Large numbers of displaced people are returning destroyed homes and have limited or no access to basic services. Khaled Erksoussi, Secretary General of SARC, said: “It is our humanitarian duty to spare no efforts to bring a lifeline to the most affected people, and to help families and communities in their efforts to resume their normal life.”
SARC, with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has been able to bring support to around 200,000 boys, girls, women and men - including by convoy to Dier Ez Zor, Raqqa, Aleppo, Dara’a and East Ghouta – since October 2018. Similar operations to Hassake and other locations are being planned.
Through the IFRC-supported network of 31 health facilities operated by SARC in areas where the system is heavily disrupted, approximately 400,000 people per year have access to emergency and basic health care services. In addition, SARC and IFRC continue to increase efforts to help households and communities rebuild their lives and livelihoods - in 2018, 110,000 people were reached with tailored livelihood interventions in rural and urban areas.
However, much more still needs to be done. IFRC urgently seeks support for its Syria: Complex Emergency Appeal to guarantee an uninterrupted provision of first aid and primary health care; timely delivery of life-saving and life-sustaining emergency relief and special winter assistance for children, and household and community-based livelihoods interventions. The appeal currently has a threatening funding shortfall of 15.4 million Swiss francs.