Kenya - Floods
Recent severe flooding in Kenya, caused by unusually active El Niño rains, has killed at least 71 people and displaced many thousands of people. Households have been washed away or are marooned. Farmland has been submerged and livestock drowned.Some of the hardest hit areas have been the semi-arid lands where pastoralism is the economic driver. These areas are still recovering from the worst drought in 40 years. The IFRC and its membership seek CHF 18 million (CHF 10 million of which is expected to be raised by the IFRC Secretariat) to reach 50,000 households with life-saving assistance.
El Nino expected to make Malawi’s lean season even leaner
By Anne Wanjiru
IFRC Senior Communications Officer
Almost every family in Malawi is a farming family, a source of great strength for the country’s economy. This was seen a few decades ago when the country was regularly exporting agricultural produce to neighboring nations.
However, this means most families have also been extremely vulnerable to climatic stresses and shocks.
"Year after year, it’s been getting harder to get good yields from farming and get a good earning,” says Martha Makaniko, a farmer from Chiwalo village in Mulanje. “We no longer rely on regular weather patterns. I used to get eight bags of maize from my field. Now I would be lucky to get two. I have prepared my land awaiting the rains but have no money to buy seeds or fertilizer."
When tropical cyclone Freddy hit Malawi in March 2023, Martha watched as her entire crop was washed away. Like thousands of other farming families, she not only lost her crops.
“My house collapsed,” says Martha, who is also ill and in need of money for medical assistance. “I stayed in the shelter for several months. I spent my entire lifesavings building a new house. This set me back. We eat nothing, but porridge made from raw mangoes.”
Boiled fruit and poisoned yams
People don’t normally boil fruit for food in Malawi, so Martha’s mango porridge is an indication that a lot of families are running out of choices. According to the Malawi government’s Vulnerability Assessment Committee Report, more than 4.4 million peopleare facing hunger.
The economic downturn, as well as the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have all exacerbated the hunger situation in Malawi.
In the last 18 months,Malawi’s currency – the Malawian Kwacha – has been devalued twice. This has caused inflation on everything, including critical supplies such as seeds and fertilizer.
Some farmers find it too expensive to manage their own farms, and decide to do piecework in other people’s fields, a common coping alternative among farming families that is also proving to be very competitive.
Those that cannot find any piece work at all will scavenge for wild yams or raw mangoes to boil and feed their families.
A variety of wild yams is poisonous, however, and the difference can be hard to tell. Fani Mayesu recently lost her husband and 19-year-old son after consuming poisonous wild yams.
“We didn’t know they were poisonous,” she says, with a look of disbelief. “My husband brought them, I prepared them, and we all ate. Immediately we begun getting sick and vomiting. My other 5 children and I recovered but not my husband and one son.”
El Nino’s first waves
According to forecasts, the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. International and national Meteorological agencies say the upcoming 2023/24 rainy season (also known as the lean season when food supplies diminish) in Malawi is expected to be influenced by El Niño. In the past, El Niño conditions have been linked to a delayed start of the rainfall season, below-normal precipitation, and dry spells.
The Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) in its lean-season response plan will seek to prioritise highly affected districts. This is aimed at strengthening community capacity to cope with the food insecurity while sustaining other resilience building activities.
“We hope to not only address the immediate acute food security needs but to also respond to climate predictions through interventions such as distributing early maturing seed varieties,’ says Prisca Chisala, director of programmes and development at MRCS. “We also plan to support winter cropping and encourage crop diversification to adopt drought resistant crops to address the gaps in production.”
Red Cross response
Through the support of IFRC and partner National Societies, MRCS needs over CHF 3 million to help close to 100,000 people by:
• providing food assistance in forms of cash-based transfer, wet feeding in schools and in-kind support
• strengthening community resilience through promotion of livelihood and risk reduction,
• protection of all vulnerable groups from violence, sexual violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect and ensure that human rights are respected.
“It’s critical that we support the farming family’s resilience to attain a harvest after this rainy season, otherwise we will see significant rise in hunger levels,” says John Roche, head of IFRC's cluster delegation for Malawi. Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“Time is of essence here to avert a worsening situation from the El-Nino predictions. Only a rapid, effective, and well-resourced response is urgently needed to mitigate the crisis from long-term impacts.”
Malawi: Tropical Storm Freddy floods
Tropical Storm Freddy ripped through southern Malawi on 12 March, bringing 300-400mm of rainfall in the first 48 hours alone. The rains brought sudden, violent and destructive flash floods and landslides which have caused extensive damage to, and in some cases completely washed away, homes, schools, health centres, agricultural lands and infrastructure. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC is supporting the Malawi Red Cross to meet urgent shelter, health, water, sanitation and hygiene needs. Together, our aim is to help 160,000 affected people recover in a safe and dignified manner, and help them improve their resilience to future shocks.
| Press release
IFRC launches CHF 18 million appeal for El Niño-induced flood relief in Kenya
Nairobi/Geneva, 24November2023—The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) havelaunched an emergency appeal for 18 million Swiss Francs.This fund is essential in supporting the response to the El Niño-enhanced floodsthat continue to impactKenya.
Mohamed Babiker,IFRCHead of Delegation, Nairobi Country Cluster for Somaliaand Kenya, said:
“The El Niño floods have triggereda major humanitarian crisis that is affecting millions of people.We are workingclosely with the Kenya Red Cross Society to provideemergency relief to those affected by the floods.”
Since early November, Kenya has faced severe flooding, leading to loss of lives, property damage, and a burgeoning humanitarian crisis.The heavy rains in the region have also affected countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania, necessitatinga widescale humanitarian response.
Dr. Ahmed Idris, Secretary General,Kenya Red Cross Society,said:
“We are dealing with a situation where entire communitieshave either been submerged or marooned. Roads and other critical infrastructure have been cut off, disruptingthedelivery of vital supplies. We need tourgentlyprovidefood, clean waterand medical supplies to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.”
The Kenya Red Cross Society’s response includes emergency shelter, psychosocial support, early warning dissemination, and supplying food and water to over 10,000 households. An initialIFRC allocation of CHF 749,939 has supported these efforts. The new Emergency Appeal will enable scaling up of life-saving activities, focusing on shelter, livelihoods, health, water, sanitation, and nutrition.
The ongoing rains pose a continued threat, highlighting the need to augment the Kenya Floods Emergency Appeal efforts.
For more details, visittheKenya Red Cross Societywebsite andtheIFRC appeal donation page.
To request an interview, please contact: me[email protected]
Peter Abwao, Kenya Red Cross Society:+254 711590911
Anne Macharia,IFRC:+254720 787 764
Timothy Maina, IFRC: +254110 848 161
Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67
Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06
Vanuatu: Cyclone Lola
Tropical Cyclone Lola made landfall on the eastern shores of Vanuatu’s Maewo and Pentecost islands on the night of 25 October as a category 4 storm with 205 km/hr winds. Heavy rainfalls with flash flooding were experienced over low-lying areas and close to riverbanks causing coastal flooding. It is estimated that approximately 200,000 people were exposed to the effect of the cyclone, with estimates of 150,000 people (30,000 Households) being more directly affected (close to half the country’s population). The IFRC and its membership are seeking CHF 2.5 million to support Vanuatu Red Cross Society to provide support to 30,000 people in need of assistance following the cyclone.
| Press release
One month after Libya floods: Urgent mental health support needed
Geneva/Beirut/Benghazi, 11 October 2023 — One month after devastating floods struck Libya, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Libyan Red Crescent Society (LRCS) are urgently calling for support to meet immediate needs in clean water, sanitation, cash assistance, and crucially, psychosocial support. The floods have wreaked havoc, displaced thousands and straining already fragile infrastructures in regions such as Derna and Tobruk.
The disaster led to overwhelming destruction, with people losing homes, family members, and their sense of security. Libyan Red Crescent Society teams were the first responders, providing vital services from search and rescue to first aid. To date, 450 dedicated volunteers have been actively involved in these efforts, some even losing their lives while saving others.
Tamer Ramadan, IFRC Head of Delegation in Libya, said:
"The emotional and physical toll of this disaster has been immense. While we have been diligent in our immediate response, the recovery process is far from over. Attention must not wane."
In Libya, the focus of aid is not just immediate relief but also long-term recovery. Cultural norms favor financial autonomy; hence cash assistance is essential. Furthermore, with damaged sewerage systems contaminating water sources in Derna, there's a heightened risk to community health. Teams are also focusing on providing holistic psychosocial support, especially given the emotional toll of losing entire families.
The LRCS has been indispensable in relief efforts. With a central emergency operation room in Benghazi and two temporary centers in Derna, their services range from family reunification to relief item distribution. They've supported over 54,000 people through various services to date.
In light of the escalating needs, IFRC has officially launched an appeal for 10 million Swiss francs to support the ongoing efforts of LRCS in providing comprehensive aid and care for survivors. As of now, 3 million Swiss francs have been raised, leaving a crucial 70 percent of funding appeal yet to be met. Donations can be made through participating national societies and directly via the IFRC website.
To fund the emergency appeal and support the people of Libya 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]
Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67
Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06
Mey Alsayegh: +961 3 229 352
Terrified of rain and sea: Mental health a ticking time bomb in Libya after devastating floods
By Mey Al Sayegh, IFRC MENA Head of Communications
Something as ordinary as rainy days and nearby seashores have sadly become a source of fear for those living in eastern Libya, especially for those who experienced first-hand the massive floods that swept-away their homes, cars, and loved ones in the blink of an eye, on the night of 11 September.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the most of the citizens of the worst-hit city of Derna, whose memories are burdened with painful images, are in need of some kind of psychosocial or mental health support. Signs of experienced trauma, such as children screaming during their sleep or sleepwalking, have become a nightly occurrence in Derna, and even in the nearby city of Benghazi, which is where most of families fled the devastation.
Urgent mental health support needed
In a poignant example from last week, two Libyan Red Crescent volunteers, well-versed in dealing with disasters, ran terrified to the Derna branch and hurriedly closed the doors behind them closed the doors because it had started to rain.
“People are associating rain with death," said Ali Gharor, mental health and psychosocial support officer at the Libyan Red Crescent Society. “All groups of people in the city need psychological support, including volunteers.”
Even those who have sought safety in Benghazi are affected. Haya Al-Hadar, a Libya Red Crescent volunteers, shares how the Red Crescent tried to provide a chalet for a family by the sea but they adamantly refused:
“I will never forget that night. I received a call at 1:30 am, and I was informed that the man refused to stay near the sea, because of his fear of coastal areas," he recalled. "[He] insisted on returning with his wife and children to where they came from. We provided them with an apartment outside the city.”
Despite Libyan Red Crescent providing psychosocial support and psychological first aid, the need for mental health professionals in the region is urgent.
“Children and the elderly visit my clinic on a daily basis and ask for psychological support in this field hospital," saysDr. Al-Siddiq Al-Haj Ali, who serves as head of mental health at the Misrata Center affiliated with the Libyan Ministry of Health and who also volunteers in Derna."Time is of the essence. If those affected are not given psychological support during the next three to six months, we can expect to see more psychological disorders and even cases of suicide.”
Red Crescent volunteers among the affected
Through IFRC’s visits to affected areas and conversations with volunteers, it was evident that Libyan Red Crescent volunteers are also in dire need of mental health support, some of them having lost their families, loved ones, and homes.
For volunteer Hamdi Ahmed Belaid, one of the first responders to the disaster, time has stood still since the night of 11 September, when a phone call he received from his mother at approximately 2:15 am turned out to be the last time he heard her voice. When Hamdi returned to his neighborhood he was devastated at the sight of his home having been swept away, taking the lives of his parents and three brothers as well as the lives of many neighbours.,
In spite of his personal tragedy, Hamdi insists on continuing his work to help those affected: “Assisting those affected cools the fire in my heart," he adds.
Ali Gharor, the mental health and psychosocial support officer for the Libyan Red Crescent, understands Hamdi's predicament very well.“Unfortunately, there seems to be no time for volunteers to grieve, and this will likely reflect negatively on them later on," he says. "Our customs and traditions are also preventing some of them from showing weakness, but it is necessary to let grief take its time.”
IFRC specialized mental health unit will support Libyan Red Crescent
Given the massive needs, IFRC and other Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement partners have agreed with the Libyan Red Crescent to provide support in this critical field, while being mindful of the cultural context and customs in relation to mental health support in the country.
The IFRC is preparing to send an emergency response unit specializing in mental health and psychosocial support to the affected areas very soon. Raja Assaf, Head of IFRC Emergency Operations in Libya, explains that the unit will include mental health specialists, medication and other equipment, as well as a team to train more local Libyan Red Crescent staff and volunteers in providing psychosocial support.
“For us and the Libyan Red Crescent, this is a clear priority as we definitely try to avoid any mental health ticking time bomb and care for those affected as best as we can,” he concludes.
| Press release
“From satellites to sandbags”: Putting water at the heart of climate action.
Geneva, 22 September 2023 -As proved so tragically in Libya last week, while water holds the key to life, alltoo often it kills.
Whether – like in Derna - it’s too much water leading to floods, or too little water causing droughts, or polluted water resulting in health risks, addressing the dangers that water poses can save lives. As climate change intensifies these threats, there is an urgent need for action.
That is why a new collaboration matters so much.
With funding and support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands ‘Water at the Heart of Climate Action’ is an ambitious partnership between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), The Netherlands Red Cross, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF).
This collaboration will combine local knowledge and global technology to help communities understand and act on the water-related risks they face - before they become disasters. The programme is focused on supporting the countries of Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan,and Uganda, which make up the Nile River basin. These countries are not only among the Least Developed Countries in the world but are also highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. To ensure the implementation of this five-year partnership, the Government of the Netherlands has generously committed 52 million Swiss Francs (55 million euros).
The aim of the ‘Water at the Heart’ collaboration is to address climate-related risks that too often fall between the cracks of most country-level water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) policies. It will focus on practical, locally-driven action to better anticipate disasters and prepare communities well in advance. It will also use the latest science and technology to monitor and forecast weather and water-related hazards. It furthermore invests in communications technologies to warn communities of what is coming and enable early action. As a result, this programme is a direct contribution to the implementation of the UN Secretary General’s ‘Early Warnings for All’ initiative.
Jagan Chapagain, the Secretary General of the IFRC said:
“Water is life. But too much or too little water can wreak havoc on people’s lives and homes. Almost three-quarters of all recent humanitarian disasters were water related. This initiative makes mitigation of the impact of such disasters an absolute priority. With thousands of IFRC network volunteers across South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda, the IFRC network is uniquely positioned to deliver innovative and trusted local action. Through our partners, those actions can be informed by technology including the best forecasting and observation. This really is a ‘sandbags to satellites’ all-encompassing initiative.”
Mami Mizutori, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the head of UNDRR said:
“To save lives, lift people out of poverty and ensure that development gains are sustainable and irreversible, we must stop hazards from becoming disasters. Water at the Heart of Climate Action is a demonstration of the commitment of the Netherlands to helping some of the most vulnerable countries build their resilience in the face of climate change.”
Maarten van Aalst, Director General of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) said:
“As a national Meteorological Institute, we see the rapid increase in weather extremes in our changing climate, and we realize that we need partnerships all across society to make sure our warnings lead to early actions. The Netherlands’ vulnerability as a low-lying delta is significantly reduced by the power of good data and predictions, and the ability to act on that information — from satellites to sandbags. Water at the heart will strengthen our peers in the Global South to deliver similar services, and KNMI is proud to be supporting those efforts with peer support.”
WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas said:
“The majority of hazards are water-related, particularly floods and droughts. Climate change will further increase the frequency and severity of these events. End-to-end early warning systems are critical to save lives and minimize the impact of disasters. WMO is working with SOFF to close the basic weather and climate observation data gap and strengthen the foundational element of better data for better forecasts. Water at the Heart of Climate Action will make a tangible contribution to the Early Warnings for All initiative.”
Paul Bekkers, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, WTO and other international organizations in Geneva, said:
“Water should not be posing risks to vulnerable frontline communities! On the contrary, we can empower communities to transform water from a hazard into a valuable resource. By leveraging indigenous knowledge and investing in early warning systems. The Netherlands proudly supports this partnership that places the needs of local communities at the heart of water action!”
REPRESENTATIVES WILL BE TALKING ABOUT ‘WATER AT THE HEART’ AT THE UN PRESS BRIEFING IN GENEVA FROM 10.30AM ON FRIDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER. THE VIDEO OF THE BRIEFING WILL BE POSTED HERE SHORTLY AFTERWARDS.
FOR INTERVIEWS WITH THOSE INVOLVED, PLEASE CONTACT VIA THE DETAILS BELOW
IFRC - Andrew Thomas / [email protected] / +41763676587
CLIMATE CENTRE - Alex Wynter / [email protected] / +447717470855
WMO – Clare Nullis / [email protected] / +41797091397
SOFF - Pauline Trepczyk / [email protected] / +41796407857
UNDRR – Jeanette Elsworth / [email protected] / +41766911020
PERMAMENT REPRESENTATION OF THE NETHERLANDS - Joyce Langewen / [email protected] / +41794486110
NETHERLANDS RED CROSS - Bastiaan van Blokland / [email protected] / +31704455612
| 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]
| Press release
Libya floods: Climate change made catastrophe ‘far more likely’
Geneva/New York19September 2023- What happened in Derna should be a ‘wake up call forthe world’ on the increasing risk of catastrophic floods in a world changed by climate change, saysJagan Chapagain,Secretary Generalof the International Federation of Red Crossand Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).Chapagain was talking in the light of a reportsaying climate change made the disaster in Libya significantly more likely.
Rapid analysis by theWorld Weather Attribution group– a group of scientists supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - analyzed climate data and computermodel simulations to compare the climate asit is today, after about 1.2°C of global warming, with the climate of the past. Thescientistsfound that human caused climate change has made heavy rainfall in north-eastern Libya up to50 times more likely to occur than it would have been in a world not experiencing human-caused climate change.They also found there was up to 50% more intense rain than there would have beenin a comparable rainstormin a pre-climate change world.
The scientists are clear that, even in a 1.2°C ‘warmed’ world,therainfall that fell on Libya was extreme. It was an event that would only be expected to occuronce every 300-600 years.Even so, that frequency is much higherthan would be the case in a world that had not warmed.
Rainfall alone did not make the Derna disaster inevitable. Enhancedpreparedness, less construction in flood-prone regions and better infrastructure managementof dams wouldhavereducedthe overall impact of Storm Daniel.Nonetheless, climate change was a significant factorin causing and exacerbatingtheextremeweather event.
Julie Arrighi, Interim Director at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre which hadresearchers working on the World Weather Attribution report said:
“This devastating disaster shows how climate change-fuelledextreme weather events are combining with human factors to create even bigger impacts, as more people, assets and infrastructure are exposed and vulnerable to flood risks. However, there are practical solutions that can help us prevent these disasters from becoming routine such as strengthened emergency management, improved impact-based forecasts and warning systems, and infrastructure that is designed for the future climate.”
Jagan Chapagain, SecretaryGeneralof the International Federation of Red Crossand Red Crescent Societies said:
“The disaster in Derna is yet another example of what climate change is already doing to our weather. Obviouslymultiple factors in Libya turned Storm Daniel into a human catastrophe; it wasn’tclimate change alone. But climate change did make the storm much more extreme and much more intense and that resulted in the loss of thousands of lives.That should be a wake upcallfortheworld to fulfill the commitment on reducing emissions, to ensure climate adaptation funding and tackle the issues of lossanddamage.“
To request an interview, please contact: [email protected]
Andrew Thomas: +41763676587
Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06
Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67
| Press release
Rebuilding after 2022 Pakistan floods: IFRC reiterates continued need for support
Geneva/Kuala Lumpur/Islamabad, 1 September 2023: A year since the devastating monsoon floods wreaked havoc across Pakistan, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for sustained support. With a mission to rebuild lives and foster resilience, the IFRC seeks global investment in recovery efforts to empower communities grappling with the aftermath of the disaster.
The 2022 monsoon floods, which left an indelible mark impacting 33 million people and claiming over 1,700 lives, also led to the destruction of nearly a million homes. Responding to this unprecedented catastrophe, IFRC, in collaboration with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), swiftly launched the Floods Emergency Appeal. This aimed to channel aid to more than one million affected individuals. Through the dedication of a network of 1,400 volunteers, this collective response achieved over 50 percent of the 40 million Swiss Francs appeal target through both hard pledges and in-kind contributions.
During the response phase, PRCS, in collaboration with IFRC and movement-wide partners, provided extended critical assistance to over 315,000 people for health, around 298,600 people for hygiene activities, and over 317,000 people with shelter assistance, among other forms of support. The operation faced challenges due to damaged infrastructure and extensive flooding, affecting millions of people.
As flood-affected communities embark on the path to recovery, Sardar Shahid Ahmed Laghari, Chairman of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, reflected:
"We are unwavering in our dedication to empowering these communities as they grapple with the aftermath of this catastrophic event. Our recovery efforts, in collaboration with IFRC and our Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners, encompass a multifaceted approach, including the restoration of livelihoods, the construction of cost-effective permanent model houses and latrines, the establishment of solar-powered water treatment plants, enhancements in health and hygiene, the provision of medical aid, and cash assistance to ensure that families can meet their fundamental needs for well-being and safety. Nevertheless, a substantial resource gap remains, given the enormous needs, particularly in providing permanent shelter, livelihood, and health needs for the affected population. PRCS now appeals to generous donors, from both national and international sources, to continue our mission of reconstructing lives and nurturing resilience."
Transitioning from relief to recovery, Peter Ophoff, the IFRC Head of Delegation in Pakistan, calls for solidarity and more support on a global scale. He said:
“The 2022 monsoon floods were an unparalleled disaster in Pakistan, causing devastation to lives and livelihoods. As we stand on the threshold of recovery, it is imperative to understand that flood-affected communities require continued support to restore not just their lives but also their lost livelihoods. The urgent need includes livelihood and cash assistance, health and care services, shelter and housing reconstruction, preparedness for effective response, and disaster risk reduction. This comprehensive approach to recovery will have a positive impact on approximately 850,000 people.”
To propel this call to action, IFRC and PRCS are extending the response and recovery plan until December 2024. This strategic extension underscores the commitment to long-term impact and sustainable change. However, a funding gap remains. Up to 50 percent of the 40 million Swiss Francs appeal target is still needed to ensure the most vulnerable communities in Pakistan can recover and build resilience against future climate-related shocks. Learn more about the emergency appeal here.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:[email protected]
Mrinalini Santhanam: +41763815006
In Kaula Lumpur:
Afrhill Rances: +60192713641
Peter (Piwi) Ophoff: +923088888053
Syed Muhammad Abubakar: +92 300 8866 886
| Press release
Libya floods: IFRC announces CHF 10 million appeal for urgent relief efforts
Geneva, 13 September 2023 - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has announced an emergency appeal for 10 million Swiss Francs to scale up the Libyan Red Crescent's relief efforts in response to the floods caused by Storm Daniel in north-eastern Libya.
The disaster, which struck on Sunday, 10 September, has led to overwhelming destruction, leaving thousands of people missing and severely straining already fragile infrastructure. Areas like Derna, Benghazi, and Tobruk are among the worst affected. Despite the challenges, Libyan Red Crescent volunteers were the first on the ground, assisting in evacuations and administering first aid and ensure a respectful and dignified burial of the dead.
The emergency appeal is designed to further strengthen the Libyan Red Crescent’s capacities in emergency healthcare, emergency shelter, psychosocial support and water and sanitation services. Red Crescent teams will especially support vulnerable groups including women, children and the elderly and the disabled.
IFRC's Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said:
"We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those affected by this disaster, including three brave Libyan Red Crescent volunteers who lost their lives during rescue operations. We are faced with an acute and unprecedented situation. International solidarity and support is crucial for the ongoing operations and for preventing a second wave of crisis related to disease and further distress."
Chapagain further urged the international community and said:
"The time to act is now. We call upon the international community, partners, and donors to contribute generously to this emergency appeal. Your solidarity can transform lives, rebuild communities and offer a beacon of hope to those engulfed in this large-scale disaster."
Click here to donate to our Emergency Appeal for Libya.
To request an interview, please contact: [email protected]
Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67
Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06
Mey Alsayegh: +961 3 229 352
Libya: Storm Daniel
Storm Daniel hit north-eastern Libya on Sunday 10 September, bringing strong winds and sudden heavy rainfall which led to massive flooding, devastation and deaths. Infrastructure has been greatly damaged, including dams near Derna that burst, causing flooding which has swept away entire neighbourhoods. Libyan Red Crescent teams and volunteers were first on the ground, evacuating people and providing first aid and search and rescue efforts. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC is supporting the Libyan Red Crescent to provide emergency shelter, psychosocial support, healthcare, clean water and food to affected communities and restore family links with missing loved ones.
Three months after the Kakhovka Dam disaster, Ukraine Red Cross still stands by affected communities
When the Kakhovka Dam in southern Ukraine collapsed in June, a torrent of water poured over downstream towns and farmlands, reducing homes to rubble and leading to the tragic loss of many lives.
The flood swept up everything in its path, washing farm animals, unexploded mines, hazardous chemicals and dangerous bacteria—such as salmonella, E. coli, and cholera—down toward the Dnipro-Buh Delta on the Black Sea.
The Ukraine Red Cross Society’s (URCS) response to the dam disaster was swift. From the moment the dam collapsed, their volunteers began evacuating people from flooded areas and distributing essentials such as food, hygiene products and water purification equipment. Psychosocial support specialists were also on hand to help people cope during those difficult first days.
But recovering from a disaster like this doesn’t happen overnight. Three months on, URCS teams remain firmly by the side of communities to help them get their lives back on track.
“People's needs have changed but have not disappeared," says Serhiy Moroz, a URCS volunteer.
"In many populated areas, people are attempting to return to their previous lives in damaged housing and amidst disruptions in centralized water supply services. Often, water systems are simply non-existent, leaving people to suffer from a lack of clean water. This creates significant household challenges as well as risks to public health."
The IFRC recently deployed an Emergency Response Unit or 'ERU'—a team of specialized personnel and equipment from across the IFRC network—to Kropyvnytskyi city to support the Ukraine Red Crescent Society’s work restoring access to safe water.
Marco Skodak, the ERU team leader, details their efforts:
"We're launching Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) activities in response to the dam's destruction. URCS volunteers are undergoing training to provide assistance, and, working alongside our specialists, they are already on the ground conducting needs assessments and establishing crucial water purification systems and pipelines."
By training up the Ukraine Red Cross Society in this way, the IFRC network is ensuring that communities get the long-term assistance they need to recover, and that volunteers have an even greater ability to respond should a similar disaster ever occur in future.
Click here to learn about how the IFRC is supporting local humanitarian action, including the different types of ERUs we can deploy.
And click here to learn more about the IFRC’s work in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
Flooding around the world: Red Cross and Red Crescent teams responding
In recent weeks, floods have been hitting communities and making headlines around the world.
Let’s take a look at some of the countries dealing with flooding and see how Red Cross and Red Crescent teams are helping people who have been affected.
Torrential rains over the past couple of weeks have affected two-thirds of Slovenia, prompting the country’s Prime Minister to declare it the ‘biggest natural disaster’ in the country’s history.
The floods have killed three people and destroyed bridges, roads and houses - causing an estimated 500 million euros of damage.
Volunteers from the Slovenian Red Cross have been delivering food, water and medicine to people affected by the floods – often on foot, since it’s the only way to reach many isolated communities. They’re also accompanying people staying in temporary shelters.
The Czech Red Cross, Croatian Red Cross, Hungarian Red Cross and Polish Red Cross have all shown solidarity by sending additional food, water and hygiene items into the country to help with the response.
In Norway, Norwegian Red Cross volunteers are helping people affected Storm Hans, which is causing havoc across the south of the country – bringing extreme rain, landslides and floods.
Volunteers are assisting with evacuations, running emergency ambulances, delivering food to isolated people and building sandbag flood defences. Many local branches remain on high alert, with more volunteers standing by to support as the situation develops.
With millions reeling from the ongoing conflict in Sudan, communities across White Nile state have also now been impacted by heavy rains and flash floods.
Torrents of water swept away and destroyed everything in their path. Families have lost homes and belongings, and many are resorting to sleeping outside in the open air.
Shelter and clean water are needed urgently. Sudanese Red Crescent Society volunteers, who have already been responding to people’s needs during the conflict, are assessing the situation closely to provide additional support.
Torrential rains and floods have hit East Asia severely this summer, including areas of north, northeast and southern China. Beijing has seen the largest rainfall experienced in the city in the past 140 years.
Disaster relief teams from the Red Cross Society of China are helping people in flood-stricken areas – supporting with clean-up and recovery, as well as distributing household items, quilts, waterproof jackets and more.
In the Philippines, Typhoons Doksuri and Khanun (known locally as Egay and Falcon) have brought devastating floods.
An estimated 313,000 people have been displaced by Doksuri alone, and more than 25 people have sadly lost their lives.
Philippine Red Cross volunteers have been bringing relief supplies, meals, medical assistance and psychosocial support to affected communities.
Flash floods and heavy rainfall have caused loss of life, injuries and severe damage to hundreds of households in Afghanistan – a country already experiencing complex humanitarian crises.
Afghan Red Crescent and IFRC emergency teams are providing urgent relief – including blankets, jerry cans, tarpaulins and shelter kits. And mobile health teams are bringing medical services to remote communities.
In Iran, Iranian Red Crescent Society teams have been responding to flooding in Sistan Balochistan, North Khorasan and West Azerbaijan provinces – deploying 35 response teams and providing support to hundreds of people.
Volunteer teams have been rescuing people stranded in the flood waters, setting up temporary shelters, and providing essential items.
In western Honduras, localized flooding caused by rainstorms hit the town of Copan Ruinas – damaging homes and local businesses.
The local Honduran Red Cross branch responded quickly to distribute relief items to local people and help clear up debris and fallen trees.
Thank you to all our National Societies for supporting communities affected by floods in recent weeks.
If you'd like to learn more about floods and how you can prepare, click here.
| Press release
Climate situation wreaks havoc in Asia Pacific; causing relentless floods, diseases, and life-threatening heat
Kuala Lumpur/Dhaka/Beijing, 10 August 2023 – Countries across Asia Pacific are reeling from multiple disasters that are wreaking havoc in the region and climate analysts attribute this to a phenomenon called El Niño. The International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) urges authorities and humanitarian organizations to brace for multiple disasters hitting simultaneously, with more intensity.
These past few months, the IFRC has released eight Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) allocations for climate related events – three for dengue to Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, three for floods, to Mongolia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, one for a tropical cyclone to Bangladesh, and one for a cold wave event to Mongolia.
Although the full impact of the phenomenon is expected in the months of September this year to March next year, many regions in Asia and the Pacific are already facing multiple hazards now, and they all point to a deteriorating climate situation.
In Bangladesh, dengue infections have swarmed the nation and there have been almost 30,000 new cases this year, almost 5 times higher than last year's numbers. Moreover, local public health experts confirm that many people are being infected with multiple types of dengue, making the treatment complicated.
Sanjeev Kafley, Head of IFRC Bangladesh Delegation says:
"We are working closely with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) and health authorities to combat the situation. In 85 dengue hotspot wards in the cities of Dhaka, Chattogram, and Barishal, our volunteers are focusing on public awareness and prevention efforts. We are progressing to procure testing kits for our health authorities as well as supporting the availability of platelet concentrate through the blood banks of BDRCS. We are supporting in all intervention points, from life-saving areas to preventative measures."
IFRC’s climate mitigation efforts at national levels in different countries are towards improving water management systems, curbing mosquito breeding, strengthening surveillance and monitoring systems to track outbreaks and increase health care capacity to managing cases and providing treatment.
Olga Dzhumaeva, Head of IFRC East Asia Delegation says:
“Torrential rains and floods hit East Asia severely this summer. North, northeast and some regions in southern China saw one of the largest rainfalls Beijing has experienced in the past 140 years. Capital city Ulaanbaatar and 13 provinces in Mongolia, central parts and many provinces of the Republic of Korea, and in the Kyushu region of Japan also suffered from severe impact of extreme rains in July. As a result, millions of people in East Asia were greatly affected and displaced, and roads, bridges, homes, and infrastructures were very badly damaged, many beyond repair. In responding to the situation, our colleagues and volunteers from National Societies in China, Japan, Mongolia and Republic of Korea have been deployed to the front lines, activating their emergency responses, making every effort to evacuate people trapped by the floods and debris, and urgently sending relief supplies such as blankets, tents, folding beds to the affected areas.”
IFRC, National Societies, and its partners believe we equally need to focus on resilience building through inclusion of nature, anticipation, adaptation and mitigation. Early or anticipatory action, for example, whereby funds are proactively allocated based on weather forecasts to support people at risk before disaster strikes is an important emphasis in the context of rapidly increasing climate hazards.
Luis Rodriguez, IFRC Asia Pacific, Lead for Climate and Resilience says:
“These events were more intense than usual due to the prevailing warming conditions, and this brings heavier precipitations, triggering cyclones, rains, and floods. These climate factors also heavily influence the dynamics of infections. Increased rainfall creates new and conducive habitats for larvae or viruses, and increased temperature accelerates the development of insects carrying viruses and virus incubation time. Severe changes in temperature and precipitation patterns due to climate change will enable the spread and transmission of disease in areas that are currently considered low risk or dengue free. These are all not stand-alone events. They are connected.”
In anticipation of more extreme weather events that will hit more regions in the Asia Pacific, national societies together with IFRC are carrying out heavy preparedness measures such as heatwave action planning, simulations and drills, prepositioning of relief stocks, and evacuation and rescue equipment, and urgent refreshers on procedures and regulations for volunteers, staff, and technical teams. Moreover, the DREFs ensure National Societies can act speedily and efficiently and this means millions of lives and livelihoods are saved.
For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
In Kuala Lumpur:
Afrhill Rances, [email protected] , +60 19 271 3641
Anna Tuson, [email protected] , +41 79 895 6924
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mauritania: Thousands of food-insecure families need urgent assistance as Sahel battles food crisis
It's hot and dryin N'Beika, a commune in Moudjeria, central Mauritania, with temperatures already rising above 40°C by late morning. It’s hard to believe that nine months ago, 90% of the commune was submerged by heavy rainfall and flooding.
Mohamed Lemine Ould Mohamed Moctar, a 65-year-old farmer and father of seven, looks out over his piece of land, his face distant, hoping for a good rainy season, this time.
"I didn't harvest anything last year. My whole sorghum field was ravaged by the floods. At least the year before, I was able to harvest a few small bags, despite the lack of rain", says Mohamed.
Here in Moudjeria, asin Guerrou and Barkeol, the two other departments most affected by food insecurity in Mauritania this year, most families depend on traditional farming and livestock rearing to get by—a situation that makes them highly dependent on rainfall.
For years, a lack of water had been the main obstacle to flourishing agriculture in this community nestled on a plateau some 100 metres above sea level. But last year's rains were much heavier than expected, causing flooding that wiped out people’s crops.
This flooding has put severe strain on people’s livelihoods and is plunging many families in Mauritania into food insecurity. According to theMarch 2023 Mauritania Harmonized Framework, close to 500,000 people are expected to be acutely food insecure in the current lean season between June and August 2023.
“Every day is battle for us to survive. Cereal, meat, and basic food stuff to feed my family are almost unaffordable since I lost my only hope for income in this past flood,” adds Mohamed.
Sadly, communities in Mauritania are not the only ones facing this problem. The Sahel Region in Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing one of the worst food insecurity crises in decades, affecting millions of people.
“It’s alarming to witness the deterioration in food security in the Sahel. Pre-existing conditions such as drought and floods, climatic shocks, regional and international conflicts and rising food and fuel prices are spiking hunger and malnutrition rates. Each time, it is the most vulnerable who suffer the consequences of a complex context, exacerbated by growing inequalities,” says Alexandre Claudon de Vernisy, head of the IFRC Cluster delegation for Cape Verde, Gambia, Mauritania and Senegal.
In response to this emergency, the IFRC launched an appeal for 215 million Swiss francs in October 2022 to support 7.6 million of the most food insecure people across 14 priority countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mauritania is the latest country to join the regional appeal in May 2023, bringing the total number of countries to 15.
The Mauritanian Red Crescent (MRC) needs 2 million Swiss francs from this appeal to help more than 80,000 people like Mohamed affected by food insecurity in the communes of Barkeol, Guerrou and Moudjeria.
In the short term, this funding will be used to provide more than 2,700 families with cash assistance to help them get back on their feet. It will also enable MRC volunteers to provide community health services and malnutrition screenings to more than 2,500 families to meet their immediate health needs.
In the longer-term, the funding aims to boost the resilience of communities in Mauritania so they are better prepared for future climate shocks. The MRC will:
Set up three ‘Farmer Field Schools’ to teach climate-smart farming techniques—such assoil moisture conservation, use of appropriate seeds, and crop association—to hundreds of farmers, so they can have more successful and reliable yields.
Help 30 villages to set up village food security stocks by buying cereals after the harvest period so that the price is cheaper during the next lean season.
Support mother’s clubs in the region that help mothers to recognize and fight signs of malnutrition in their children.
"It’s a long and difficult lean season ahead of us. Without the Red Crescent’s help, there would be very littlehope for us," says Mohamed.
For more information about this crisis and to donate to the IFRC’s emergency appeal,please visit our Africa: Hunger crisis page.
Nova Kakhovka dam collapse, Ukraine: How we're supporting people affected by flooding
The collapse of the Nova Kakhovka Dam in southern Ukraine on June 6 has resulted in a devastating flood, impacting numerous communities. People have already suffered the devastating impacts of the conflict and are now displaced from their homes; many have lost their houses and belongings with the flood waters. The health risks for affected people could increase in the coming weeks and there is a need for clean drinking water.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) network is working alongside the Ukrainian Red Cross Society to provide vital assistance to people who have been affected.
Addressing immediate humanitarian needs
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the IFRC, together with its membership, is actively supporting the Ukrainian Red Cross Society in their response efforts. This includes operational, technical, and financial assistance to bolster its local capacity to deliver aid, distribute relief items, provide health support, promote good sanitation and hygiene practices, and address the immediate needs of the affected population.
Long-term recovery and rehabilitation
In addition to immediate relief efforts, the IFRC network remains committed to supporting communities affected by the flooding in their long-term recovery and rehabilitation. This includes facilitating projects to restore people’s livelihoods, provide psychosocial support, and rehabilitate damaged infrastructure to help communities rebuild their lives.
In the aftermath of the Nova Kakhovka Dam collapse, the IFRC network and Ukrainian Red Cross Society stand united in providing unwavering support to affected communities.
Since February 2022, the IFRC has scaled up its response with the Ukrainian Red Cross, together with National Societies from around the world. Together, we provide urgent humanitarian assistance to people in Ukraine and those who have been forced to flee to other countries.
Together, we are working tirelessly to address immediate needs, offer hope, and pave the way for long-term recovery. With the power of compassion and solidarity, we are committed to rebuilding lives and restoring resilience in the face of this devastating event.
Click here for more information about our work supporting people in Ukraine.
| Press release
Malawi: IFRC launches Emergency Appeal to respond to the effects of Tropical Storm Freddy in Malawi
Malawi, 21 March 2023 -After passing through Southern Africa for the second time this month, Tropical Storm Freddy swept through Southern Malawi on 12 March 2023, with strong winds and heavy rains leaving the affected districts in a state of disaster and affecting the power supply throughout most of the country. Tropical Storm Freddy is set to be the longest tropical system since 1994, having weakened and re-intensified seven times over the last month.
The Malawi government has declared a state of disaster in 10 southern districts that have been hardest hit by the storm. A large number ofpeople are reported to have been affected, of which 101,648 households (approximately 508,244 people) have been displaced with 534 camps set to accommodate the displaced, according to reports from DoDMA. The death toll, which is currently at 499 (as of 20 March 2023), is expected to rise as 427 people are still unaccounted for since some areas remain cut off due to relentless rain and fierce wind.
McBain Kanongodza, Secretary General for the Malawi Red Cross Society said:
“We are grateful to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for the support through this emergency appeal. This support will go a long way to help the survivors recover from the shock of Tropical Cyclone Freddy devastation.”
Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) is on the ground, with volunteers working in dangerous conditions, primarily conducting search and rescue by land, and in rescue boats. Volunteers are providing first aid and psychosocial support to those affected. Non-food items are also being distributed by MRCS to evacuation centres and hospitals.
John Roche, Head of IFRC’s Delegation for Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe said:
“The destruction left behind by Tropical Storm Freddy, which has displaced large numbers is a major concern, as we are also tackling a widespread cholera outbreak at the same time. We need to respond fast and ensure people have access to clean and safe drinking water to ensure that cholera does not spread beyond control.”
The lack of sanitation and clean water sources, which increases the risk of contracting cholera, will be amplified after many homes have been washed away leaving displaced communities to be housed in camps. The number of people living in camps, may cause them to become hotspots for Cholera and waterborne diseases. In addition to risks of cholera, the floods have caused many communities to be cut off from food for many days, as well as causing widespread damage to farms, and death of livestock. Many of these areas were already suffering from significant food insecurity.
The IFRC and its membership has launched an Emergency Appeal seeking 6.0 million Swiss Francs, which will help the MRCS to assist up to 160,000 people over 5 districts, who have been affected by the severe impacts of Tropical Storm Freddy. Through the appeal, MRCS, and its partners with the IFRC will look to scale up their response to the impact of Tropical Storm Freddy. The response will focus on the immediate needs of families displaced and hosted in camps.
For more information or to arrange a media interview, contact:
In Malawi (IFRC):
Ella Mcsharry, +263 78 689 3350,
Felix Washon, +265 999 95 57 21, [email protected]
In Pretoria (IFRC): Robyn Lee Doyle, +27605031833, [email protected]
In Nairobi (IFRC): Rita Nyaga, +2541 10 837154, [email protected]
In Geneva (IFRC): Tommaso Della Longa, +41-79-708 4367, [email protected]
| Press release
Six months on: Pakistan’s receding floodwaters reveal the need for prolonged support
Islamabad/Sindh, 28 February 2023 – The need for longer-term economic support for people who lost their homes, livelihoods, and livestock across Pakistan due to the catastrophic floods six months ago becomes pressing amid global and local economic turndown, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warns.
In order to address the flood’s impact, the IFRC and Pakistan Red Crescent Society have launched cash and voucher assistance to meet the urgent needs of the people most at-risk, delivering more than CHF 420,000 to 5,600 families so far. This cash assistance will enable families to meet their immediate needs, such as food, livelihood, and other essential needs.
“We understand that needs are still immense in the aftermath of the severe floods, and they will remain like this for a while as the damage is massive. We are supporting communities with cash, but it’s important to acknowledge that this aid is a short-term bridge for urgent needs. Escalating inflation and a stagnant economy don’t allow the cash to stretch as far as people need,” Peter (Piwi) Ophoff, head of the IFRC delegation in Pakistan, said. “Longer term cash support to people impacted by these devastating floods will stimulate local markets, which can help economic recovery,” Ophoff added.
From June to August last year, extreme monsoon rainfall submerged one-third of Pakistan, affecting 33 million people across the country. The monsoon floods ravaged a staggering 2.2 million houses leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Families were forced to take refuge on roadsides in makeshift shelters when the country’s main Indus River burst its banks across thousands of square kilometres. The IFRC's emergency appeal has reached almost 1.3 million people with relief items, shelter, health, water, sanitation, hygiene kits, and multipurpose cash assistance over the past six months.
Pakistan Red Crescent Society has the capacity and knowledge to assist disaster-affected populations through cash and voucher assistance, a dignified, reliable and efficient ways using a swift disbursement mechanism.
Pakistan Red Crescent Society chairman, Sardar Shahid Ahmed Laghari remarked:
"There are still millions of people on the ground who are looking for help, and we need support from national as well as international communities to help as many lives as possible so that they can meet their urgent needs and resume their livelihoods in a way that maintains dignity, freedom, choice and respect," Laghari said.
IFRC’s multipurpose cash transfer program aims to help the affected people to rebuild their lives. But the skyrocketing inflation rates only add to the already volatile situation. To survive through this, continued support is required for the emergency appeal launched in September, as it is still underfunded even after six months.
The devastating floods that heavily damaged residential properties, infrastructure, and other assets, led over a million livestock to perish and left large swathes of agricultural land uncultivable, resulting in the exponential loss of income and livelihoods for millions of people. The damage created due to floods exacerbated by climate change pushed already economically disadvantaged communities further towards poverty, making the available aid fall short of meeting the increasing needs of people amid an economic recession.
Responding to the acute needs of people affected by the 2022 floods within the first six months, the IFRC emergency operation is now shifting its focus to meeting the longer-term recovery needs of affected communities. To achieve this, the main priorities include reinforcing access to safe water and sanitation facilities, rehabilitating basic health units, and launching livelihoods and multipurpose cash assistance programs.
Cash assistance is one critical approach that helps responders better put the needs and capacities of affected people at the heart of humanitarian action. It enables communities to decide how to cover essential needs like rent, transport, bills, food, and medicine.
For more information, please contact:
Irem Karakaya, +92 308 555 0065
Sher Zaman, +92 304 103 0469
In Kuala Lumpur: Afhrill Rances, +60 19 271 3641
In Geneva: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803
Pakistan floods: Six months on, humanitarian needs remain dire
It’s been almost six months since flash floods battered parts of Pakistan, and hundreds of thousands of people are still reeling from the floods’ effects.
Homes, livelihoods, and farmlands were destroyed and many parts of the country remain underwater. An estimated 33 million people have been affected, of which 20 million are still living in dire conditions. And now that the country has entered winter, many affected communities face a daunting new challenge of how to survive without housing, food, clean water, and fuel sources for warmth.
The Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has been providing lifesaving relief to flood-affected families, especially those in far-flung areas, reaching nearly 600,000 people so far.
The PRCS swung into action when the floods struck, delivering cooked food and food parcels to address hunger, which killed some due to starvation. Their volunteers also quickly distributed essential items such as collapsible jerry cans for storing clean water, kitchen sets and hygiene kits.
Shelter continues to be a top priority in our response. Many people were forced to leave their flooded homes and retreat to the nearest evacuation centre. Some resorted to sleeping on the roadside – unprotected and with barely any resources to build a roof over their heads. PRCS, with the support of IFRC and our partners, has been distributing tents, shelter tool kits, tarpaulins, blankets and mosquito nets in different affected regions to cater to people’s immediate shelter needs.
In the areas where floods are receding, health and hygiene concerns including cholera, dengue, and malaria, pose severe threats to people's well-being. Many areas also have been reporting cases of scabies, especially in children as they play in the floodwaters.
Before the floods, poor sanitation and bad hygiene were already a concern in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh provinces. The floods and waterlogging have only worsened the overall health situation. In response, the IFRC has helped the PRCS to strengthen its health and hygiene services. For instance, volunteers are now running mobile health units in the most affected areas to provide urgent medical attention, especially for women and children.
“The mobile health units have been extremely beneficial for me and this community,” says Jamila, a mother of four from Sindh province who’s expecting her fifth child.
Both adults and children in the village where Jamila lives, Dayee Ji Wandh, have been receiving medical assistance and medication for their issues. It’s been easy for Jamila and other pregnant women to reach out and get advice for common health issues, such as fever and diarrhea.
Hear more from Jamila in this video:
“Through the mobile health units, people have been bringing their sick children for treatment whenever necessary,” said Sabira Solangi, a Pakistan Red Crescent volunteer from the same area.
Contaminated water is another big issue, especially in Sindh where the quality of water in the entire region is exceptionally poor. The few handpumps that existed to offer clean water were severely damaged during the floods. The IFRC’s water, sanitation, and hygiene team have been working around the clock to provide clean drinking water. They also carried out extensive assessments to map out the right places to install new handpumps and dig boreholes. The IFRC also supported the Pakistan Red Crescent Society to install mobile water treatment plants and latrines in different districts to aid those in need of clean water.
“We really appreciate what the Red Crescent has set up here, especially with the drinking water. It’s a basic need for all, and it was such a great relief when the treatment plants were installed,” says Maula Bakhsh Khakrani, a 20-year-old man from Jacobabad in Sindh province.
Speaking about the ongoing situation in the country, Pakistan Red Crescent Society Chairman, Shahid Ahmed Laghari, said: “massive needs require massive support. Pakistan Red Crescent Society requests all potential donors to support early recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction efforts for the flood-affected population.”
Click here to learn more about the IFRC’s Emergency Appeal for the floods in Pakistan.
And click here to donate to our ongoing response.
| Press release
Millions of people in Asia living in stagnant water at risk of facing deadly diseases
Kuala Lumpur, 27 October 2022 – After unprecedented floods continue to hit many parts of Asia, dangerous un-subsiding flood waters are now the crisis, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warns. Men, women, and children are being forced to live out their day-to-day lives in dirty, stagnated water, and are at risk of deadly diseases such as malaria, dengue, cholera, and diarrhoea, not to mention long-term harmful effects to their bodies.
This year's monsoon season in the region saw more than 42 million people being severely hit by floods, landslides, and torrential rains since August. Moreover, this number only includes records from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Lao, and Cambodia.
Erratic and early rains triggered often unprecedented floods, damaging homes, livestock, infrastructure and more. Many weeks later, the flood waters have not receded.
Joy Singhal, IFRC’s Regional Head, Health, Disasters, Climate and Crisis, said:
“Stagnation of water, muck and mud following floods is a thriving breeding ground for mosquitoes, bacteria, and other harmful organisms. If left unattended to, this will trigger surges in infectious diseases.
“Prolonged water stagnation also causes lasting damage to water supplies and infrastructure, threatening the health of communities long into the future.”
Flood waters bring in substantial amounts of dirt and garbage into homes, schools, and infrastructure. Even if some volume of the water dissipates, torrential rain continues, and the waters rise again.
Many people have resorted to staying longer in shelters than usual. Emergency shelters have had to be relocated numerous times due to rising waters. Some areas, especially in South Asia, reported that the water took almost two months to subside, while most took weeks. This also poses the threat of being infected with COVID-19, as evacuation sites are often crowded and without proper ventilation.
Alexander Matheou, IFRC’s Asia Pacific Regional Director, said:
“Our teams across the region are reporting grave concerns for communities now facing the often-unseen crisis that follows in the wake of such devastating floods.
"Across the length and breadth of Asia, our health and relief teams are reporting severe repercussions of stagnating waters. People have nowhere to go and are forced to live in dangerous conditions.
“These unmoving waters pose a huge hindrance to communities relocating back to their homes, and therefore prolongs displacement. Not to mention devastating impacts to livestock, agriculture, shelter repairs and further increasing economic hardships, eventually preventing them from heading back to lead normal lives.”
The IFRC have launched emergency appeals multiple times this year to support Red Cross Red Crescent activities across the region for the humanitarian issues arising from the floods, with a focus on immediate needs like providing shelters, relief and medical care.
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In Kuala Lumpur:
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Rachel Punitha, +60 19 791 3830,
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