Food Insecurity

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08/06/2022 | Press release

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis spiralling into food crisis

Kuala Lumpur/Colombo, 8 June 2022 – The economic crisis in Sri Lanka is spiralling into a humanitarian emergency as millions of people face acute shortages of food, fuel, cooking gas and medicine, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) warned today. Responding to the unfolding emergency, the IFRC has launched an Emergency Appeal for 28 million Swiss francs to provide immediate critical relief and for longer recovery efforts for an estimated 500,000 people. Sri Lanka Red Cross Secretary General, Mahesh Gunasekara, said: “The situation has taken a devastating turn for people already struggling to put food on the table during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s even worse for single parent households, those without steady work and those already suffering a loss of income. “We need international support now to help hundreds of thousands of people pull their lives back together. It’s going to be a long, tough road for people to rebuild and get their lives back on track.” The civil unrest and food shortages gripping the country were sparked by an economic crisis that has been developing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharp declines in agriculture production have resulted in rapid price increase for staple food items like rice and vegetable, which directly impact the household economy and food security of the most vulnerable. IFRC Head of South Asia Delegation, Udaya Regmi, said: “We hold grave concerns for the most vulnerable communities across the country – some 2.4 million people already living below the poverty line who are most affected by the loss of livelihoods, food shortages, and the spiraling cost of essential items. “The emergency appeal that we have launched in support of Sri Lanka Red Cross will protect the livelihoods and safety of thousands of households in need of support.” For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: Colombo: Rachel Punitha, +60-19-791-3830, [email protected] Kuala Lumpur: Joe Cropp,+61 (0) 491 743 089, [email protected]

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27/05/2022 | Emergency

Angola: Hunger crisis

Angola is facing its worst recorded drought in 40 years, with southern provinces experiencing the fifth consecutive year of drought conditions. The drought has led to poor harvests, depleted reserves, loss of livestock and rising food prices—with an estimated 1.58 million people now facing high levels of acute food insecurity. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC will support the Angola Red Cross to save lives, reverse the deterioration of food security and nutrition, and improve the resilience of affected populations in the hardest hit areas.

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11/05/2022 | Emergency

Niger: Food insecurity crisis

In Niger, more than four million people are facing the devastating effects of food insecurity caused by several failed rainy seasons and decades of increasing desertification of the Sahel region. People are struggling to access food and are exposed to many other threats, including climate-related disasters, epidemics and insecurity⁠—all of which are leading to population movement and increased competition for resources. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC will support the Niger Red Cross to save the lives and protect the livelihoods of the most food-insecure people through cash assistance, support to farmers, and nutrition.

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07/04/2022 | Emergency

Ethiopia: Drought hunger crisis

Across the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia), millions of households are facing the effects of multiple concurrent shocks, including food insecurity due to drought. This emergency appeal will enable the IFRC to assistthe Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) in responding to this climate-induced hunger crisis. Money raised will help save lives, protect people's livelihoods, and promote the early recovery of the most food-insecure people.

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17/06/2022 | Press release

Afghanistan: Hunger and poverty surge as drought persists

Kuala Lumpur/Kabul/Geneva 17 June – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling for increased global support to stem spiralling hunger in Afghanistan as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises threatens millions. Intense summer heat and a weak spring rainy season have effectively spelled doom for a meaningful harvest in the country. Amidst mounting poverty, 70 percent of households are unable to meet basic food and non-food needs, with particularly devastating effects for homes headed by widows, the elderly, people with disabilities, and children. An estimated 3 million children are at risk of malnutrition and susceptible to diseases such as acute watery diarrhoea and measles due to weakened immunity. Thousands of people have resorted to begging in the streets, with prices of essential items soaring in the face of declining remittances, a crumbling economy and rising poverty. Dr Mohammad Nabi Burhan, Secretary General of Afghan Red Crescent, said: “This is one of the worst humanitarian crises I have seen in Afghanistan, in more than 30 years as a humanitarian aid worker. It is horrifying to see the extent of hunger and resurgence of poverty that we have fought so hard to eradicate. “It is particularly worrying for Afghans in rural and remote areas, where some of the country’s poorest communities face widespread destitution and very high levels of malnutrition after their crops failed or livestock perished. “A lack of food should not be a cause of death in Afghanistan. There needs to be a concerted international effort to continue critical humanitarian assistance across the country so that lives can be saved.” Afghan Red Crescent is ramping up its response operation using available funds, giving immediate priority to food and cash distributions as well as providing health services via more than 140 health facilities across Afghanistan. However, the latest reports show much more assistance will be needed. Necephor Mghendi, IFRC’s Head of Delegation for Afghanistan, said: “The increasing economic hardship is a bitter blow for families in Afghanistan who are trying to cope with one of the worst droughts and food crises they have ever faced, leaving children malnourished and far more vulnerable to preventable disease. “As well as providing critical relief to people struggling in the face of severe drought and hunger, livelihood interventions should be supported to enable people to restore means of earning an income. “There is also a need for investment in local institutions that deliver vital services in the cities as well as remote areas. Locally staffed, well-functioning institutions are proven to help the most vulnerable, including children, women, and the elderly in every corner of Afghanistan.” As part of this ongoing support, the IFRC is urgently appealing to the international community for 80 million Swiss francs to support the Afghan Red Crescent to deliver emergency relief, health services and recovery assistance to more than 1 million people in the provinces hit by multiple crises. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: Asia Pacific Office: Joe Cropp, +61 491 743 089, [email protected]

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16/06/2022 | Press release

Ukraine conflict intensifies existing humanitarian crises in the MENA region, warns the IFRC

16 June 2022, Beirut -The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region continues to face multiple and complex crises from conflicts to climate change and displacement. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today issued a rapid assessment report focusing on the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on the humanitarian situation in the MENA region. The findings of the assessment confirmed that the conflict intensifies the impact of pre-existing crises and trends and increases the vulnerability of most countries. Rania Ahmed, Deputy Regional Director of IFRC MENA said: “The global economic and security impact of the conflict in Ukraine could be the proverbial last straw that breaks the camel’s back, pushing already fragile countries in the MENA region over the tipping point.” The assessment’s main findings show that food security and livelihoods are the two most affected sectors. Currently, there are over 55 million people across the region who need humanitarian assistance.Data show that the number could increase by 25% over the next six months because of the global food price index increase that has hit a record high. Twelve countries from the MENA region have experienced a dramatic increase in the price of basic food items. In Lebanon, prices have increased by 75-100%. In Iran and Yemen prices went up by 50-75%. Currently, five million people are facing food insecurity in the region. An estimated 1.9 million could slide into hunger. MENA countries source up to 85% of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia. The agriculture industry in the region has already been severely affected by a combination of disrupted supply chains, water scarcity, and increasing temperatures. With donors’ attention turned towards the Ukraine crisis, there is a risk that the humanitarian funding for MENA countries might drop. Lack of access to donor funding will only amplify the existing humanitarian crisis in several MENA countries. For the millions of Palestinians, Lebanese, Yemenis, Syrians, and others who live in countries experiencing conflict, catastrophic economic meltdowns, and increasing humanitarian needs, this would be equivalent to shutting down critical life support. Finally, energy and oil-importing countries are experiencing additional social stress as they witness a 25-75% increase of fuel prices. In Syria and Yemen, fuel shortages and a lack of electricity is already severely impacting the delivery of basic services. The compounded crisis trends in Lebanon, including the sharp increase in energy prices resulting from the Ukraine crisis, have the potential to push the country over the tipping point to become a “critical crisis”. Click here to access the full report. Notes to the editor: Methodology: This rapid assessment aims to contribute to the ongoing analysis and scenario development to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to evolving crisis trends in the MENA region, with specific considerations on how the Ukraine conflict is a risk multiplier to existing crisis trends. The assessment was carried out between 25 April and 3 June 2022 using secondary data and a perception survey of 24 representatives of National Societies and IFRC Heads of Delegation. For more information: Rania Ahmed, Deputy Regional Director, IFRC MENA: [email protected] +96171802701

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08/06/2022 | Emergency

Sri Lanka: Complex emergency

An economic crisis and a ban on synthetic fertiliser in Sri Lanka have sparked civil unrest and food insecurity across the country.Severe food shortages are expected within the coming months, along with shortages of fuel, cooking gas and medicines. Many people are resorting to emergency coping strategies, such as withdrawing their children from school or selling their assets. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC will support the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society to provide livelihoods and basic needs assistance, as well as safe drinking water and hygiene services, to 500,000 of the most vulnerable people

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20/05/2022 | Press release

IFRC report: Goals for poverty reduction, decent work and closing inequality gap, stalled by COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean

Panama City, May 20, 2022 - The devastating socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have stalled some of the key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is unlikely that the region will end poverty, ensure gender equality, promote decent and equitable work, and reduce inequality within and between countries by the target date of 2030. This is one of the main findings of "Readjusting the path towards equity," a recent study by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The report confirms that COVID-19 increased unemployment, reduced the income of the poorest families, forced more than one million children to leave school, reduced labour protection and worsened inequality and gender violence. Head of IFRC's Disaster, Climate and Crisis unit in the Americas, Roger Alonso, said: "This study helps us understand the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable people’s income, access to food and well-being. The findings underline the fact that a full social and economic recovery will take years. To avoid irreversible levels of vulnerability, it is crucial to implement an inclusive and fair recovery, which also anticipates the effects of the current food and fuel price increases resulting from the conflict in Ukraine." According to the report, the loss of income of the poorest populations increased food insecurity resulting in 60 million people suffering from hunger in the first year of the pandemic. That same year, 23 million women were pushed into poverty and since then, cases of domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking have increased. In addition, 10% of jobs in the region were lost during the pandemic, and 30% of these have not yet been recovered. Meanwhile, 51% of the migrant population surveyed by IFRC said they lost their jobs and 53% of those who kept them, saw their income reduced or were not paid. This IFRC analysis is based on literature review, interviews with experts and representatives of international organizations, as well as 1,825 surveys conducted in Argentina, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Venezuela. Co-author of the report and IFRC Livelihoods Recovery Officer in the Americas, Daniela Funez, said: ''Listening to the communities we serve is a priority for the Red Cross network. That's what allows us to know their needs in depth and, in this case, the data they provided us confirms the projections made by international agencies about the effects of COVID-19 on the SDGs'." To address the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic, the IFRC suggests prioritizing attention to the most vulnerable groups, incorporating a gender approach in humanitarian action and contributing to reducing the effects of climate change. It also calls for increased investment in vaccination, protection and livelihood protection, a key issue to close the 60% funding gap needed to continue responding to the medium and long-term effects of COVID-19. For more information: In Bogota:David Quijano +57 310 5592559,[email protected] In Panama:Susana Arroyo Barrantes,[email protected]

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06/05/2022 | Press release

Horn of Africa: IFRC Secretary General visits Kenya as worst drought in 40 years looms for millions 

Nairobi/Geneva, 6 May 2022—The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Secretary General Jagan Chapagain ends a three-day visit to Kenya, and he is calling for a massive scale-up of humanitarian and long-term assistance to communities affected by the growing hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa. Speaking at the end of a visit to Marsabit, one of Kenya’s areas that has been hardest hit by the effects of drought, Mr Chapagain said: “I have seen firsthand the level of suffering caused by drought in Marsabit. There are highly unacceptable levels of malnutrition, a global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate of 53.6 per cent in this particular ward - one of the highest in Africa. The situation is rapidly deteriorating. We need immediate humanitarian assistance to reach the most vulnerable. We also need long term solutions that address the impact of climate change including investment in resilient livelihoods.” Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are facing a large-scale, climate-induced, and protracted humanitarian crisis with over 14 million people food insecure and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance including at least 5.5 million children facing acute malnutrition. 6.1 million people in Ethiopia and 4.1 million people in Somalia are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. In Kenya, 3.5 million people are acutely food insecure, with eastern and northern Kenya’s most arid and semi-arid lands experiencing critical drought conditions. This silent disaster has been overshadowed—and to a significant extent amplified—by the Ukraine crisis.  “It isn’t just food and water that people need here. In the background there are unseen issues such as sexual and gender-based violence, and the profound impacts on mental health. An example given was of women walking over 40 km to reach potable water – what happens on the journey is unthinkable,” added Mr Chapagain. Dr Asha Mohammed, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross Society, who was also in Marsabit, said:   “The fact that people in Marsabit have lost over 70 per cent of their livestock, which is their main source of livelihood, means that it will be a long and slow path to recovery. Our teams are playing a central role in reducing the risks that families are facing. They have provided cash assistance, food assistance and improved water treatment practices, but the need to rehabilitate water systems remains urgent. We call all our partners and stakeholders to support our efforts.” In response to the hunger and drought situation in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, the IFRC, the Kenya Red Cross, Ethiopia Red Cross and Somali Red Crescent are jointly appealing for 39 million Swiss francs. This funding will allow Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff to assist 1,560,000 people by scaling up their emergency and humanitarian assistance and recovery activities and tackling the root causes of food insecurity. This strategy is aligned with the IFRC’s Pan African Zero Hunger Initiative that undertakes a holistic approach to food security, integrating specific interventions for rapid nutrition, food security and livelihood support for acute food-insecure households and communities with a long-term strategy working towards zero hunger and sustainable recovery. “Food is a basic need of the population. We call upon every government in Africa to ensure they have the right policy framework to deal with drought,” said Mr Chapagain. To request an interview with representatives from the IFRC or Kenya Red Cross, or for more information, please contact:  In Nairobi:   IFRC - Euloge Ishimwe, +254 731 688 613, [email protected] Kenya Red Cross - Peter Abwao, +254 711 590911, [email protected]   In Geneva: IFRC – Benoit Carpentier, +41 79 213 2413, [email protected]   

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22/03/2022 | Press release

Afghanistan: Food shortages escalate as spring fields remain bare

Kuala Lumpur/Kabul/Geneva, 22 March –The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is raising grave fears for millions of Afghans and farming communities as fields remain bare of the annual spring crops. The ongoing drought means that the area planted with winter wheat is well below average. Field reports indicate that half the ground normally sown with wheat was fallow at the end of the planting window in December. Hunger is worsening in Afghanistan, with 95 per cent of the population going without enough food to eat every day, according to the United Nations. The few crops which were planted are likely to face harsh conditions, with La Nina expected to bring drier than normal conditions in the coming months, extending the severe drought into a second year. Mawlawi Mutiul Haq Khales, Afghan Red Crescent Acting President, said: “Millions of families rely on farming, but they already lost last year’s crops to the severe drought, leaving them without grain to get through the harsh winter or seeds to sow in the fields. “Without seeds in the ground, there will be no harvest in spring and summer, creating a real risk of famine across Afghanistan, where nearly 23 million people are already unable to feed themselves every day. “We need to ramp up our efforts to support these communities with relief as they brace for a second year of drought and food shortages, while working to sustain livelihoods that are so important for families and entire communities.” The drought crisis has fuelled an economic crisis in a country where agriculture is critical for people’s livelihoods and the mainstay of the economy. More than 70 percent of Afghanistan’s population live in rural areas and around 80 percent of livelihoods depend on agriculture, according to the latest IPC Afghanistan food security data. Afghan Red Crescent, supported by the IFRC, is working with farming communities to have more sustainable water sources, drought resistant crops and other income generation opportunities for women in regional parts of the country. Johanna Arvo, IFRC’s Acting Head of Delegation for Afghanistan, said: “The ravages of climate change mean risks and hardship are skyrocketing for people in Afghanistan. Millions of people have faced two severe droughts in four years, causing catastrophic crop failures and devastating food shortages. “Temperatures are rising, leading to reduced snowfall cover, snowmelt and water supplies. Rainfall is becoming more erratic, decimating agriculture in Afghanistan. “As well as providing immediate relief, we must invest much more in the future by helping Afghans to establish more sustainable water supplies and drought resistant crops, while supporting income generation for the most at risk, including women and the elderly.” As part of this ongoing support, the IFRC is urgently appealing to the international community for more than 65 million Swiss francs to support the Afghan Red Crescent to deliver health services, emergency relief and recovery assistance to more than 1 million people in the provinces hit by multiple crises. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected] Asia Pacific Office: Joe Cropp, +61 491 743 089, [email protected]

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16/12/2021 | Article

Southern Madagascar: Cash gives food insecure communities a glimpse of hope

In remote areas of southern Madagascar, vulnerable households go into debt buying food and basic needs due to drought and poverty, paying double the price for rice due to transportation costs. The Malagasy Red Cross with the support of IFRC and partners, have been providing cash for food and basic needs to the vulnerable households in the Commune of Ambatoabo from July 2021. The process of identification and registration of beneficiaries for this operation was made up of two complementary stages: a survey carried out by the Malagasy Red Cross volunteers and the validation of the results by the community itself through the committees. Among 2,249 families validated by the community, there was Longonay Berthora’s household. At only 15 years, Berthora has been supporting himself and his brother for the past two years, in the absence of his mother who remarried and is now living in another village. While studying at the local public primary school, Berthora tries to make ends meet by doing different activities including rice growing, charcoal production, and quarrying for mica - a type of mineral which has a commercial value. In October, he used part of the cash to pay for wages, as he employs people to cultivate rice on his field. The rice produced is for his consumption and for sale, locally. Berthora is working hard to achieve his goals, “My dream is to become a prison officer, and I wish that my little brother becomes a doctor” he spoke.

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16/12/2021 | Article

Southern Madagascar: Enhancing local food production through sustainable community-based solutions

Southern Madagascar depends on rain-fed agriculture, but recurrent and prolonged drought for the past 20 years is having a devastating impact on access to food for communities. The Commune of Ambatoabo, Anosy region is no longer the rice provider for the main town due to unfavourable climate conditions. This is a consequence of El Niño which has caused a rainfall deficit and led to a reduction in agricultural productivity, loss of seeds and the deterioration of crops. The Malagasy Red Cross has been implementing a Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) operation in this locality from December 2020 and is now leading recovery activities. Through the interventions of the Malagasy Red Cross in the Commune of Ambatoabo with the support of the IFRC and partners, the focus has been put on resilient and community-based agriculture, where fruits, local trees and anti-erosive trees have been prioritized. While seeds, tools and technical support are provided, local-based Red Cross volunteers are in charge of mobilizing the community around the nursery trees and vegetable garden activities, and follow-up on the sites. Now, 33 vegetable garden managers and 22 nurserymen are active in the management of these sites. They were trained on nursery installation, reforestation (planting and digging), and land management, as well as technical training on sowing, planting, and pricking. The local-based Red Cross volunteers acquired the necessary skills to look after the sites and to guide the communities. Also underway is training in crop protection against diseases and insects, using biological techniques. Daniel Aristide, a 40-year-old farmer, is part of this pool of local-based Red Cross volunteers. Taking part in this operation is a way of learning efficient and adapted techniques of cultivation but especially to “Contribute at his level to the development of his commune”. He also added, “Up to now, three tree nursery sites have been set up with 11,000 plants each. But the goal is to make communities from each locality of Ambatoabo set up and look after their own sites; that is why they come here to learn the techniques first." -- Click here to learn more about the IFRC's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).

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22/11/2021 | Press release

Drowning just below the surface: New IFRC research reveals magnitude of socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic

Geneva, 22 November 2021 – Women, people in urban areas and those on the move have been disproportionately and uniquely affected by the devastating socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are some of the findings of new research published today by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The COVID-19 pandemic has had major economic impacts on every nation in the world. The IFRC’s new research also shows the extent of the pandemic’s secondary consequences on communities and individuals. This crisis has caused: increased unemployment and poverty; increased food insecurity; a higher vulnerability to violence; and a loss of education and reduced opportunities for children. It has also exacerbated mental health issues. Francesco Rocca, President of the IFRC, said: “Our research shows what we have long suspected and feared, namely that the destructive secondary impacts of this pandemic have damaged the fabric of our society and will be felt for years, if not decades, to come. People who were already vulnerable, due to conflict, climate-change, and poverty, have been pushed further towards the edge. And many people who were previously able to cope have become vulnerable, needing humanitarian support for the first time in their lives.” The new research provides a global overview, with a special focus on ten countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Philippines, Spain, South Africa and Turkey. Overall, women had more significant impacts on their income, were at greater risk of COVID-19 due to caregiving roles, more exposed to sexual and gender-based violence and experienced mental health impacts to a greater degree than men. In urban areas, poverty rates grew, in some cases at a faster pace than in rural areas. People on the move were more likely to lose jobs or have their hours cut during the pandemic and have been widely neglected by formal protection and safeguarding measures. Furthermore, a lack of preparedness made it harder for countries to build a comprehensive response to what has simultaneously become a public health emergency, global economic shock, and political and social crisis. “As frontline community responders, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the globe have been able to bridge the gaps in this response. They have a deep knowledge of the inequalities that exist and of how they are perpetuated and are therefore among the best placed to help people to recover from the harms to their livelihoods, health and education. But to continue to do so they will need significant additional support: both financial and political,” Rocca continues. The report also reveals that the world is on course for a wildly unequal recovery, depending on the efficacy and equity of vaccination programmes. “We have consistently warned that the inequitable distribution of vaccines will not only allow for high levels of transmission to continue, but that this inequity will also hinder, prolong, or exacerbate the impacts of this pandemic. While we continue to allow profits to trump humanity and richer countries continue to monopolize doses, we will never be able to say that this pandemic is over. “The world must open its eyes, take heed of what is happening around them and shift from words to action. If not, we face the risk that the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will be just as uneven and unjust as the impacts of the pandemic itself,” Rocca concludes. Click here to download and read the report (available in English, Arabic, French and Spanish). For more information and to arrange interviews: In London: Teresa Goncalves, co-author of the report and IFRC COVID-19 Communications Coordinator, +44 (0) 7891 857 056, [email protected] Watch this short video about the report:

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10/06/2021 | Basic page

Food security and livelihoods

Disasters and crises can take a devastating toll on people’s food security and livelihoods. They can increase people’s socio-economic vulnerability and seriously impact their ability to recover, which in turn affects their ability to cope with future shocks and stresses.

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06/09/2021 | Emergency

Afghanistan: Humanitarian crises

Afghanistan is experiencing the compounding effects of decades of conflict, severe drought, food insecurity, climate-related disasters, displacement and gaps in health services. A deadly 5.9 magnitude earthquake also struck the south east of the country on 22 June, claiming at least 1,000 lives. This revised Emergency Appeal seeks 90 million Swiss francs, increased from an initial 36 million Swiss francs in August 2021, to further scale up the Afghan Red Crescent Society's (ARCS) humanitarian response to multiple humanitarian crises in Afghanistan. Funds raised will enable the IFRC to support the ARCS to deliver assistance and support to 1,000,000 people in all 34 provinces.

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09/09/2021 | Emergency

Kenya: Drought hunger crisis 2021

An estimated 2.1 million people in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) of Kenya are severely food insecure following two consecutive poor rainy seasons that have hampered crop production. This appeal will enable the IFRC to support the Kenya Red Cross Society to deliver humanitarian assistance to 500,000 people over 18 months to address the current drought crisis.

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30/09/2021 | Press release

Afghanistan faces collapse of health services and mass hunger

Kuala Lumpur/Kabul/Geneva, 30 September - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warns that Afghanistan faces imminent collapse of health services and widespread hunger if aid and money do not flow into the country within weeks. Acute food shortages fuelled by serious drought, lack of cash and displacement, the COVID-19 pandemic and crippled health services have converged on the people of Afghanistan, with some 18 million Afghans in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Speaking from Kabul where he has been on a four-day official visit, Alexander Matheou, IFRC Asia Pacific Director said: “After living through decades of fleeing and fighting, Afghans now face a severe drought which has devastated food production, leaving millions hungry and destitute. “We are deeply concerned that Afghanistan faces imminent collapse of health services and worsening hunger if aid and money do not flow into the country within weeks. Health financing has been cut across the country placing ever more demand on Red Crescent teams. “Urgent international action is needed to support millions of people with the necessities of life as Afghanistan’s looming harsh winter threatens greater misery and hardships.” Afghan Red Crescent is providing support in some of the hardest hit provinces, including relief supplies to families suffering food shortages and loss of income. Red Crescent has been providing families who have lost their livelihoods due to the drought with cash grants to buy food, to plant drought-resistant food crops and protect their livestock. Health clinics, including mobile teams of doctors and nurses, are providing critical care across Afghanistan. As part of this ongoing support, the IFRC is urgently appealing to the international community for more than 36 million Swiss francs to support Afghan Red Crescent to deliver emergency relief and recovery assistance to 560,000 people in 16 provinces worst affected by severe drought and displacement. “Afghan Red Crescent has a long history of helping people living in areas other agencies are unable to reach. Red Crescent teams are ramping up critical maternal and child healthcare, food assistance and other emergency relief, but much more support is needed. “IFRC appeal funds will be used to help with sustainable water supplies, establishing more drought-resistant crops and revitalising livestock, while supporting critical income generation for those most at risk of spiralling poverty, including women and the elderly.” For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: In Kuala Lumpur: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451 [email protected] In Geneva: Nathalie Perroud, +41 79 538 14 71 [email protected] IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world. www.ifrc.org - Facebook - Twitter - YouTube

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18/07/2021 | Emergency

Somalia: Hunger crisis 2021

In Somalia, 5.6 million people are currently food insecure and 2.8 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements due to the compounding impacts of extended drought, flooding, desert locust infestations, the economic impacts of COVID-19 and conflict. This Emergency Appeal will enable the IFRC to support the Somalia Red Crescent Society (SRCS) to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 500,000 people in Somaliland and Puntland. It willcontribute to the IFRC’s Pan-Africa Zero Hunger Initiative, which aims at lifting the most vulnerable people in Africa from poverty and eradicating dependence on food assistance.

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28/06/2021 | Emergency

Nigeria: Hunger crisis 2021

The North West and North Central states of Nigeria are facing high levels of food insecurity due to a combination of long-running armed conflict and violence, disrupted livelihoods, reduced market access, localized food production shortfall and the impacts of COVID-19 on food supply chains. This Emergency Appeal will enable the IFRC to support theNigeria Red Cross Society (NRCS) to deliver humanitarian assistance to 200,000 people (33,000 households) over 18 months, focussing on areas such as livelihoods and basic needs, health and nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

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11/08/2021 | Press release

Somalia: Three million face starvation and disease, warns IFRC, as it calls for swift action

Nairobi/Geneva, 11 August 2021—The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has warned that Somalia is on the cusp of a humanitarian catastrophe. One in 4 people face high levels of acute food insecurity and more than 800,000 children under the age of five are at risk of acute malnutrition unless they receive treatment and food assistance immediately. In addition to food insecurity, Somalia’s humanitarian situation continues to worsen due to multiple threats, including the outbreak of diseases such as Acute WateryDiarrhoea, measles, malaria and COVID-19. Mohammed Mukhier, IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa said: “Somalia is one of the riskiest places on earth to live right now. The country is a catalogue of catastrophes. Climate-related disasters, conflict and COVID-19 have coalesced into a major humanitarian crisis for millions of people. We can’t keep talking about this, we must reduce suffering now.” Somalia is vulnerable to extreme climatic conditions, including repeated cycles of drought, seasonal floods, and tropical cyclones. The country has also been grappling with the impact of desert locusts. People regularly experience loss of livelihoods, food insecurity, malnutrition, and a scarcity of clean water. Seventy per cent of the country’s population lives in poverty, and 40 per cent is estimated to be living in extreme poverty. The socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 are likely to lead to worsening nutrition outcomes among vulnerable groups—including poor households in urban areas and internally displaced people, many of whom live in crowded, unhygienic conditions and makeshifts shelters in the context of increasing food prices and reduced employment and income-earning opportunities. The IFRC, Somali Red Crescent Society and other partners continue to provide support to vulnerable communities. However, the resources are unable to keep pace with needs. Mukhier said: “We are doing our best to contribute to the reduction of hunger and disease. But, frankly speaking, available assistance remains a drop in the ocean, given the scale of suffering.” To address some of the many unmet needs, the IFRC isseeking8.7 million Swiss francs to support the Somali Red Crescent Society to deliver humanitarian assistance to 563,808 people in Somaliland and Puntland over 18 months. This emergency appeal will enable the IFRC and the Somali Red Crescent Society to step up the response operation with a focus on livelihood and basic needs support, health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, protection, gender and inclusion, as well as helping communities to prepare for other disasters. On 15 May 2021, the IFRC released 451,800 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to help the Somali Red Crescent Society provide more than 120,000 people in Puntland and Somaliland with health and nutrition support. The Somali Red Crescent Society has unparalleled access to remote and hard-to-reach families, including those living on mountains or nomadic communities. Its integrated health care programme, with its network of static and mobile health clinics, is a key provider of health services. In a country with many nomadic and displaced people, it is challenging to reach communities with consistent health care: mobile clinics are one of the primary strategies to fill those gaps. The Red Crescent mobile teams are uniquely positioned to reach patients in areas that lack vehicle or ambulance services. For more information, or to request interviews, please contact: In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe, +254 731 688 613, [email protected] In Geneva: Ann Vaessen, +41 79 405 77 50, [email protected] Editor’s note Latest photos, videos and B-rolls, on the situation in Somalia, available on this link https://www.ifrcnewsroom.org/ To follow the conversation on social media, use this hashtag: #HungerAndDiseaseReduction

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20/05/2020 | Press release

East Africa: Red Cross raises the alarm over a “triple menace” of floods, COVID-19 and locusts

Nairobi/Geneva, 20 May 2020—A series of mutually exacerbating disasters is unfolding in East Africa, on a scale rarely seen in decades, warned the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Ongoing heavy rain—which has killed nearly 300 and displaced about 500,000 people—has slowed down operations aimed at controlling the worst locust crisis in decades and increased the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Dr Simon Missiri, IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa said: “The ongoing flooding crisis is exacerbating other threats caused by COVID-19 and the invasion of locusts. Travel and movement restrictions meant to slow down the spread of COVID-19 are hampering efforts to combat swarms of locusts that are ravaging crops. Flooding is also a ‘threat amplifier’ with regards to the spread of COVID-19 as it makes it hard to implement preventive measures.” Flooding has left thousands of people homeless, many of them now seeking shelter in temporary accommodation centres where it is not easy or not possible at all to observe physical distancing. As a result, thousands are now at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 or waterborne diseases and need emergency food assistance. “We are facing an unusually complex humanitarian situation. We are worried that the number of people who are hungry and sick will increase in the coming weeks as flooding and COVID-19 continue to severely affect the coping capacity of many families in the region,” added Dr Missiri. “Harsh weather conditions are having a multiplier effect on an already difficult situation and this could potentially lead to worrying levels of food insecurity in the region.” Red Cross teams in the affected countries are rushing to respond to multi-faceted and overlapping crises. To respond to flooding, COVID-19 and locusts, the IFRC has provided over 7 million Swiss francs to Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in East and Horn of Africa. Red Cross and Red Crescent teams in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda are helping communities mitigate the negative impacts of the triple disaster through community awareness and direct food and non-food support. In Kenya, the Red Cross is conducting assessments in 16 counties, using drones and satellite images. Red Cross teams are also airlifting household items to families that have been marooned by floods. “Flooding is a recurrent phenomenon in the region. To break this cycle, we call upon Governments and partners to invest more in preparedness and flood control methods,” said Dr MISSIRI.

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12/12/2019 | Press release

Immediate action needed as millions face hunger in Southern Africa, warns the Red Cross

Pretoria/Nairobi/Geneva, 12 December 2019 –Hunger is threatening the lives of 11 million people in Southern Africa due to deepening drought and in the region. Red Cross teams across Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia are scaling up their response to emergency and crisis levels of food insecurity. “This year’s drought is unprecedented, causing food shortages on a scale we have never seen here before,” said Dr Michael Charles, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Southern Africa cluster. “We are seeing people going two to three days without food, entire herds of livestock wiped out by drought and small-scale farmers with no means to earn money to tide them over a lean season.” The countries with the most significant increase in food insecurity from last year are Zambia and Zimbabwe, with 2.3 million and 3.6 million people respectively suffering from acute food shortages. Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia have this year declared drought emergencies. In Eswatini, 24 per cent of its rural population is suffering from food shortages. The situation is set to worsen due to late or no rain in the region and crop production is down by 30 percent for the 2019/2020 harvest. In October, the IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal in Zambia to bring relief to those most affected by the persistent drought and is now widening its appeal for emergency funding to cover a further four countries affected by unprecedented levels of drought and hunger. The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement already has ongoing operations on food insecurity in Eswatini, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe reaching 207,055 people (41,411 households). This newest appeal will broaden its reach to eight southern African countries and will target individuals not reached by other interventions in the region. “There is a major gap in investment in resilience and community-level capacities in countries hardest hit, including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini,” Dr Charles said. “As a humanitarian collective, we must take immediate action to respond to millions who face imminent starvation. Even more importantly, it is our responsibility to strengthen communities’ resilience and ability to adapt to the current challenges. Otherwise, we will never end hunger in the region.” The IFRC is calling for 7.7 million Swiss francs to mitigate the food crisis in the region. The overall objective of the multi-country Emergency Appeal is to provide immediate food assistance and livelihood recovery support to the most affected households in the targeted communities for a period of 14 months.

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15/10/2019 | Article

Yemen’s Healthcare System on the Brink of Collapse

Text and photos: Julie Lorenzen, Danish Red Cross His brown eyes look tired – almost absent – and the skin is way too pale. He speaks with a voice that is difficult to hear. Nine-year-old Luai and his mother are visiting a primary health clinic, run by Yemen Red Crescent Society in Yemen’s capital Sanaa. Luai has been sick for a while with a fever that shows no sign of abating. “His body is weak. He was fine, when he was little, but then his body started to weaken. I am worried, he cannot fight diseases,” says his mother Fatima. Doctor Anisha examines the little boy and it does not take her long to conclude that he is malnourished and has anemia. There is also a risk that Luai is suffering from internal parasites, a condition common in many Yemeni children. Doctor Anisha prescribes iron and multivitamins. That is all she can do. But this visit to the clinic is a short-term solution. When Luai goes home, his parents can only afford to buy rice and bread because of the sky rocketing food prices in Sanaa. Vegetables are a luxury the family can only afford once a month - like so many other Yemeni families who suffer from the impacts of the 5-year long conflict. Lack of medicine and doctors According to doctor Anisha who has worked in the clinic for 17 years, Luai’s story is sadly familiar. “Five years ago, we did not see many cases of malnutrition”, she says. “But now there are cases in all health clinics around the country. I am worried because it affects their ability to learn in school. We only see the mild cases in this clinic.” Doctor Anisha also sees many malnourished pregnant women which can lead to complications like low birth weight and premature births. According to UN OCHA 3,2 million women and children in Yemen are acutely malnourished - the number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition has increased by 90% in the last three years. And it is not only malnutrition the children suffer from. “We see that diseases like measles, diphtheria and chicken pox have returned. They were not present before the conflict,” says doctor Anisha. She used to vaccinate the children, but the clinic can no longer provide this vital service. The vaccinations need to be stored in a cold place, but because of the lack of electricity and fuel, this is no longer an option. It is the same story with the X-ray machine which has not been working since the beginning of the conflict. And the ultrasound scanner has been silent for the last year, since the clinic cannot afford to pay salary to an ultrasound doctor who can operate it. Doctor Anisha is the only doctor to help the approximately 40 patients who come to the clinic every day. “We need more doctors and nurses in the clinic,” she says, adding: “And we need medicine to treat patients with hypertension and diabetes. We can check their blood pressure and blood sugar, but we cannot give them medicine. Medicine is the most important.” The clinic has a laboratory, but currently they cannot carry out liver, kidney and cholesterol tests because of lack of equipment. Today it is free for the patients to get tests done in the laboratory, but in the future, the clinic might be forced to demand payment. It is not going to be easy for the patients. “Our patients are poor,” says doctor Anisha. Stay and risk your own life Many doctors and nurses have fled from the conflict in Yemen. But not Doctor Anisha. “The future is horrible. If you stay here, you are killing yourself. But I stay and do my best. I cannot leave my patients here. I would feel bad, if they came and asked for me, and I wasn’t there.” “We help people the best we can.” According to UN OCHA an estimated 19.7 million people in Yemen lack access to basic healthcare. But only 51% of the health facilities are functioning. The Yemen Red Crescent Society currently runs 22 health facilities around the country.

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06/09/2019 | Press release

Red Cross teams on high alert as Typhoon Lingling threatens five million in DPR Korea

Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 6 September 2019 – As many as 5.3 million people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are potentially at risk as Typhoon Lingling works its way towards the country’s south west [1]. Mohamed Babiker, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Country Office in DPRK, said: “We are concerned about the potentially serious impact that Typhoon Lingling could have when it makes landfall on Saturday. Last year, despite not even making landfall, typhoon Soulik displaced nearly 60,000 people.” “Strong winds, flash floods and landslides pose risk of serious injury and loss of life, damage to homes and infrastructure and destruction of vital crops. And Typhoon Lingling represents just the latest in a long line of challenges that communities in DPR Korea face, including severe food shortages as a result of ongoing drought.” DPRK Red Cross has activated its early warning and preparedness systems and will, with the help of its extensive network of volunteers, issue storm alerts to potentially affected communities in North and South Hwanghae, as well as up to 4-5 additional provinces based on the forecasts. Red Cross volunteers and national and provincial disaster response teams are on standby to help with search and rescue, evacuation, first aid, distribution of emergency items and activities to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases. To support this preparedness work, IFRC has released 56,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to help mobilize emergency supplies such as tarpaulins, cooking sets, quilts, hygiene kits, water containers, water purification tablets and shelter tools. These items are in strategically-placed warehouses throughout the country and can be quickly dispatched as needed. [1] Source: Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System

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19/07/2019 | Press release

Bangladesh: Severe flooding puts more than 4 million people at risk of food insecurity and disease

Dhaka/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 19 July 2019 – Days of severe rains have battered the northern and southeastern part of Bangladesh, putting more than 4 million people at risk of food insecurity and disease. Floods and landslides have damaged roads and vital infrastructure leaving hundreds of thousands stranded and without power and electricity. More than 66,000 homes have been destroyed. Food and clean water shortages are being reported, as well as a rise in waterborne diseases. Azmat Ulla, the Head of the Bangladesh Office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: “These communities are reeling under the full force of the monsoon rains and the ensuing floods and landslides. Even if the rains recede, overflowing rivers upstream will worsen the flooding in the coming days.” Food crops are under threat of being wiped out by floods across major farming and agricultural lands. There are fears that destruction of crops may lead to food shortages. Those most at risk include children, breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women, and the elderly. The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has mobilized 675 volunteers to support communities in the flood-affected districts. In addition to carrying out rapid assessments, teams are distributing food, clean water, hygiene kits and tarpaulins to families whose homes were destroyed or damaged by the landslides. Md. Feroz Salah Uddin, Secretary General of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society said: “Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed which puts people further in the direct path of dangerous floods. We are seriously concerned about access to the affected populations. A critical priority for Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers right now is to reach these stricken communities with relief supplies.” In response to the heavy flooding IFRC has just released 452,439 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund that will allow the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society to provide food, relief items and cash for 10,000 of the most affected families living in the worst hit districts.

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