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| Press release

IFRC appeals for safe access to address growing needs of Sudanese refugees at Ethiopia-Sudan border

Addis Ababa/Nairobi/Geneva, 12 June 2024 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) urgently call for safe and unhindered humanitarian access to thousands of vulnerable Sudanese refugees near the Metema border point in Ethiopia.Since late April 2023, the Metema and Kumruk entry points have seen people, including Ethiopian returnees, seeking refuge from the ongoing crisis in Sudan. Since the onset of the conflict, the Ethiopian Red Cross Society has been at the forefront of providing humanitarian assistance, delivering psychological first aid, emergency medical services, water, high-energy biscuits, and health promotion initiatives. However, operational, security, and resource challenges significantly hinder these efforts.“Despite our concerted efforts, major challenges persist, including safety and security threats, transport access issues, and insufficient supplies of food, water, and sanitation materials,” said Mohamed Mukhier, IFRC Regional Director for Africa. “These challenges impede our ability to provide the necessary support to the affected communities. Our staff and volunteers are ready and willing to provide assistance, but we need safe and unhindered humanitarian access to carry out our lifesaving work effectively.”Ethiopia now hosts over one million refugees, making it the second-largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, many of whom have fled brutal conflict, leaving everything behind, and are extremely traumatized. There is a need for more support to meet the mounting needs of the refugees, including potable water, food, non-food items, and health and wellbeing facilities at entry points and within the camps. Additionally, support is needed to address the concerns of those protesting for better and more humane conditions in the camps.Paula Fitzgerald, IFRC Head of Country Cluster Delegation for Ethiopia & Djibouti, stressed the gravity of the situation, stating, “Without immediate and sustained support, their situation will worsen. We urgently need resources to improve living conditions for displaced people until a durable solution is found. We call on all parties to come together for the sake of humanity and urge global support for our emergency appeals to help affected communities cope with this crisis.”The IFRC renews its call for financial support, as the Sudan conflict remains one of the most underfunded operations globally. The Emergency Appeal to support the Sudan Red Crescent Society is underfunded, with only 18 percent of the required funds raised. Similarly, a regional population movement appeal to help National Societies in Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, and Libya support people displaced from Sudan is only 12 percent funded.For more information or to request an interview, please contact: [email protected] Nairobi: Susan Nzisa Mbalu, +254 733 827 654In Geneva: Mrinalini Santhanam, +41 76 381 50 06

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World Refugee Day: Europe’s experience with ‘private hosting’ of Ukrainian Refugees offers a new model for supporting people fleeing conflict and violence

After the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, countless people fled the country. Most went to other countries in Europe and now some 7 million people still live abroad.A significant percentage of these refugees were supported by host communities including individuals and families who welcomed them into their homes. This widespread show of solidarity provided an essential lifeline to numerous people from Ukraine.“She [the host] has done a lot for me,” said one of the Ukrainian guests, speaking about the people she is staying with in Hungary. “I found a job with her help... And somehow, we slowly became a family... And we started taking care of each other.”It was also an enriching experience for many of the host families."Sometimes we went shopping together or one bought a thing or two for the other, we shared things," says one woman from Poland who hosted a Ukranian family. “Together we supported and helped each other.”Such solidarity is not unique to the Ukraine conflict. People have welcomed refugees into their homes for as long as there have been wars, famines, and other calamities. But the movement of people from Ukraine that began after the escalation of hostilities in 2022 — and the response of many European countries — marks a significant moment in recent history.Instead of closing their doors to refugees, communities in Europe largely accepted them. The spontaneous expression of solidarity toward them —by private individuals and government authorities — meant that the people coming from Ukraine had additional accommodation options than the common reception facilities as collective centers or camps (as often happens when large amounts of people flee from one country to another).Rather, communities across Europe focused their support on the idea of housing people in private accommodations within host communities.Humanitarian organizations, government agencies, and enterprises that support people in need worked together in unprecedented ways in order to build on this solidarity. They coordinated multiple types of support, both for refugees and the people and communities hosting them.One key example is the Safe Homes Programme. Funded by the European Commission’s Asylum Migration and Integration Fund, the programme was implemented by the IFRCalong with Red Cross National Societies in nine European countries: Belgium, France, Ireland, Hungary, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.Driven by the dedication of individuals, organisations and national authorities, the programme aimed to provide safe homes for people who fled Ukraine and to support their integration into national systems.A new modelWhile this approach is not new and National Societies and other organizations have matched refugees with host families, it has never before been done on this scale. The Safe Homes Programme, therefore, helped with the monumental tasks of sourcing, matching, safeguarding and nurturing relationships between hosts and guests. It also helped the organizations involved to reflect on good practices and lessons learned so that communities, governments and host communities might be better prepared for similar situations in the future.Recently, the programme released a comprehensive report “Safe Homes: Key Lessons From Hosting People Displaced from Ukraine in Private Homes”, which in many ways serves as a blueprint or model for similar mass collaboration around private hosting.“The aim is to grasp the full picture of the hosting situation in these countries, which not only allows for better decision-making in the short term, but also informs strategies for potential future initiatives,” says Denisse Solis, Manager of the Safe Homes Programme, IFRC Europe Regional Office.New lessons and new questionsThis is particularly critical in cases such as this when the potential solutions are as complex as the challenges. For example, the kind of solidarity shown toward Ukrainian refugees is also extended to all people in need of safety,It’s worth noting, however, that private hosting is not new, nor is it exclusive to Europe and Ukrainian refugees.Private hosting has been widely supported by National Societies, local organizations, and individuals in various ways in all regions along crises where population movement has taken place. The Irish Red Cross’s work in helping to pair Syrian refugees with host families is just one example.There are also other complexities within host communities. Often, they too are going through tough times in different ways. At the time of the Ukraine conflict escalation, for example, the world was still grappling with the aftermath of a global pandemic, with economies and supply chains stressed, and money for public services severely stretched.One key question therefore, is to what degree is it fair to rely too much on private hosting without a proper strategy on what will happen next, as this type of crisis usually it do not resolve easily.“The state has relied almost entirely on the solidarity of its citizens,” noted one representative for local authorities Belgium who was quoted in the report. “It’s a problem because there was no prospect of a long-term solution. Host families were stretched to the limit. Then the pressure fell on local authorities, which had to find solutions.”The Safe Homes Programme report centers around 15 key ‘Lessons learned’. Lesson number one: “Hosting schemes must be designed with clear exit strategies, set up from the start, which enable guests to transition from hosting arrangements.”This lesson is backed up by a quote in the report from a Ukrainian case worker for the Irish Red Cross. “At the very beginning, people thought they were going to be here for a short period of time. Everybody was in this temporary mode,” the case worker said. “Most people were sitting on their suitcases waiting for the day to go back home. But now, you can see the changes in people’s way of thinking. They finally started to realise that it is not going to happen anytime soon.”It all starts with a Safe HomeIn each country, Red Cross Societies implemented the Safe Homes programme in different ways, in the “Safe Homes: Case Studies” you will find detailed information of the differentefforts, successful experiences, but also different challenges. [See also one-page, country-specific summaries of the case studies].“One of the biggest challenges has been the lack of housing, and this is particularly frustrating for social workers because they have no influence on this issue,” said one social worker from the Luxembourg Red Cross quoted in the report.“Many guests feel deeply frustrated because they do not want to return to reception facilities, but they do not have access to social housing either.”In short, hosts provide essential support, but it cannot replace public financing and support for housing. Nor can host families be expected to replace the role of social workers and public authorities. In the end, it’s about providing a complex array of support from a variety of angles and partners. But it starts with a safe home.“Everything starts with accommodation,” says one social worker, Slovak Red Cross quoted in the report. “We heard that all the time from the refugees. Unless they know where they are going to stay, they can't focus on something else like enrolling kids to school, find a job, and so on.”

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‘No such thing as a simple disaster’: Partnership to tackle complex food crises by addressing hunger on multiple fronts

Along the Niger River in Mali, Red Cross volunteers are helping local communities find new sources of water during dry spells when the river dries up and water for crops and livestock all but disappears.“There is water in the river only for three months,” said Nouhoum Maiga, Secretary General of the Mali Red Cross. “And the people there, most of them, rely on that water for their cattle.”As part of a pilot programme, volunteers help the communities dig wells and install solar-powered pumps that provide a continual source of water.In addition, the Red Cross collaborates with meteorological and hydrological services to get ahead of future problems – extreme heat, unpredicted dry spells or flash floods – with community-based early warning systems.As a result, says Maiga, local farmers have been able to quadruple their harvests. “Instead of just doing a harvest for one season they have been able to harvest four times,” he said.A complementary partnershipThis is exactly the kind of forward-looking, multi-layered response to complex challenges that will be strengthened through a renewed partnership signedon 29 May, 2024 between the FAO and the IFRC.The FAO and IFRC partnership aims to build on the two organizations’ complementary mandates and strengths at the local and international level in order to improve the quality, reach, impact and sustainability of food security and agricultural livelihoods programming. So far, the renewed partnership has been initiated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, South Sudan and Uganda.The partnership is born from a growing understanding that durable solutions to today’s complex and long-lasting humanitarian crises require ever deeper cooperation among multiple partners from the community to the global level.“There is no such thing anymore as a simple disaster,” said Caroline Holt, the IFRC Director of Disasters, Climate, and Crises, speaking recently at an FAO-IFRC Global Dialogue on Localization held on 27 March, 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland . “Issues such as food insecurity are intimately connected to lack of access to safe water or reliable energy sources. All of these issues impact one another and so the solutions need to be equally integrated.”Solutions to food insecurity must also address the complex factors that impact local food production and they will require new and innovative resourcing strategies. The partnership between the IFRC and FAO, therefore, will also serve as a base for wider investment by other partners interested in supporting local innovation on food security and livelihoods.“Two-thirds of people experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity depend on agriculture as their main source of livelihood, yet only four per cent of humanitarian assistancegoes towards emergency agriculture assistance,” Dominique Burgeon, Director of the FAO Liaison Office in Geneva, noted during the FAO-IFRC Global Dialogue on Localization.“Food aid alone is not enough to address acute food insecurity without the support and protection of livelihoods, many of which are based in local agriculture”.Mali serves as a good example. In Mali, FAO and the Mali Red Cross are collaborating on cash transfers, supplies for farm and food production, and cooking demonstrations aimed at achieving good nutritional balance, among other things.“We work with those communities, to empower them to be able to provide for themselves even in the midst of ongoing conflict,” added Maiga, who also participated in the FAO-IFRC Global Dialogue on Localization.The case of Mali also highlights the critical role that IFRC member National Societies play in addressing complex, long-lasting crises. In Mali, the Red Cross works amid an array of challenges: unpredictable and extreme weather patterns exacerbated by climate change, instability and insecurity, loss of traditional livelihoods and food sources, and massive displacement of entire communities. Meanwhile, in many parts of the country,most international organizations have left due to a lack of security.“TheRed Cross has remained in the communities impacted by these crises ,” Maiga noted. “Why? Because the Red Cross is a community-based organization. Our 8,000 volunteers are part of the communities where they work.”The critical need for early actionSimilar challenges exist in many countries. With one of the largest refugee populations in the world, Uganda is experiencing numerous, serious climate challenges, as weather patterns become more unpredictable. In some areas, entire communities have been washed away in flash floods.In this case, collaboration between FAO and the Ugandan Red Cross has helped communities withstand heavy rains caused in part by the most recent El Niño Phenomena from September to December 2023.With funding from FAO, the Ugandan Red Cross took actions in ten districts of Uganda in anticipation of coming rains: disseminating early warning information, mapping flood-prone areas, and overseeing cash-for-work activities in which local people cleaned water canals or removed silt from tanks that help contain excess water.In other cases, the cash-for-work projects involved helping local communitiessafely manage crops to reduce loss once they have been harvested. Crops can be ruined if storage facilities are damaged by flooding or if the systems needed to store, transport and distribute them are disrupted.“It's clear that the increasing frequency, magnitude, and intensity of disasters are not only affecting human lives, livelihoods and property but also evolve into epidemics requiring strong investment in community level preparedness and response,” said Ugandan Red Cross Secretary General Robert Kwesiga.

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Mohammed Alburai: Born in a refugee camp in Gaza, he became a double refugee when he sought safety for his family in Slovenia. Now he helps other refugees for the Slovenian Red Cross.

Born in the Deir El-Balah refugee camp in Gaza, Mohammed Alburai worked as a volunteer ambulance driver for the Palestine Red Crescent before leaving for Slovenia in 2019. Now a cultural mediator and translator for the Slovenian Red Cross, Mohammed helps migrants and refugees cope with their new life in Slovenia. He helps migrants connect with lost family members, organizes sports and social events, and talks with them about their needs and concerns. “That’s the best part in my job,” he says. “I meet people from different cultures every day — from Cuba, Bangladesh, Mongolia, all over Africa and the Middle East. They know I feel what they are going through and they trust me.” Mohammed also talks about his friends and former colleagues at the Palestinian Red Crescent who have died in the line of duty and he pays tribute to all Red Cross and Red Crescent staff who have been killed while working to save others.

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In the hills along the border, Lupita brings water, first-aid and a big dose of humanity

In the city of Nogales, in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, just about everyone knows Rosa Guadalupe Gonzalez Bucio.Health personnel, local authorities, consular representatives, social organizations, local merchants – everyone knows this smart, determined, red-clad woman who drives an all-terrain vehicle through the streets and remote dirt paths in and around Nogales.“Lupita,” as she is affectionately known, is an emergency medical technician, the focal point of the Mexican Red Cross's humanitarian aid for vulnerable migrants on the Mexican side of Nogales, a city that straddles the United States and Mexican border.Every day, Lupita is out there, on her little Red Cross buggy, looking for people who are lost, dehydrated or who have been injured after trying to climb the wall that divides the two countries.For many migrants, Mexico is the last step in the journey that people from all over the world undertake to reach the United States. In 2023 alone, there were more than 2.4 million attempts to cross the border between the two countries, which the United Nations called the world's deadliest land migration route.In 2023, at least 686 migrants lost their lives on this route and almost half of them did so trying to cross arid landscapes such as the Sonoran Desert, the one Lupita drives through every day.Tragic stories on an unforgiving journey“Every day of the year we go out in the racer to look for migrants who need help,” Lupita says. “Although there are even more arid areas, here in Nogales during the summer, the temperatures are extreme. Heat stroke, dehydration and animal bites are common. But in the winter, the desert is also a deadly threat”.It was precisely one freezing night 15 years ago when Lupita experienced a story that marked her forever. A woman walking with her young daughter in the desert fell and was immobilized. The group she was walking with called 911 for help and continued on their way. By the time U.S. and Mexican rescue groups reached her, it was too late. She had died.The girl survived, protected by her mother's embrace. But since there were no shelters in the area intended for this type of case, the girl remained in the custody of the Red Cross until the authorities found her family.Today, in Nogales, there are dozens of centers that each year receive thousands of migrants and asylum seekers from countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia, as well as from Mexico itself.“We have been providing humanitarian aid to vulnerable people in transit for some 20 years and their stories and needs continue to move me as they did on the first day,” says Lupita.“No matter where they come from, most are fleeing a difficult life and face an uncertain, dangerous path with no access to essential services. That's why, even if it seems little, we go out in the racer to look for them. That's why, even if it seems little, we leave water for them at the altars they build in the desert.”And that is why, although sometimes the needs of the vulnerable migrant population seem unmanageable, the Mexican Red Cross offers them basic medical attention, pre-hospital care, psychosocial support and services that help them reestablish contact with their families.The Red Cross offers these services throughout the country, from border to border, thanks to its network of humanitarian service points and thousands of volunteers who, with their commitment, keep humanity alive.

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World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day: How humanitarian principles help keep humanity alive during times of division in Myanmar

Dr. Chaw Khin was only in fifth grade when she took part in first aid training sponsored by the Myanmar Red Cross Society, laying the foundation for a lifelong dedication to the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.Later, during her university years, she began actively engaging in Red Cross activities within her community.Now, aged 66, Dr. Chaw serves as the chair of the Magway Region Red Cross Supervisory Committee. Her transparent approach and emphasis on the Fundamental Principles haspaved the way for effective response in a time of uncertainty and recurring crises.In February 2021, the political and humanitarian landscape drastically changed in Myanmar. Already dealing with the continued impact of COVID-19 and harsh economic conditions, the Magway Region was then affected by clashes between various factions, leading to the displacement of thousands of people.Undeterred, Dr. Chaw navigated the complex environment, conducting dissemination sessions on humanitarianprinciples in order to build trust with people affectedby these crises, as well as all other groups, organizations and agencies involved.A critical foundation, says Dr. Chaw, has been the principle of Independence, which means the Red Cross only focuses on its mandate to help people in need and is not part of any particular group’s agenda.“It’s important to continuously promote and emphasize the independence of the Myanmar Red Cross in all and any form of engagement with all partners, whether formal or informal,” Dr. Chaw says.This is particularly important when various sectors of the community do not trust each other. “Advocacy to local authorities and community has led to increased acceptance in most of the Magway region, but some areas still experience hatred between different sides in the conflict,” she says.That distrust and division is one reason thatACAPS, an organization that seeks to help humanitarians make informed decisions, has categorizedMyanmar as one of five countries globally in “extremely severe constraints" in terms of humanitarian access.Those difficulties also affectthe Myanmar Red Cross, and this is why Dr. Chaw’s transparent and persistent negotiations and dialoguewith numerous groups and communitiesare so important.Supporting the volunteersAsMyanmar Red Cross volunteers are part of the communities they serve, this unrest and upheaval affected them too. Many were displaced from their townships.Dr. Khin made it a priority to keep in touch with her volunteers and ensure they were given as much support as possible.The maintenance of volunteer registration cards, a process she diligently oversaw as a leader, ensured continued support for the volunteers, even in new and challenging circumstances.From pandemic to stormsThe true impact of Dr. Chaw 's leadership unfolded during relief distributions to vulnerable communities. During the pandemic, she served as chair of the COVID-19 Response Committee in Magway Region. In that role, she helped establish strong community relationships and gained the trust of local authorities.In May 2023, Cyclone Mocha – tied with 2019’s Cyclone Fani as the strongest ever recorded in the north Indian Ocean - wreaked havoc in the western and northwestern parts of Myanmar, bringing new misery to struggling communities.During all these challenges, Dr. Chaw played a crucial role in ensuring equitable community access to health, water, sanitation, and education services.Humbled by her experiences, she is full of praise for the Myanmar Red Cross Society and thevolunteers of the Magway Red Cross branch, for everything they do to keep humanity alive.By Swe Zin Myo WinPhotos: Khaing Wai Aung and Htun Kyaw, Myanmar Red Cross Society

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Sudan: 'the most difficult year' after outbreak of conflict

One year after the outbreak of violence in Sudan that killed thousands of people and displaced as many as 8.6 million others, the volunteers and staff of the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) are still working around the clock with limited resources to meet massive humanitarian needs.Wajdan Hassan Ahmed has been volunteering with her National Society for 16 years. She describes the 12 months following 15 April 2023 – when residents of the capital Khartoum woke to the terrifying sound of gunfire and explosions – as the most difficult year of her life.“The stories I experienced at the beginning of the war – the evacuations of people disfigured by bomb shrapnel, the stories of fathers who had lost their daughters, mothers who had lost their children, parents who lost their whole family… all these stories have stayed with me, and I cannot forget them,” she said.Psychosocial supportAs well as helping to evacuate people and bring them to safety far away from the fighting, Wajdan and her Red Crescent colleagues have been providing much-needed psychosocial support as well as food, water, and information.Many families were separated in the panic caused by the violence, and the resulting displacement within and outwith Sudan has pushed people far away from their loved ones. The Sudanese Red Crescent’s Restoring Family Links service is still helping to connect and reunite them.“We’re working hard to reunite families who have [been separated from] their children,” Wajdan said. “Some are aged seven to ten, and others of different ages.”Health clinicsSRCS teams have also been operating both fixed and mobile health clinics, helping at-risk people to get the care they need, wherever they may be. An estimated 80 per cent of Sudan’s healthcare facilities have stopped functioning since the crisis began, putting intense pressure on existing community-based Red Crescent health services.As a trusted neutral and impartial organization with thousands of highly trained volunteers and a permanent presence in communities in all 18 States, the SRCS has been at the forefront of the response during this past year. Around 4,000 volunteers have been directly involved in the emergency response.The IFRC had been working closely with SRCS and the ICRC long before the start of the conflict and will continue to do so for as long as people are in need. Many partner Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies have also given support, resources and personnel to enhance the response operations. These include National Societies from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Spain, Sweden , Switzerland, and Türkiye.UnderfundedAnEmergency Appealwas launched by IFRC in support of the Sudan Red Crescent Society, although this appeal remains underfunded.A regional population movement appeal was also launched to help National Societies in Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Ethiopia and Libya to support people displaced from Sudan.Both appeals are critical in providing aid and relief to those affected by the ongoing crisis in Sudan and the surrounding region. More funding is needed to meet the urgent needs of these vulnerable populations.Call to actionThe IFRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent are calling upon all parties in Sudan to reflect on the humanitarian challenges that the conflict has posed. Despite the support that has been mobilized — around 10 per cent of the total required — nothing will be able to fill these gaps if the root causes are not addressed.The Red Cross and Red Crescent network calls upon all parties to come together for the sake of humanity and for the people, including children, who are suffering due to this ongoing conflict. And it calls on people around the world to support the critical emergency appeals that will help us ensure that affected communities and families can overcome this crisis, now entering its second year.

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| Press release

IFRC calls for humane implementation of the European Pact on Asylum and Migration

The European Parliament has approved the European Pact on Asylum and Migration, now the focus shifts to implementation. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) asks all European Union (EU) Member States to guarantee humane conditions for asylum seekers and migrants affected, never losing their focus on human dignity and human rights. The IFRC has concerns. The Pact focuses on the normalization of detention and speedier processes at borders. Both are worrying. Detention damages people. Quick decisions can risk returning people who should be granted asylum. In the Pact’s implementation, EU countries must ensure the systemic use of detention is avoided at all costs, and that individuals are always treated as individuals.Effective collaboration and solidarity between EU states will be vital too. The Pact maintains the principle that asylum seekers remain in the country where their application was first registered to be entitled to accommodation and other services. This will not encourage other Member States to help relocate asylum seekers and share responsibilities. Nor, in our view, will a tougher regime reduce the number of migrants coming to Europe, as the Pact assumes.As the EU and its Member States begin to implement the Pact, it’s essential that migrants continue to get assistance, support and humanitarian aid. We need to ensure the Pact is operationalized in a way that upholds the welfare, rights and dignity of all migrants. This is why it is crucial that humanitarian organizations such as the IFRC and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are part of dialogue on the implementation.Appealing to the European Union and its Member States, Ezekiel Simperingham, the IFRC's migration and displacement manager says: “The IFRC is calling on the European Union and its Member States to remember that at the heart of these decisions are real people with hopes and fears. We need to treat everyone with kindness and respect, no matter where they come from. This is how we can make sure everyone's rights and dignity are protected.”More information:For more information or to request an interview, please contact: [email protected] Brussels:Eva Oyon: +3222350922In Geneva:Mrinalini Santhanam: +41763815006

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A sense of ‘futurelessness’: new data shows severity of mental health challenges for people from Ukraine

Geneva/Brussels - 10 April 2024More than two years of armed conflict - with no end in sight - is leading to a sense of ‘futurelessness’ for displaced people from Ukraine, experts said at a conference in Brussels. Despite the incredible resilience people have been showing, this experience is likely to have a long-term impact on their mental health if not addressed in time.The conference was organised by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as part of aEuropean Union-funded EU4Health project, which aims to provide mental health and psychosocial support services for people affected by the ongoing conflict. Speakers included Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, and Xavier Castellanos Mosquera, Under Secretary General for the IFRC. Participants discussed the mental health needs of those forced to leave their homes, based on a recent survey conducted by the IFRC. Findings include:83% of people affected by the conflict said they or family members had faced stressful or traumatic events. Two-thirds said displacement had had a negative impact on them. Of those surveyed, 79% were outside Ukraine, 21% inside.30% of displaced Ukrainians had sought some form of psychological support since the escalation of the conflict in 2022, which reveals a demand for mental health services.Ganna Goloktionova, Technical Advisor in the IFRC’s Psychosocial Centre, said that uncertainty about the future was the top source of stress for Ukrainians. She emphasised that the combined toll of ongoing armed conflict, insecurity through displacement, the destruction of family structures, the temporary nature of protection, and financial stresses all negatively contribute to displaced Ukrainians’ mental health.“Many Ukrainians can’t see a future.” she said. “This state of ‘futurelessness’ is having a devastating impact on the mental health of Ukrainians, both those in Ukraine and refugees in countries elsewhere.”Xavier Castellanos Mosquera, IFRC Under Secretary General said:“Intervention at the right time can help and, in the long term, give people their futures back. Psychosocial support programmes are some of the least expensive activities in humanitarian responses. But they can have a priceless impact.”Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen, IFRC Regional Director for Europe said:“We know how vital mental health interventions can be, particularly when provided early. Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers from Ukraine and host communities build the necessary trust that helps us in addressing the stigma that still, sadly, surrounds mental health.”Across Europe, 37 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies are providing mental health and psychosocial support services and have reached 1.2 million people.BackgroundThere is an EU-funded collaboration between the IFRC, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, and National Red Cross Societies in Ukraine and 24 European countries to provide psychosocial support to people from Ukraine since May 2022. This programme has supported more than 200,000 affected people and has seen 11,000 health professionals and volunteers trained in mental health and psychosocial support.Listen to IFRC’s People in the Red Vest podcast episode:Nataliia Korniienko: Helping her fellow refugees cope with the stresses of conflict, migration and starting over | IFRCFor further details or interview requests contactGeneva – Andrew Thomas +41 763676587Brussels – Zsofia Varga +36 70 508 5718

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International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement urges support for conflict victims: 'We cannot let Sudan become another forgotten crisis'

8 April 2024, Port Sudan/Nairobi/Geneva - One year of conflict in Sudan is taking a devastating human toll. Over 8 million people have been displaced, and tens of thousands have been killed or wounded. The acute shortages of essential resources such as food, water and fuel, along with a seriously degraded healthcare system, are just some of the terrible consequences of the fighting.The Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) is at the forefront of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement’s efforts to ensure that Sudanese civilians receive the humanitarian protection and assistance they desperately need.“We have mobilized 4,000 volunteers from across the country to provide first aid and help evacuate the wounded. Our staff and volunteers distribute food and essential items, provide psychological support, and search for the missing,” says Aida Al-Sayed Abdullah, Secretary-General of the SRCS. “We urge the international community to increase their support to help us meet the urgent needs of the communities trapped in the conflict. We cannot let Sudan become another forgotten crisis.”The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and nine participating national societies (Danish Red Cross, German Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross, Qatar Red Crescent, Spanish Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross, Swiss Red Cross, and Turkish Red Crescent) have been supporting and working alongside SRCS to protect and support people affected by the ongoing conflict and natural disasters across the country.SRCS, with its partners, has been pivotal in delivering essential medical aid to hospitals, offering relief to displaced people and their host communities, and reuniting families separated by turmoil—facilitating crucial phone conversations among separated family members. Through its key access across the country, SRCS has been able to provide the most needed support to thousands affected.Beyond immediate assistance, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement contribution to the response extends to financial andmaterial support to SRCS, alongside providing technical advice and strengthening capacity- building.The IFRC launched a Federation-wide Emergency Appeal seeking 60 million Swiss Francs to support the SRCS business continuity as well as to scale up its life-saving humanitarian response in the country. The IFRC has also launched a Regional Population Movement seeking 42 million Swiss Francs to support humanitarian responses and activities of the National Societies in the neighboring countries of Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR), Ethiopia and Libya.The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement calls on all state and non-state armed carriers involved in the conflict to follow their obligations under international humanitarian law, which is designed to protect ordinary people and those who can no longer fight. When homes, hospitals, and schools are damaged, and people who are not part of the fight are hurt, it not only causes immediate harm but also makes it much harder for communities to heal and come together after the conflict.The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is committed to providing protection and life-saving relief to the people suffering the horrors of the ongoing conflict. It urges, however, that more funding is needed to sustain the SRCS operations in the year ahead.For more information, please contact:Nawal Hassan, SRCS, Tel: +249 91 265 6872 [email protected] Nzisa Mbalu, IFRC Africa Regional Office, Tel: +254 733 827 654, [email protected] Hezam, ICRC Sudan, Tel: +249 100 999 477 , [email protected]

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Palestine: In the chaos, they lost contact. Now they know he's safe, but the future is uncertain.

The people next door: An ongoing series about people helping others even as they face the very same strugglesLast month we shared the story of Amr Ali, a media officer for the Palestine Red Crescent who like thousands of others in Gaza had to flee their homes due to conflict. In that story, Amr shared his frustrations about wanting to help other people, but not knowing what to tell them.“They asked me ‘what should we do?” he recalled. “Where should we go and how can we protect our children?’ I couldn’t answer them because I have the same questions.”Amr had left northern Gaza with his family, temporarily moving to his brother’s house in Khan Yunis. When that city was evacuated, the Palestine Red Crescent lost touch with Amr. With much of Gaza’s infrastructure destroyed, blackouts made communication nearly impossible.But recently Amr was able to get back in touch and update his colleagues via text messages. Amr had joined thousands of others who moved south to find relative safety in a camp near the border town of Rafah. His journey and life in camp offer a glimpse into the fear, chaos and stuggles facing many thousands of people living in those camps.‘The worst time ever’Knowing they would need to cross a series of check points, Amr and his family left Khan Yunis early in the day on Jan. 27. There was bombing on the way and in the chaos and explosions, Amr was separated from his wife and children: 7-year-old Adam, and 3-year-old Maria.They couldn’t find each other in the crowds. There was no cell phone, wifi, or other signal.“This was the worst time ever,” Amr recalls. “For more than 12 hours I had no idea about my wife and my kids. I tried to ask hospitals if they got injured or killed.”Because the signal is so bad, Amr used friends and relatives in the West Bank as to relay messages. Just after 10 p.m. he got the call. Some relatives had spotted his family, and took them in. Everyone was okay.“It was very, very unsafe, but we managed to get to Rafah,” Amr said.‘Nothing set up here’As a media officer, Amr used to take pictures of Palestine Red Crescent staff and volunteers responding to the conflict unfolding around them: dispatch crews working in the dark because lights had gone out, food distributions and ambulance crews returning to the hospital.Now his photos reflect life in the camp with his son and his daughter, his attempt to keep a smile despite the tragedy and to reclaim some sense of normalcy and hope for his children.“It’s not easy at all to move from a well-equipped house to a very far place in a tent where is nothing set up.”Here, he says they make everything by hand, setting up a bathroom, kitchen, places to sleep and a system to store water. Access to food remains difficult, costs have jumped three and four times since the beginning of the conflict.Meat was $12USD before, now it’s more than $40 — if it’s available at all. Amr says his family cannot afford that, so they eat canned foods.The sound of bombsMeanwhile, Amr’s children are struggling. His son Adam lost his friend after an explosion across the street damaged the house he was staying in. Maria is confused as to why they have to keep moving.Amr says for a short time it was quiet in Rafah.“For a while we rarely heard the sound of bombs and shelling,” he said.But that can change in a moment. In February explosions and gunshots were heard across the city.“Living in a tent in such situations is very terrifying. You feel every bullet is directed to your body. We were terrified and each of us went to check on our children and loved ones. Living all this while in a tent made of fabric makes you feel like the weakest creature on earth.”Mostly, now Amr thinks about the future. “We keep talking about what happened earlier and where will we stay after the conflict ends. I believe that all of us will continue our life in tents and all this will last for a long time, maybe years,” he says.“I do not want my children to continue dreaming about the scene of soldiers, tanks, shooting and the terrifying sound of bombing.”Meanwhile, the Palestine Red Crescent Society staff and volunteers continue to provide medical care in hospitals and medical posts, ambulance services, public health messaging, and psychosocial support to people in Gaza.Teams are also coordinating the reception and distribution of life-saving aid, such as food, water, medicine, and other emergency items. They do this despite worrying for the suffering of their families and living in the difficult conditions themselves.

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| Press release

IFRC announces CHF 50 million appeal to support the Democratic Republic of the Congo amidst escalating crisis

Geneva/Nairobi/Goma, 8 March 2024 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), in collaboration with the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC Red Cross), today announced an Emergency Appeal for CHF 50 million to address the escalating humanitarian crisis in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in North Kivu and South Kivu provinces.For nearly two years, this region has been embroiled in a devastating conflict that has seen a dramatic increase in complexity and intensity, leading to unprecedented levels of displacement and humanitarian need. The IFRC and DRC Red Cross aim to provide critical assistance to 500,000 of the most vulnerable people, including families and individuals internally displaced by the conflict, and their host communities, focusing on food assistance, health services, water, sanitation, hygiene, and protection services.“The situation in the eastern DRC has reached a critical point, with millions of lives at stake,” said Mercy Laker, Head of Country Delegation, IFRC in Democratic Republic of Congo. “Our appeal seeks to mobilize essential resources to alleviate the suffering of those caught amid this crisis. The resilience of the Congolese people is remarkable, but the international community must act swiftly to support them in their time of dire need.”The DRC Red Cross boasts a significant presence and operational footprint in the affected area, with thousands of active volunteers mobilized. "This Emergency Appeal will support the DRC Red Cross reach and assist those most in need amongst displaced families as well as host communities," Laker added. Since the beginning of the crisis in March 2022, over 1.6 million people have been displaced, with recent escalations forcing hundreds of thousands more to seek refuge in already overcrowded conditions. The fighting has moved dangerously close to Goma, exacerbating the vulnerability of the population to diseases like cholera, and severely impacting access to basic services such as healthcare and clean water.Gloria Lombo, Secretary General of the DRC Red Cross, highlighted the scale of the challenge: “People are living in extremely precarious conditions, packed into family homes or camps. They are already at the breaking point – mentally, physically, and financially. Most of the assistance provided by humanitarian organizations goes to people in camps on the outskirts of Goma, but a lack of funding and the scale of people’s needs mean that this is insufficient.” With 50,000 volunteers in North Kivu alone, the DRC Red Cross is best placed to access areas where other humanitarian organizations cannot reach. “With 26 provincial branches, an active volunteer base, and high levels of access and acceptance across the territory, and across the lines of conflict, the DRC Red Cross is a key humanitarian actor and first responder. Our network of branches and volunteers, particularly well-trained and widely accepted by communities, has provided vital assistance to the hardest-to-reach communities and marginalized groups in the country. We have been at the front line of assisting displaced populations since the beginning of the conflict,” Lombo emphasized.The appeal aims to strengthen DRC Red Cross' existing capabilities to provide direct assistance to affected communities, leveraging its operational footprint and volunteer base to ensure effective delivery of food assistance, health services and WASH. It also underscores the importance of community engagement, accountability, and adherence to protection, gender, and inclusion standards to refine targeting methodologies and ensure the most vulnerable are reached. Additionally, the IFRC is scaling up its cross-border coordination with neighboring National Red Cross Societies in Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda to prepare for potential regional impacts and support refugees as needed.More informationTo fund the emergency appeal and support the people of Democratic Republic of Congo in their time of dire need, visit the IFRC website.To request an interview, contact: [email protected] Geneva:Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06In Nairobi:Susan Nzisa Mbalu: +254 733 827 654

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Cash assistance: ‘Today, I see a brighter future for my daughters’

For several years now, the Far North region of Cameroon has been facing the effects of climate change, characterized by droughts, seasonal disruptions and recurrent flooding, with disastrous consequences for agriculture, livestock farming and even access to supply centres and markets, among other challenges. This situation has led to a further deterioration in the economic situation of local households.In addition to the effects of climate change, there are social tensions marked by inter-community conflicts and grievances, as well as the presence of non-state armed groups. Over the last ten years, these factors have created a situation of insecurity, leading to population movements and, for many, the loss of loved ones."I lost my husband a few years ago,” says Soumaïra, who lives with her children in the village of Ndoukoula, in the Far North region of Cameroon. "I was 13 when we got married. A few years later I gave birth to our first daughter. My husband took good care of us. His job was to rear the herds of important local men, and he was also responsible for selling them.“One day, as he was returning from a village on the border with Nigeria to sell the animals of one of his bosses, he was killed in an attack. I had only just given birth to our second daughter, and I was already a widow with two children to support.”A new lease on life through cash assistanceHaving lost her parents when she was less than 10 years old, and facing a precarious situation, Soumaîra was taken in by the village chief, who tries as hard as he can to look after her and her daughters."One day, as I was going about my daily chores, I was approached by Red Cross volunteers and some members of my community", she recalls. "They told me they wanted to collect information about me to see if I was eligible for any further financial assistance to help me meet my family's immediate needs."It turns out that Soumaïra’s village is one of eight targeted by the programmatic partnership between the IFRC, the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and the French Red Cross in Cameroon.As part of the second phase of the partnership's operations in the region, 1,000 households in the Far North region have been receiving cash assistance since January 2024. The cash grants were made to respond to the most urgent basic needs of the population in this region, following armed violence, the impacts of climate change and the residual and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic."I told them everything they wanted to know and I was confident of being selected, which I was. Some time later, they explained to me that I would receive 64,000 Central African Francs (around 91 Swiss francs) in three instalments. With this money, I could buy a few important items for the house, have my children looked after if they were ever ill, and with the rest, if I wanted to, start a small business.“Today I received my first financial allowance and I'm so happy. With this money, I'm going to buy millet and other food to feed my children. I'm also going to start raising livestock and trading for a living. It's a process that will continue with the other funds I receive. I will be able to take care of my daughters' school needs and fight to make a difference to their lives.“Today Icansee abrighterfuture for my daughters.”In addition to the cash assistance, the Cameroon Red Cross is sharing community awareness messages on how best to prepare for and respond to epidemics and disasters, as well as on risk communication and community engagement.

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| Emergency

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Population Movement

For almost two years, the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in particular North Kivu, has been facing a devastating conflict that has intensified and become increasingly complex over time, with the potential to reach unprecedented levels in North Kivu. This crisis is characterized by a multitude of armed actors, a large, displaced population and an even larger population in need of humanitarian aid. The IFRC and its membership seek CHF 50 million (CHF 30 million expected to be raised by the IFRC Secretariat) to support the DRC Red Cross in its provision of food assistance, health services, water, sanitation and hygiene and protection services to 500,000 displaced people and their host communities in North and South Kivu.

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Islamic humanitarian giving

As the world’s largest network of locally based humanitarian organizations and volunteers, the IFRC is uniquely positioned to ensure your Zakat or Sadaqah donation reaches the people and communities who need it most. Fully accredited for receiving Zakat donations, we are based in communities alongside those we support. We act before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs of, and improve the lives of, vulnerable people—reaching millions every year.

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Off the radar: Ten disasters of 2023 you’ve likely never heard of

Maybe it's because the disaster happened in a remote, rural area, far from media hubs. Maybe it’s “too small” to warrant a global reaction. Whatever the reason, some emergencies don't get as much attention as others. For the people living through these crises, however, they are just as real, heartbreaking and life-changing as the big catastrophes that go viral or that benefit from the ‘CNN effect’. And when you’ve lost your home to a flood, fire or landslide – or you’ve had to leave town with nothing but the clothes on your back – you don’t have time for the world to catch on. This is why the IFRC has a rapid-response funding mechanism called the Disaster Response Emergency Fund (IFRC-DREF) that gets funds quickly to all crises, large or small. Here are ten of the least-known disasters that IFRC-DREF responded to in 2023. 1. El Nino in Ecuador In the later half of 2023, extreme rainfall generated by the El Niño phenomenon on the Ecuadorian coast caused rapid flooding. Fortunately, affected communities were more prepared than in the past thanks to actions they took ahead of the rains. When the El Nino’s impacts were first forecast, government agencies declared that preparing for and preventing damage from the expected heavy rains was a national priority. For its part, the IFRC-DREF allocated funds to ensure 1,000 at-risk families would have safe drinking water, proper waste management, food set aside and many other precautionary measures. 2. Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe Like many other relatively localized or regional epidemics, the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe in 2023 has received little international attention. It started in February 2023 and to date, suspected and confirmed cases have been reported in 41 districts in all the country’s 10 provinces. The IFRC has launched an emergency appeal to support the work of the Zimbabwe Red Cross, but even before that, IFRC-DREF dispersed CHF 500,000 to support 141,257 people with health care and water, sanitation and hygiene support in key impacted areas. The goal is to prevent and control the spread of Cholera, interrupt the chain of transmission, facilitate the improvement of case management and improve basic sanitation, hygiene practices and access to safe drinking water. 3. Floods in Bosnia-Herzegovina The northwestern area of Bosnia and Herzegovina experienced intense rainfall in mid-May 2023, causing widespread flooding and extensive damage to people’s houses and local infrastructure. The floods also destroyed crops and rendered much farmland and dairy production inoperable. It was a severe blow to one of the lowest-income areas in Europe, a region that relies on local agriculture for sustenance and income. IFRC-DREF allocated CHF 126,504 to the Bosnian Red Cross to support 1500 people through a variety of assistance measures, including cash transfers, distribution of essential equipment and hygiene supplie, and dissemination of health information, among other things. 4. Storms and floods on top of drought and conflict Sometimes disasters are hidden by the larger crisis enveloping a particular region. The scale of the humanitarian suffering in Yemen is so massive and widespread, there was little notice of the tropical cyclone that hit the country in October 2023. Tropical Cyclone Tej made landfall over the southern coast of Al Mahrah Governorate on the night of 23 October and continued to move northwestward. The cyclone caused widespread flooding, infrastructure destruction, displacement of communities, and the loss of many lives. IFRC-DREF quickly supported the response of Yemen Red Crescent with CHF 281,000 to support internally displaced people, host communities, returnees, marginalized groups, and migrants/refugees. 5. Fires in Chile 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 IFRC-DREF funding, the Chilean Red Cross provided support to more than 5,000 people. Staff and volunteer teams provided medical support and distributed cash so that people could buy the things they needed to recover.More information. 6. Deadly Marburg outbreak in Gabon In early February 2023, the Government of Equatorial Guinea reported the death of nine people who presented symptoms of hemorrhagic fever and soon after the WHO confirmed the country was experiencing an epidemic of Marburg disease. The Gabon Red Cross contributed to the government’s preventive measures and by 15 May, the epidemic over. Roughly CHF 140,000 in emergency DREF funds are now being used to increase the Gabon Red Cross’s ability to respond to Marburg disease and other outbreaks in the future by ensuring the mobilized personnel can detect suspected cases quickly, anticipate spread and prepare for a coordinated response with health authorities. 7. Severe hail storms in Armenia In June 2023, severe hailstorms struck various regions of Armenia, causing extensive damage and disruption. In the southern region, rural communities near the border experienced heavy precipitation that overwhelmed sewage systems, flooded streets and houses, and rendered roads and bridges impassable. The hail and subsequent flooding resulted in significant damage to houses, livestock, gardens, and food stocks. IFRC-DREF quickly allocated CHF 386,194to support Armenian Red Cross's efforts to help 2,390 people who lost crops, livelihoods or who suffered extreme damage to their homes. 8. Population Movement in Benin Around the world, there are hundreds of places where people are fleeing violence that rarely gets reported in international media. Here’s one case in point: over the past three years, non-state armed groups in the Sahel region has increased in the border area of Burkina Faso with Benin and Togo, forcing thousands to leave their homes. The IFRC-DREF allocated CHF 259,928 to support Benin Red Cross in assisting displaced people and host communities in Benin. The funds were used to provide immediate food and material aid to the most vulnerable households, covering immediate needs (shelter, access to drinking water, basic household supplies) for at least 3,000 people. 9. Cold spells and snowstorms in Mongolia A devastating snowstorm swept across eastern parts of Mongolia and certain provinces in Gobi areas, starting on 19 May 2023. The storm brought high winds and 124 people (mostly from herder community) were reported missing after following their livestock, which wandered off because of the storm. A total of 122 people were found, but tragically 2 people died. There were also severe damage to infrastructure, including the collapse of 22 electricity sub-stations, which caused power outage in several counties. Nearly 150 households suffered loss or severe damage to their “gers” or yurts (traditional circular, domed structures), as well as widespread death of livestock. IFRC-DREF allocated CHF 337,609 to support the Mongolian Red Cross's efforts to provide shelter, cash assistance and psychosocial support to 3,400 people. 10. Drought in Uruguay 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 IFRC-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 make more informed decisions on how to address the drought, taking into account the real needs of those affected.More information.

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| Emergency

Togo: Population Movement

Armed violence in the Sahel region of northern Africa is causing the displacement of tens of thousands of people seeking safety and security, including into the Savanes region of Togo. Throughout 2023, the number of displaced persons in the Savanes region has continued to grow, from just a few thousand in January to nearly 60,000 by September. The IFRC and its membership seek CHF 6 million (CHF 4 million of which to be raised by the IFRC Secretariat) to support the Togolese Red Cross reach 58,000 people in need.

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Armenia one month on: Four sisters among many looking for a new home

“Hi, what is your name? How old are you? Do you have a pet?” Speaking in perfect English, Mariana greets visitors from abroad with a series of questions at the community shelter in Metsamor. She also lets them know that she’s nine years old and has a dog named Catherine. Mariana comes from a family of seven – father, mother, grandmother and four sisters. The oldest sister Milena is 11, and the two younger ones, Maria and Lucia are seven and five. The girls are members of the Smiley Club, a local child-friendly space managed by the Armenian Red Cross. It’s one of 28 spaces across the country where children can go after school to play and get help with their homework. For some, the smiles and support they get here also help them cope with the emotional upheaval they’ve recently experienced. No other option Due to the conflict escalation in September 2023, Mariana’s family had to leave their home in Karabakh. They chose to come to Metsamor because they have relatives living here, but the house was not big enough for both families. They eventually had to leave, and didn’t have any other option but to move to a community shelter. The shelter in Metsamor is hosting around 120 people who came to Armenia, either this year or during the previous escalation in 2020. Conditions are dire – rooms are dark, walls are moldy and there is no heating or insulation ahead of the coming winter. Mariana’s family shares a single bedroom and a kitchen. The parents are working hard to be able to buy a house, but it will take them several years to collect enough money. Until then, without help, they have no hope of leaving the shelter Dire need for shelter They are not alone with this concern. One month into the emergency, shelter is becoming a critical need for thousands of families who left for Armenia. Most are staying in community shelters, paid accommodation or with host families. Armenian Red Cross volunteers are providing food, hygene and household items, but there’s an immense need for long-term support. Rent and utility costs are expensive, and many displaced families have no regular income and very limited savings. “The local community has shown immense solidarity, welcoming people from Karabakh into their homes,” says Hicham Diab, IFRC operations manager in Armenia. “Even so, this is not a sustainable solution – displaced people need more permanent and dignified shelter options. Rent and utilities support are key elements of response, but at the moment our IFRC Emergency Appeal is only 23 per cent funded. We are counting on the support of partners inside and outside the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement to help.” “We are thankful to our partners for standing by our side in this situation,” says Anna Yeghiazaryan, Secretary General of the Armenian Red Cross. “The scale of humanitarian need is huge, and responding to it is impossible alone. We are sure that mobilizing the power of humanity will allow us to help those who are in desperate need and try to restore their livesinnewplace.”

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| Press release

Red Cross responding to major humanitarian needs as tens of thousands cross into Armenia 

Geneva/Budapest/Yerevan, 28 September 2023: Tens of thousands of people have crossed into Armenia via the Lachin corridor leaving everything behind, since the deadly escalation of hostilities. Food, essential services, and medicines are scarce and telecommunications services have been disrupted, making it hard for families to contact one another. Armenian Red Cross teams have mobilized to meet them at humanitarian service points. People are receiving food, water, first aid, and much-needed psychosocial support there. “The majority of people that are coming across are women, children and elderly who have been stranded on the streets of the corridor, coming into Armenia with barely any food or sufficient clothes on them with this kind of weather that is getting colder and colder,” said Hicham Diab, IFRC operations manager in Armenia. “It is an incredible job what the Armenian Red Cross staff and volunteers are doing for an operation that will very likely not take weeks but a much longer-term effort.” The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is supporting the Armenian Red Cross to respond. In Armenia, the humanitarian needs are growing rapidly, and with tens of thousands arriving from the conflict affected area, the IFRC and Armenian Red Cross are scaling up human and financial resources. This includes ensuring an initial 3,000 people with essential items, first aid, and psychosocial support. “Armenian Red Cross teams are supporting in registration, information provision, first aid, and psychosocial support. Assistance to people in transit, including energy bars, water, dry ration packs are also provided,” said Dr. Anna Yeghiazaryan, Armenian Red Cross Society Secretary General. “We will continue to mobilize in the medium and long-term to alleviate suffering of displaced people and meet their humanitarian needs.” The IFRC is coordinating closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which has been responding to the conflict for years. This week, the ICRC delivered nearly 70 metric tons of humanitarian supplies via the Lachin corridor. Its teams have also evacuated over 100 patients in need of critical medical care in recent days to Armenia via ambulance. More information: To request an interview, please contact:[email protected] In Budapest: Edgar Zuniga: +36 20 337 7221 InGeneva: Andrew Thomas: +41763676587 Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06 Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67

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| Emergency

Armenia: Population movement

Tens of thousands of people have crossed into Armenia via the Lachin corridor leaving everything behind, since the deadly escalation of hostilities. Food, essential services, and medicines are scarce and telecommunications services have been disrupted, making it hard for families to contact one another. The IFRC and its membership are seeking CHF 20 million (of which the IFRC Secretariat seeks CHF 15 million) to support the Armenian Red Cross to meet the needs of families arriving at humanitarian service points including food, water, first aid, and much-needed psychosocial support. Please donate now.

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New IFRC podcast introduces the 'People in the Red Vest’

When disaster strikes, the sight of someone wearing a red vest is a sign that help has arrived. It’s a powerful symbol of hope and comfort amid the chaos following an emergency, worn by members of the IFRC and its 191 member Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies. And now it’s also a symbol of our brand new podcast. Launching on 12 September across all major streaming services, People in the Red Vest is a twice-monthly podcast that features inspiring stories of people from across the IFRC network. They’ll speak about their personal experiences of responding to the world's biggest humanitarian crises and what inspires them to keep going. The first episode features IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain, who talks about his recent missions to several countries in Africa impacted by an acute hunger crisis, and to Slovenia, hit by severe flooding. He also speaks of his upcoming trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly and shares what inspired his own personal humanitarian journey. “One thing that always stuck into my head was something Albert Einstein said, ‘You live a real life by making a difference in someone else's,’” said Chapagain, who was 14 when he became a volunteer for the Nepal Red Cross. Keenly interested in science from a young age, Chapagain is an engineer by training. But it was his first job, helping refugees in Nepal, that steered him down the humanitarian path. “Just listening to the refugees’ stories, their dreams and plans for their families... in many ways, that cemented my belief that if you want to live a satisfied life, you should do something for others,” he adds. Upcoming guests include: A regional leader in the fight against food insecurity in Africa, Ambassador Mahabub Maalim, who also serves as advisor to IFRC’s response to the current hunger crisis in Africa (now impacting 23 countries). He shares his thoughts on how to break cycles of food insecurity in the face of the climate crisis, as well as his own personal experiences growing up with hunger in eastern Kenya. Nena Stoiljkovic, a leader in the world of humanitarian and development finance who serves as IFRC’s Under Secretary General for Global Relations, Diplomacy and Digitalization. She talks about her life-long passion for using innovative financing and partnerships to help people and communities bounce back from hardship, as well as her experiences as a woman leader in the still male-dominated world of finance and development. Future episodes will also include people working at the heart of IFRC emergency and recovery operations around the world, as well as volunteers and leaders from its member National Societies. They will share their own compelling and inspiring stories and their thoughts on new trends in technology and humanitarian response, how to make our operations more inclusive and equitable, and what makes them to keep going despite the mounting challenges. In each episode, the guests will also tell us what the Red Vest symbolizes to them. If you’re curious, subscribe and join us wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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| Press release

Cox’s Bazar: the IFRC calls for global support and durable solutions to address pressing needs

Geneva/Kuala Lumpur/Dhaka, 24 August 2023: Six years after displacement from Rakhine State in Myanmar, nearly one million people still reside in Cox’s Bazar camps, and 30,000 people are in Bhasan Char. The situation is dire, with the displaced population continuing to face multiple and simultaneous threats, including fires, climate-related disasters, and epidemics in crowded, temporary shelters. With challenges mounting and resources shrinking, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for sustained global support, particularly for durable solutions and improved settlements. The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, IFRC, and partners, including the Bangladesh government, have assisted over a million people from displaced and host communities. Still, challenges remain for those in congested camps. In the past year, challenges like 33 fire incidents, Cyclone Mocha, and funding shortfalls have heightened vulnerabilities related to malnutrition, security, and education. The IFRC stresses the importance of ongoing investment in settlements and camp management to uphold the dignity of camp residents. Presently, living spaces average 24 sqm per person, falling short of the 30 sqm global standard. While the Red Cross and Red Crescent provide shelters meeting basic requirements, more support is needed to protect vulnerable camp and host community members, ensuring their safety, privacy, and dignity. The Secretary General of Bangladesh Red Crescent, Kazi Shofiqul Azam said: “We stand with the displaced people and the local communities that have generously hosted them in Cox’s Bazar. We’ve witnessed the aftermath of the sufferings caused by flash floods, fire incidents, and the recent Cyclone Mocha in Cox’s Bazar camp. We’ve immediately responded to each disaster and repeatedly rebuilt damaged shelters. With fire incidents on the rise and Cox’s Bazar being highly susceptible to cyclones, there’s a growing need for improved shelter and infrastructure. The resilience of the displaced people from Myanmar has been truly exceptional. They deserve to live with dignity and hope until they can safely repatriate. We remain committed to working alongside them and our partners to collectively alleviate their sufferings.” To date, the Bangladesh Red Crescent has facilitated nearly 2 million health consultations, and over 60,000 families have received 1.1 billion litres of safe drinking water. Despite these efforts, durable solutions remain essential, especially given the challenging living conditions. Continued international support is crucial to ensure that people in these camps can return to their places of origin with dignity once it's safe to do so. The IFRC Head of Delegation in Bangladesh, Sanjeev Kafley, added: “Six years into the crisis, our commitment remains firm. We stand by the many who continue to remain displaced, offering them a helping hand, a compassionate heart, and a voice that echoes their struggle for dignity, and a better tomorrow. As we navigate this protracted crisis, finding durable solutions becomes imperative. Yet, year by year, needs grow while funding gaps widen. This overlooked crisis risks the very services, relief supplies, and healthcare that thousands rely on. Without renewed attention, we risk being forced to prioritize support solely for the most vulnerable. We urge the international community to reengage and support, before lives are further impacted.” The IFRC and Bangladesh Red Crescent have been steadfast in supporting both displaced people and host communities from the beginning. However, the appeal is significantly underfunded. Only 61.5% of the CHF 133.2 million needed has been raised, leaving a gap of over CHF 51.2 million. Learn more about the emergency appeal. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: [email protected] In Cox's Bazar: Barkat Ullah Maruf, +880 1711222922, SM Taslim Reza, +880 1759004869 In Dhaka: Al-Shahriar Rupam, +880 1761775075 In Kuala Lumpur: Afrhill Rances, +60 192713641 In Geneva: Mrinalini Santhanam, +41 763815006

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Fleeing bombs and robbers: Lia’s search for safety in Sudan

“I was living peacefully in Khartoum before Ramadan. I’m a single mother, just with my children. I'm a director and scriptwriter, and had a new business. It was working very well and I was happy with my life until the war started,” she says. “The day of the war, our neighbour came and told us there were problems outside. We are used to riots – we get them every day. But suddenly he told us that everything was closed and no one was going out, they are bombing everywhere, it is a real war. “We heard constant bombing outside. The noise was so big, we were just hiding. The kids had so much fear. There was nothing in the shops to buy, and nothing in the house, so things were really very hard. We stayed one week in these conditions, then they said there was a ceasefire to give people time to get themselves a hiding place." At this point, Lia decided to travel with her children and other family members to Omdurman, a city on the west bank of the River Nile just northwest of Khartoum, to stay with father. “We saw a lot of things on the road. There were people with guns and weapons asking you if you were going to attack them. I told them we were not their enemy while trying to calm my children down, but they were very scared. “Omdurman was kind of safe. At first we heard some gunfire, but suddenly after two days they started to bomb really close to us and I was scared there was no safe place around Khartoum at all. I couldn’t sleep. I was just looking at the sky – seeing all the shooting planes, colours in the air, and bombs.” Lia and her family stayed in Omdurman for another few days until an armed robber broke in and stole from them while they were sleeping, at which point she decided it was too unsafe and time to head to the coast. She pleaded with her father to come with her, but he refused to leave his home. Before heading for safety, Lia needed to return to her house in Khartoum to collect her family’s identity documents in case they needed to leave the country. But this proved to be another ordeal. A taxi ride that would usually take 30 minutes stretched on for hours on end, as the taxi driver tried to find safe streets in Khartoum to avoid the violence. “We arrived at the house. It was so late. Everything was sadness and we cried altogether. We sat down in front of our house inside the gate until the morning because I couldn’t find the key. No one was sleeping. I was just holding my children, all of us together. “Morning came. The shooting stopped for a little while, and we had hope. But suddenly it started again. We broke our lock and took our papers and some of our things.” Lia and her children then began the long journey to Port Sudan, more than 800km away on the coast. “We managed to escape to the place where buses were leaving Khartoum. We were on the road for almost four days, stopping in different cities overnight, sleeping on the ground next to the bus. We knocked on strangers’ houses and they helped us because they knew in Khartoum there was war. They gave us kitchen equipment so I could cook and they let us use their bathroom. “It was tough. It was OK for me, but my children didn’t have this kind of life before. Nobody chooses to live that kind of life or chooses war, but we found ourselves in that situation.” Eventually they arrived at Port Sudan. Though less dangerous than Khartoum, Lia struggled to find a decent place for her family to stay. “I went to the first camp and it was so bad. We stayed there for just over a week but we couldn’t stay longer. My children were sick, so we moved to the beachside. I thought it wouldbe better but in the afternoon it was hellfire. You can’t stay directly under the sun. After that we were taken to another camp where we stayed for a month, then another camp. It’s a bit of a relief yet things are still bad. You cannot call camp a home. But at least this one compared to others is a bit better.” When asked how the Sudanese Red Crescent Society had helped her throughout her ordeal, and what difference it had made, Lia said: “The difference is clear. Red Crescent right from the beginning was always there to give a warm helping hand in times of need. “They brought us doctors and medicine and some food.” As to the future? “I thank god we are alive. Though we lost a lot of things, we are alive and breathing and my children are by my side. I just pray that one day things will get better again and I pray Khartoum will become safe again. “I don’t want to travel anymore. I want our lives and our country to be safe and all the worries to stop so we can continue to do the things we dream about.” -- More than 1,000 people have lost their lives since conflict broke out in Sudan on 15 April, and more than 12,000 have been injured in the fighting. The Sudanese Red Crescent Society, supported by the IFRC network, is continuing to provide much-needed humanitarian assistance despite security challenges in the country. To help people like Lia inside Sudan, please donate to our Emergency Appeal. You can find information about the work your donation will support here.

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| Article

Angola food crisis: ‘Because of hunger I am here’

With her baby wrapped snugly around her back, Usenia Semaneli braves the Kunene River on foot, supported by nothing but a walking stick. “Crocodiles live in those waters,” she says, “but you stop fearing anything. When you are hungry, you just choose to cross.” “When I was young, we used to get good rain,” says Usenia, who takes a break from her journey to share her story. Exactly how many people have made the trek from Angola to Namibia in the last few years is unclear. People have crossed the border for years to visit relatives, buy or sell goods. But in 2020 and 2021 it’s estimated thatat least 3,000 people from Angola were living in various encampments and host communities around border towns in northern Namibia. They came from various parts of Angola and from different tribes, but they tell a similar story. No rain. Failed crops. Livestock gone. A long perilous journey to Namibia. The troubles began in 2020, as dryness persisted through what would normally be the rainy season, which typically runs from November to April.Many of those most affected are children, lactating mothers, and the elderly. “We ate just a little bit every day, but all the children started to get weak,” says Usenia. “When you spend so many days without food it’s like you are confused. You lose control of your mind and everything is just turning around in front of your eyes.” Deolinda We used to walk during the day and at sunset we went to sleep,” saysDeolinda, who made a ten-day trek to Namibia with her granddaughter Venonyaand some other children. “Food was a big challenge throughout the journey. We didn’t have any food but we had to keep on walking. It was tough for me because I was traveling alone with the children. The journey was difficult, but I received help from people who carried my children… Not knowing whether the baby would survive or even make it, I was hoping for the best but also preparing myself for the worst”, she says. “When we arrived, Venonya was severely malnourished, so we took her to Outapi Hospital,” says Deolinda. “At first, when I arrived at the hospital I was scared because I feared that the baby would die. It was difficult to even find a vein to put a drip in the child, so I was scared. After a while, my baby got better and I started to feel calmer. We returned to the camp only a week ago with Venonya recovered, she stayed in the hospital for a week and a half.” Mwandjukatji “It took us almost ten days traveling, walking,” says Mwandjukatji, who found her way to a camp for migrants close to the town of Omusati, near Namibia’s northwestern border with Angola. “On the way,some of my daughters lost their children. Sometimes when we woke up we tried giving the children some water but they wouldn’t open their mouths, they died on the way. We had to leave them behind.” They knew the journey would be perilous, but staying in the end was not an option. “For a time, we debated what to do, and for a long while, we refused to leave our land,” she says. “But the hunger was growing unbearable. Because of that hunger, we decided to go to Namibia. We thought maybe we will survive there.” Mwandjukatji found temporary respite in a shelter she made using sticks, cardboard and plastic. There, she got by on food provided by local agencies and relief groups such as theNamibian Red Cross. “We heard that there was a camp where they were giving food to people like us who came from Angola,” says Mwandjukatji. “We receive some food and that is an enormous relief for us, because if we weren’t here most of our children would die.” “This shelter is not as strong, not the same, as our home. For our homes, we used to use strong sticks and sand mixed with cow dung, plus we had a fire inside the house. This is not the same. We can’t have a fire inside, and when it rains, the water seeps in. But here we have food at least.” Konguari The migrants saythe kindness of strangers has been critical to their survival, be it local leaders who let them stay on their land, government authorities, the Namibian Red Cross, or local residents who offered various kinds of support. The man in a blue shirt above, named Konguari, ran a garden hose from houseto give out water every evening. “In Opuwo, it is not uncommon to see people, usually men, coming from Angola looking for work. When I saw many women and children arriving, I knew something wasn’t right. I noticed that, although they were hungry, they were growing desperate for water. Very often they went in the field walking for hours to get wood that they sold in the market. With the money they got from the firewood they immediately bought water. When I saw this, I said to myself, ‘no, this isn’t right. Could it be possible for me to assist these people?’” A steady source of support The Namibian Red Cross Society (NRCS)has also been a steady source of support, providing food, water, health and hygiene support. A significant proportion of the people they helped have been children: of the4,027 people assistedin the Etunda and Opuwo areas of Kunene region last year, more than half were between 1 and 16 year old. More than 400 were lactating or pregnant women. The NRCS is one of numerous Red Cross of Red Crescent National Societies working on the frontlines of climate-related displacement,according to a 2021 climate displacement report by the IFRC. Their work includes responding to crises and building resilience to future shocks by preparing for and reducing climate risks. Around the world, floods, storms, wildfires, landslides, extreme temperatures and drought have caused the displacement of 30.7 million people, according to the report. “Our government tries its best to help the immigrants from Angola, and different organisations also try to help,” says Rijamekee, a Namibian Red Cross volunteer who lives in Northern Namibia and provides displaced people and vulnerable local residents with food, water, and health and hygiene support. “Anyone, who is out there should try their best to help these people. And not only the Angolans but anyone who is in need”, he says. Mekondo Climate change does not affect everyone equally. Children, the elderly, people with physical disabilities and other vulnerable and marginalized people are hit the hardestbecause climate change compounds the challenges they already face. “For the most part I crawled until I reached Namibia,” says Mekondo, who made his way from Angola to Namibia on his hands and knees. “I wore double pants until they peeled and tore at the knees. For my hands I used a pair of sandals so that I could crawl on the pavement.” “Although I feel well here because I have food, I feel bad for my mother who is still in Angola. I left her under the care of another person, but they were also hungry and were looking for food. I don’t know what to do because I don’t have money and I can’t crawl back all the way through that difficult journey, so I don’t feel well thinking about my mother living there without any food.” Returning home? Recent rainfalls have allowed many of the migrants to return to Angola, while others remain in host communities in northern Namibia. But the risk is far from over. The recentrainfalls come late in what is normally the rainy season, and they weren’t nearly enough to sustain a season of crops. But people remain hopeful as many of these 21stcentury climate migrants have missed their homes and always wanted to return as soon as possible. “I miss home,” says Mwandjukatji. “But the problem is that if we went home we would always be worried about what we were going to eat that day. When the hunger started there we sold our hoes and all the tools that we used to cultivate in order to get food. So now we don’t have those things and if we return we don’t have tools to cultivate. How are we going to get those tools to start again?” -- This story was produced and originally published by the Red Cross Red Crescent Magazine. To learn about the Magazine, and to read more stories like this,click here.

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| Press release

SOS Mediterranee and IFRC call upon all governments to ensure humanitarians can provide lifesaving support at sea without risking their lives

Central Mediterranean,10 July 2023 -The lives of shipwrecked personsand a humanitarian crewfrom SOS MEDITERRANEEand IFRCwereputin danger on Fridayafternoon, July 7, during a rescue operation at sea.TheLibyancoastguard fired shots in close proximitytoa rescue crew.This isthe third incident this year,andpart ofa context of increasinginsecurityin the MediterraneanSea.  The crew onboard humanitarian rescue ship Ocean Viking, operatedby SOS MEDITERRANEEandthe International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), responded to a mayday relay call about a small boat in distress in international waters off the Libyan coast. It was the second operation of the day after a first rescue of 46 persons that also took place in international waters in the Libyan Search and Rescue Region.  Shortly after the evacuation of the eleven shipwrecked personsby the Ocean Viking’s smaller inflatable rescue boats,a Libyan Coastguard patrol vessel approached the scene at high speed and started to fire multiple shotsat close range.The gunshots were fired less than 100 meters from the humanitarian rescue crew and the shipwrecked persons– including a woman and five unaccompanied children – as they were trying to get back to the Ocean Viking.  While all shipwrecked persons and crew members made it to safety onboard the Ocean Viking, all are in shock and some sustained injuries because ofthe dangerous manoeuvres of the Coastguard.Giannis, leader of the inflatable rescue boat closest to the Libyan patrol vessel, describes the imminent danger of the incident: "The impact of the wake created by the Libyan patrol vessel on our boats was so strong that I injured my back. As they continued shooting and chasing us, the safety of the rescued people and crew were in the hands of a gunman."  It is the third time since the beginning of this year that the crew of the Ocean Viking faced a dangerous incident during a rescue operation. IFRC and SOS Mediterranee call uponall governments to ensure humanitarians can providelifesavingsupport at sea without risking their lives. Ashumanitarianorganizations, our focus is on saving lives, filling the gap in search and rescue left in the Mediterranean and these situations put people at increasing risk. At the same time, numbers of dead and missing at Europe’s southern border continue to mount.  “We are extremely worried about the security situation onthe MediterraneanSea.We have seen devasting numbers of people that perishedat seathis year, with the horrific shipwreck off the coast of Greeceas a recent example. At the same time, humanitarian organizations tryingto help people in distress at seafear for their safety. Thisdangerous situation can lead to the loss of more lives, even though all these deathsofpeopleat sea are preventable,”saysMariaAlcazar Castilla, DeputyRegional Director for Europe and Central Asiaat IFRC. 2023 has been a particularly deadly year so far: 1,728 people have died trying to cross the central Mediterranean in search of safety and peace in Europe since January. It is the highest death toll since 2017 and almost certainlyan undercount. To prevent more deaths, it is crucial that humanitarianscan operatesafely to assistpeople in distress at sea. Note to editors Photos and footage of the incident can be found here. OnJanuary25, the Libyan Coastguard interfered with an ongoing rescue operation by preventing the SOS MEDITERRANEE Search and Rescue team on arigid-hull inflatable boat to return to the mothership. All survivors and crew eventually reached safety onboard the Ocean Vikingwhere IFRC provided them with post-rescuesupport. On March 25, a Libyan Coastguard patrol vessel came dangerously closeto the Ocean Viking (less than 50 meters). Not answering to VHF calls, the Libyan Coastguard started firing shots in the air in close proximityof the Ocean Viking as therescue ship was trying to leave the scene. Only after firing gunshots, the Libyan Coastguard in Arabic language requested the Ocean Viking to leave the area.  The operational partnership between IFRC and SOS Mediterranee onboard the Ocean Viking fills an important gap in the humanitarian response to assistand rescue persons in distress at sea. We do this by providingessential humanitarian services such as food, items for basic needs, and access to protection and health services to all survivors, regardless of their migration status. For more information, please contact: IFRC: Julie Enthoven/+36 70 508 5702/[email protected] SOS MEDITERRANEE PRESS CONTACTS: International Alisha Vaya /+33 6 34 10 41 33 /[email protected] France MérylSotty / +33 6 11 74 10 11 / [email protected] Italy Francesco Creazzo / +393478151131 / [email protected] Federica Salvati / +393332091366 / [email protected] Switzerland Alice Ganguillet/ +41 78 301 81 30/ [email protected] Germany Julia Schafermeyer/ +33 6 12 52 15 69/ [email protected] /

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