Syria: Restraint, humanitarian access badly needed in Damascus

ICRC - News Release No. 18/09
21 February 2018

Damascus (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is calling for restraint and access to the wounded after the deadly escalation of fighting that has hit Damascus in recent days.

“The fighting appears likely to cause much more suffering in the days and weeks ahead, and our teams need to be allowed to enter Eastern Ghouta to aid the wounded,” said Marianne Gasser, ICRC’s head of delegation in Syria.

The medical personnel in Eastern Ghouta can’t cope with the high number of injuries. The area does not have enough medicines and supplies, especially after medical facilities were reported to have been hit.

“Wounded victims are dying only because they cannot be treated in time. In some areas of Ghouta, entire families have no safe place to go,” Ms. Gasser said. “On the other side of the frontline, people in Damascus are in constant fear that their children will be hit by falling mortars. This is madness and it has to stop. Civilians must not be targeted.”

Yemen: City’s architectural connection to Islam at risk as fighting nears

ICRC - News Release No. 18/08
20 February 2018

Sana’a/Geneva (ICRC) - As fighting along Yemen’s Red Sea coast continues, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is urging all parties to the conflict to protect and respect the city of Zabid, a World Heritage Site that has the highest concentration of mosques in Yemen.

Fighting would endanger civilians, Zabid’s unique architecture and the city’s cultural connection to one of the world’s major religions. Cultural property like Zabid’s is protected by international humanitarian law.

“The fighting in Hodeida governorate is at the gates of the historic city of Zabid, fanning fears for the fate of its cultural heritage,” said Alexandre Faite, ICRC’s head of delegation in Yemen.

Libya’s triangle of tragedy: Urban violence, vast displacement, perilous migration

ICRC - News Release No. 18/07
16 February 2018

Geneva/Munich (ICRC) – As Libya enters its eighth year of conflict, the humanitarian situation of the population is relentlessly deteriorating amid persistent armed conflict, violence and insecurity, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today after a three-day visit to the country.

The ICRC has recently scaled up its operations in Libya, which has been engulfed in economic chaos, general lawlessness and armed groups vying for power since the revolution in 2011.

The threat of ongoing conflict prevents many from returning to their homes and as a result Libya suffers from one of the highest per capita displacement levels in Africa.

“It’s hard to fathom how many people are affected by conflict in Libya,” ICRC President Peter Maurer said after visiting Tripoli, Tobruk and Benghazi to assess the humanitarian situation and speak with high-level Libyan authorities. “Urban violence and vast displacement have been an everyday reality for Libyans since 2011, while migrants - desperate to reach Europe - are often trapped and abused there”.

Media Advisory: ICRC President set to arrive in Libya; news conference planned in Germany

Geneva (ICRC) - The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrives in Libya today, Monday, February 12, to take stock of the humanitarian situation. In the course of his three-day visit, Peter Maurer will meet with ...

Yemen: A hidden cost of war: Thousands of kidney dialysis patients at risk of death

ICRC - News Release No. 18/04
06 February 2018

Sana’a/Geneva (ICRC) – Thousands of Yemenis with kidney failure are at risk of dying unless the country’s remaining dialysis centres receive more supplies and its medical staff are paid, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Tuesday.

The conflict in Yemen has ravaged the country’s infrastructure, leading to catastrophes such as the recent cholera crisis. But the damage to the nation’s health care sector is so vast that individuals with chronic diseases can’t access life-saving treatment.

An astonishing 25 percent of dialysis patients in Yemen have died every year since conflict began in 2015. More dialysis supplies, functioning dialysis machines, and funding for staff salaries are urgently needed to ensure the mortality rate does not rise further for Yemen’s 4,400 renal failure patients.

“The urgent needs of dialysis patients underscore how conflict has devastated Yemen’s health care system, negatively affecting many people with long-term health concerns,” said Alexandre Faite, ICRC’s head of delegation in Yemen.

ICRC is deeply shocked and saddened by the attack against Save the Children

24 January 2018 "An attack against an organization that helps children is outrageous. Civilians aid workers must not be targeted," said Monica Zanarelli, ICRC's head of delegation in Afghanistan. "Increased violence has made operating ...

Central African Republic: Violence Fuels “Neglected Humanitarian Tragedy,” with Half of Population in Need of Aid

ICRC - News Release No. 18/3
16 January 2018

Bangui/Geneva (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warns that humanitarian conditions in the Central African Republic (CAR) are rapidly deteriorating, with half of the population in need of humanitarian aid.

One in five people from the CAR have been forced from their homes by escalating violence, the highest level of displacement since the crisis erupted in 2013. Currently the north-west and south-east of the country are worst hit.

“The Central African Republic is one of the most neglected humanitarian tragedies in our world today. This week I have met people who had to flee for their lives—often sleeping in the bush for weeks and months with barely any shelter, food, or clean water,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer from the capital Bangui. “The humanitarian needs are enormous and yet the crisis remains largely underfunded, leaving the ICRC and other organizations overstretched to ensure those affected have access to life-saving services.”

Syria: Suffering in Eastern Ghouta reaches “critical point”

ICRC - News Release No. 17/94
18 December 2017

Geneva/Damascus (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is alarmed by intensifying fighting in Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, which is taking an unacceptable toll on everyday life in the area. At the same time, several neighborhoods of the city of Damascus continue to be affected by the hostilities.

Scores of civilians have been killed or injured since the latest spike in hostilities began on 14 November, with many civilian objects and houses being affected. Under International humanitarian law, these places must be spared during fighting.

“The humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta has reached a critical point. As so often in Syria over the last 6 years, ordinary people are once again trapped in a situation where life slowly becomes impossible and where goods and aid are severely limited,” said the ICRC’s Middle East director, Robert Mardini.

Humanitarian space for migration work must be protected

On International Migrants Day, the Red Cross EU Office calls on the EU and its Member States to honour their humanitarian commitments by supporting civil society actors like National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to provide essential services to migrants, regardless of their location or status.

We are deeply concerned to witness a shrinking humanitarian space for principled action towards migrants within and outside the Union. In 2017, the EU and its Member States sustained their efforts to curtail irregular migration, with increasingly abrasive anti-smuggling policies and practices. Their prioritisation of migration-management objectives in relationships with third countries also risked compromising the neutrality principle, augmenting exposure to potential instrumentalisation. Regrettably, the migration work of humanitarian actors was repeatedly challenged, negatively impacting our ability to access and assist migrants in need.

Number of families separated by conflict, violence or natural disaster at five-year high, says International Committee of the Red Cross

ICRC - News Release No. 17/92
11 December 2017

ICRC caseload of up to 74,000 families separated this holiday season due to violence, conflict or natural disaster, according to ICRC data Actual figures likely to be much higher due to lack of accurate global data

Chilling new video captures trauma of family separation

Geneva, 11th December 2017 – The number of families being separated by conflict, violence and natural disaster is at a five year high according to data from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). New cases of relatives contacting the organization looking to reunite with loved ones have increased by almost 90% over this period (2012-2016) with 18,000 new cases opened last year alone.

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