Red Cross calls on people to check on neighbours and loved ones during dangerous heatwave

Budapest/Geneva, 29 July 2020 – As temperatures soar across Europe, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling on the public to check on neighbours and loved ones who might struggle to cope with the searing heat.

According to European meteorological offices, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Romania can expect temperatures in the mid to high 30s during the week., with Paris and Madrid forecast to reach around 40°C on Friday.

To prevent loss of life, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is urging people to check in on their vulnerable neighbours, relatives and friends while following COVID-19 safety measures.

IFRC’s acting health coordinator for Europe, Dr Aneta Trgachevska, said: “Some older people are unable to spend on things like air conditioning. They may be socially isolated. When coupled with thermoregulation problems, reduced water intake and physical ability and chronic diseases, there could potentially be a large at-risk group.”

Red Cross Red Crescent braces for COVID spike in South Asia

Kuala Lumpur/Delhi/Islamabad/Dhaka/Geneva, 16 July 2020 – South Asia is fast becoming the next COVID-19 epicentre as cases soar in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

John Fleming, Asia Pacific Head of Health, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: “COVID-19 is spreading at an alarming rate in South Asia, home to a quarter of humanity.”

“While the world’s attention has been focused on the unfolding crisis in the United States and South America, a concurrent human tragedy is fast emerging in South Asia. India alone is nearing 1 million infections in coming days.”

“We need more focus on the new COVID-19 hotspot in South Asia. Lives of people in India are no less valuable than people in other parts of the world.”

Armenia/Azerbaijan: ICRC worried about safety of civilians and ready to act as neutral intermediary

ICRC - News Release
14 July 2020

Geneva (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is concerned about the humanitarian impact of reported military activity along the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has intensified since 12 July 2020. This activity brings additional risks for the civilian population living in the area and affects their access to livelihoods. The ICRC is sharing its concerns bilaterally with the parties to the conflict, reminding them that they must at all times distinguish between civilians and persons directly participating in hostilities.

Race to avert COVID caused catastrophes in Afghanistan

Kabul/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 14 July 2020 - Afghanistan is on the edge of potential health, social and economic catastrophes caused by COVID-19 as the disease places a crippling burden on one of the ten most fragile states in the world.

More than 34,000 people have been infected by COVID-19 in Afghanistan and nearly 1,000 people have died, with hospitals and health clinics pushed to the limit.

The real toll of the pandemic on the Afghan population is expected to be much higher and remains under-reported due to limited testing and weak health systems. The country has one doctor for every 3,500 people, less than a fifth of the global average according to the World Health Organization.

Red Cross Red Crescent alarmed at increase in migrant drownings in Mediterranean

Beirut/Budapest/Geneva, 9 July 2020 – Red Crescent societies in Tunisia and Libya are seeing an increase in drownings on the shores of North Africa.

Warmer weather and relaxed COVID-19 lockdowns are thought to be behind an increase in numbers of people attempting to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe.

Many are not surviving the perilous journey, with 20 per cent more people estimated to have died in June this year as opposed to last year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

IFRC President Francesco Rocca said:

“While Red Cross volunteers in Italy support those who have managed to survive the crossing, unfortunately on the other side of the Mediterranean, both Libyan and Tunisian Red Crescent volunteers are left to collect the bodies of those who didn’t.”

Syria: As economic crisis bites, lack of humanitarian access costs lives every day

ICRC - News Release
30 June 2020

Damascus/Geneva (ICRC) - A dramatically deteriorating economic situation, the impact of expanded sanctions, a simmering COVID-19 crisis and ongoing fighting in parts of the country are pushing millions of people in Syria towards deeper poverty and hunger as the tenth anniversary of the conflict approaches.

The humanitarian needs across the entire country are already immense and rising at a pace that threatens to outstrip and even overwhelm existing capacities to respond, exacerbated by the worst economic crisis since the conflict began.

Eight hundred thousand masks to help protect migrant workers from COVID-19

Kuala Lumpur/Bangkok, 23 June 2020: Nearly a million masks are being provided to migrant workers, village health volunteers and other frontline workers as part of a new initiative to protect people at risk from COVID-19 in Thailand.

An estimated 80 million migrant workers in Asia are particularly vulnerable amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with many missing out on support because they are undocumented and therefore largely invisible to authorities and humanitarian organisations.

Thailand is a significant regional migration hub in South-East Asia and currently hosts an estimated four million migrant workers. Most of these migrant workers come from neighbouring countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Migrants work in a range of sectors including construction, fisheries, agriculture, hospitality, and domestic work.

The New Pact on Migration and Asylum: a chance for much needed legal pathways to the EU?

Brussels, 19 June 2020 – Ahead of World Refugee Day, the Red Cross EU Office calls on the EU and Member States to increase safe, legal migration channels for protection seekers to the EU. As many borders remain closed in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the already scarce possibilities for people to seek protection have substantially reduced. 

In the meantime, global protection needs have skyrocketed, not least due to the urgency of evacuating refugee camps to counter the virus’ impact in densely populated areas. As stressed by the European Parliament in a letter to the European Commission in April, the upcoming Pact on Migration and Asylum is an opportunity for the EU to re-balance itsapproach to migration management by enhancing legal pathways to Europe – Member States must join forces to urgently address the specific needs of asylum seekers and refugees. 

Afghanistan: Spike in violence against healthcare amidst COVID-19 threatens millions

ICRC - News Release
17 June 2020

Kabul (ICRC) - The recent rise in violence in Afghanistan combined with targeted attacks against health-care facilities threaten to reduce or prevent access to health services for millions of Afghans that more than ever need health services with the outbreak of COVID-19, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today.

“The recent trajectory in Afghanistan is of great concern. After the hope brought by a relative reduction in hostilities in February and March, we again see more violence. Civilian casualties are on the rise while the country is battling against COVID-19,” said Juan Pedro Schaerer, the head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan. 

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeals for 3.1 billion Swiss francs (3.19 billion US dollars) to curb COVID-19’s spread and assist world’s most vulnerable amid the pandemic

Geneva, 28 May 2020 –-The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is appealing for 3.1 billion Swiss francs (3.19 billion US dollars) to urgently scale up its global response to curb COVID-19’s rapid spread and assist the world’s most vulnerable people amid the pandemic.

This coordinated appeal builds on the previous one launched on 26 March 2020 and aims to increase life-saving services and support to address both the immediate impacts of the pandemic and its long-lasting social and economic repercussions.

Five months since it began, the pandemic has threatened every aspect of peoples’ lives, amplifying inequalities, destabilizing communities and reversing development gains made in the past decade.

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