Syria: Fears for civilian population as key water plant remains out of action

ICRC - News Release No. 19/XX NR's number
08 November 2019

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is deeply concerned for the civilian population in north-east Syria amid an ongoing shutdown of a key regional water pumping station.

The Allouk pumping station, which usually serves more than 400,000 people in and around Hasakeh, has not been functional since October 30. The ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been taking emergency measures to find alternative sources of water for people in the region.

Mozambique: Thousands at risk of disease and malnutrition as rainy season begins

Beira/Geneva, 8 November 2019—More than half a year since cyclones Idai and Kenneth hit Mozambique, thousands of people are at risk of disease outbreaks and worsening food insecurity during the coming rainy season.  Food insecurity is expected to affect 2 million people in Mozambique by early next year and nearly 38,000 children are currently at risk of malnutrition. Communities affected by recent cyclones are among those that are at risk.

The damage wrought on water, sanitation and hygiene facilities by the two cyclones are in part responsible for the increased health risks. Communities in the most impoverished areas of urban and peri-urban Beira have inadequate water and sanitation facilities, exposing families to diseases.

Dr Jemilah Mahmood, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Under Secretary General for Partnerships has been in central Mozambique leading a high-level delegation of Red Cross officials and donors visiting areas affected by cyclones Idai and Kenneth. She said:

“The rainy season poses a real threat to the health of communities that are already extremely vulnerable. Mozambique is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. We have seen a clear trend of these disasters increasing.

Zambia: 2.3 million people face severe food insecurity

Lusaka/Pretoria/Geneva, 29 October 2019 – A “catastrophic” combination of drought and communities’ declining resilience has left an estimated 2.3 million people facing severe acute food insecurity – up from an estimate of 1.7 million people a month ago.

Communities across southern Africa have been affected by drought since late 2018.

This year, large parts of southern and western Zambia received their lowest seasonal rainfall totals since at least 1981, the base year from which normal rainfall is benchmarked. At the same time, northern and eastern parts of the country were affected by flash floods and waterlogging, resulting in poor harvests.

Mr Kaitano Chungu, the Secretary General of the Zambia Red Cross, said:

“Before the communities could recover from the impacts of flood episodes that characterised the 2017/2018 season, the 2018/2019 season has been hit by drought. The successive mixture of drought and flooding has been catastrophic for many communities. In most of the affected areas there isn’t enough drinking water, which means that people and animals—both livestock and wildlife—are having to use the same water points. This is unacceptable as it exposes people to diseases and creates a heightened risk of animal attacks.”


Philippines: Red Cross triples polio vaccination target

Manila/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 25 October 2019 – The Philippine Red Cross is more than tripling the number of children it aims to vaccinate in a door-to-door polio vaccination campaign, the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said today. 

On 1 October 2019, the Red Cross announced support for a Department of Health campaign by activating volunteers in parts of Mindanao and Metro Manila to vaccinate 30,000 children in the hardest-to-reach communities. In fact, the Philippine Red Cross has reached nearly 60,000 children. Today, the target was increased to 100,000.

Migration: Alternative to Vucjak camp needed now, says Red Cross

Budapest/Geneva, 24 October 2019 – A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding at a makeshift migrant camp on the outskirts of Bihac in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is warning today.

The Vucjak camp – which has been termed “The Jungle” by people living there – has no running water, no electricity, no usable toilets, and mouldy, leaking, overcrowded tents.

Currently, there are about 700 migrants living in the camp. Last week there were 2,500 people there in some days. The camp only has 80 tents, no medical assistance, and just five volunteers from Bosnia and Herzegovina Red Cross Society to help the whole camp population.

Adnan Kurtagic, one of the Red Cross volunteers working at Vucjak, says the situation is heartbreaking and devastating.

Operational update on Syria: Devastating impact on civilians; water shortages feared

ICRC - News Release No. 27

14 October 2019

Geneva (ICRC) – An update from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the situation in north-east Syria: 

_ The ongoing hostilities are having a devastating impact on the civilian population, with tens of thousands of people fleeing their towns and villages near the border. The immediate area around where hostilities are taking place may result in the displacement of 300,000 people who are living in main cities in two governorates, Hassakeh and Raqqa. 

Syria: All zones should be safe for civilians

ICRC - News Release No. 26 
10 October 2019

Geneva (ICRC) – Those taking part in the fighting in Syria are reminded that they are obliged by law to spare civilians and all others not taking part in the hostilities, including detainees and all those fleeing from the fighting. 

“All zones should be safe for civilians and anyone else not directly taking part in the fighting. That’s a basic tenet of international humanitarian law,” said Fabrizio Carboni, the ICRC’s director for the Near and Middle East. 

Yemen: 290 detainees were released with the facilitation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

ICRC - News Release No. 21
30 September 2019

Geneva/Sanaa (ICRC) – The unilateral release of 290 detainees, including 42 survivors of an attack on a place of detention in Dhamar this month, took place today. The release was facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations following a request from the National Committee for Prisoners Affairs.

"We are always ready to act as a neutral facilitator in the release of detainees when we receive a request from the parties to the conflict and hope that this operation opens the door to further releases to bring comfort to families awaiting reunification with their loved ones,” said Franz Rauchenstein, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Yemen.

Nigeria: 22,000 people registered as missing after a decade of war, ICRC’s highest caseload in the world

ICRC - News Release No. 19, 12 September 2019

Abuja (ICRC) - Nearly 22,000 Nigerians have been reported as missing to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) during a decade of conflict in northeast Nigeria, the highest number of missing persons registered with the ICRC in any country.

Nearly 60 percent were minors at the time they went missing, meaning thousands of parents don’t know where their children are and if they are alive or dead.

“Every parent’s worst nightmare is not knowing where their child is. This is the tragic reality for thousands of Nigerian parents, leaving them with the anguish of a constant search. People have the right to know the fate of their loved ones, and more needs to be done to prevent families from being separated in the first place,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer today at the end of his five-day visit to the country.

During his time in Nigeria, Maurer met with Nigerian President Buhari and high-level government, civil society and business leaders and spoke with families who have been affected by conflict in Maiduguri and Monguno, many of whom have missing relatives.

Families in northeast Nigeria are often separated while fleeing attacks. Others have had loved ones abducted or detained and do not know their whereabouts. The ICRC works with the Nigeria Red Cross and other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the region to trace missing people by showing photographs, calling out names, and going door-to-door in camps and communities.

South Sudan: One year after peace deal, violence and humanitarian needs haven’t decreased

ICRC - News Release No. 18
11 September 2019

A statement from James Reynolds, ICRC’s head of delegation in South Sudan, on the situation in the country one year after the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan.

Juba (ICRC) – One year after the signing of the peace deal, violence is still pervasive in South Sudan, as clashes between communities threaten lives and the fragile stability.

Surgical teams from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continue to treat a large number of patients with gunshot wounds, while needs of the most affected communities remain high. Redoubled efforts are needed to bring a durable peace.

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