DR Congo: Red Cross volunteers attacked during Ebola burial

Goma/Nairobi/Geneva, 15 January 2020 – Two volunteers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) Red Cross were seriously injured following an attack during a safe and dignified burial of a suspected Ebola case near Mambasa, in eastern DR Congo on Monday, 13 January. The volunteers are now in hospital, receiving medical care and psychosocial support.

DR Congo Red Cross teams have faced incidents of violence and aggression from communities resisting safe and dignified burial protocols since the start of the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri.  In this most recent attack, the family had consented to the burial but rumours and panic quickly spread among the community resulting in a violent assault against the Red Cross team.

Majority of millennials see catastrophic war as real possibility, and believe there should be limits

ICRC - News Release No. 2
16 January 2020

International Committee of the Red Cross survey asked 16,000 millennials in 16 countries their views on war

Geneva (ICRC) – Millennials see catastrophic war as a real likelihood in their lifetime. In fact, most millennials surveyed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) believe it is more likely than not that a nuclear attack will occur in the next decade.

A survey of more than 16,000 millennials in 16 countries and territories last year – roughly half in peace, half experiencing conflict – commissioned by the ICRC explored millennials’ views on conflict, the future of warfare and the values underpinning international humanitarian law, such as the use of torture against enemy combatants.

The results indicate that millennials are nervous about the future, and heightened tensions globally are likely to deepen these fears.

Ethiopia-Somalia: Climate change and violence trap millions in near-constant crisis

ICRC - News Release No. 1 
15 January 2020

Addis Ababa (ICRC) – Millions of people in the Horn of Africa are trapped in near-constant crisis as the combination of droughts, floods, and violence force people from their homes and erode already-fragile livelihoods, International Committee of the Red Cross President Peter Maurer said at the end of a visit to the region on Wednesday.

“People in Ethiopia, Somalia, and other parts of eastern Africa are increasingly caught between deadly extremes,” Mr. Maurer said. “Conditions are either too wet or too hot and dry. People already on the run from violence may be uprooted again by droughts and floods.”

Thousands of people are displaced each day from their homes by climate shocks or violence. Preliminary data from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) suggest that, on average, the number of people displaced from their homes each day in 2019 was 3,715 in Ethiopia and 1,860 in Somalia.

Red Cross releases funds in anticipation of extreme winter in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar / Kuala Lumpur / Geneva 9 January 2020 – Forecasts of an extreme winter in Mongolia have triggered the release of funding to reduce its impact on vulnerable herders. This is the first time this early action funding mechanism developed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has been used anywhere.

On 2 January, Mongolia’s National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring announced more than 50 per cent of the country was at risk of an extreme (dzud) winter. This unwelcome news has triggered the pre-agreed release of 210,968 Swiss francs (217,000 US dollars) to the Mongolian Red Cross Society for forecast-based action from IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). The funding provides 88 Swiss francs (90.6 US dollars) cash each for 1,000 vulnerable herder families to prevent the starvation, dehydration and cold exposure of their livestock because of poor access to feed, water, veterinary care and shelter. A livestock nutrition kit will support livestock health during winter’s lean months.

Red Cross Red Crescent Conference: Over 160 States gather to address world’s most pressing humanitarian issues

ICRC - News Release 
12 December 2019

Geneva (ICRC/IFRC) - Representatives from 168 States joined 187 Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, at the International Conference in Geneva which closed today. The International Conference, held every four years since 1867, brings together States party to the Geneva Conventions and global Red Cross Red Crescent representatives. 

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

Pretoria/Nairobi/Geneva, 12 December 2019 – Hunger is threatening the lives of 11 million people in Southern Africa due to deepening drought and in the region. Red Cross teams across Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia are scaling up their response to emergency and crisis levels of food insecurity.

“This year’s drought is unprecedented, causing food shortages on a scale we have never seen here before,” said Dr Michael Charles, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Southern Africa cluster. “We are seeing people going two to three days without food, entire herds of livestock wiped out by drought and small-scale farmers with no means to earn money to tide them over a lean season.”

The countries with the most significant increase in food insecurity from last year are Zambia and Zimbabwe, with 2.3 million and 3.6 million people respectively suffering from acute food shortages.

Climate change at the centre of new global IFRC strategy

Geneva, 5 December 2019 – Climate related shocks and hazards are amongst the major humanitarian emergencies confronting humanity today, according to a new decade-long strategy adopted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today in Geneva.

Climate change emerged as a growing concern through an exhaustive two-year consultation with the entire Red Cross and Red Crescent network that led to the design of the new Strategy 2030. The process highlighted how climate change is a growing concern for nearly every single one of the 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Speaking at IFRC’s 22nd General Assembly, which is currently underway in Geneva, IFRC President, Francesco Rocca, said:

“The message from our members and from our millions of volunteers couldn’t be clearer: climate change is an existential threat that is already completely altering the work we do, and the lives of the people we support.

“Tackling climate change will be our major priority over the coming decade. This means strengthening the capacity of each and every National Red Cross and Red Crescent Society so that they can effectively respond in their own contexts, as well as investing heavily in methods to help communities adapt.”

Strategy 2030 places ‘climate change and environmental crises’ at the top of a list of five global challenges that must be addressed in the coming decade. The other challenges identified in the strategy are ‘evolving crises and disasters’; ‘growing gaps in health and well-being’; ‘migration and identity’; and ‘values, power and inclusion’.

Climate change a priority for newest Red Cross societies

Geneva, 5 December 2019 – The two newest members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) both consider responding to the humanitarian impacts of climate change as one of their main priorities.

The Bhutan Red Cross Society and the Marshall Islands Red Cross Society were admitted today as 191st and 192nd full members of the IFRC. This was decided unanimously at the 22nd Session of the IFRC General Assembly that is currently underway in Geneva.

IFRC President, Francesco Rocca, said:

“The tiny, mountainous Kingdom of Bhutan and the 29 coral atolls and five low-lying islands that make up the Republic of the Marshall Islands are examples of how the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement unites and brings peace and cooperation among diverse countries.

“They are also examples of how humanity is united in a battle against the climate crisis. In both countries, the humanitarian impacts of climate change are real and represent a clear threat to vulnerable communities.”

Nepali humanitarian announced as new IFRC Secretary General

Geneva, 3 December 2019 – Nepali humanitarian and Red Cross Red Crescent veteran, Jagan Chapagain, has been selected as the new Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Mr Chapagain was selected today during an extraordinary meeting of the IFRC Governing Board. An engineer by training, he brings more than 25 years’ experience within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Most recently, Mr Chapagain has served a series of senior IFRC roles, including as Regional Director for Asia Pacific, as Chief of Staff and as Under Secretary General for Programmes and Operations, a role that sees him guide all IFRC relief and development efforts around the world.

Kenya: Red Cross responds to humanitarian emergency following deadly floods

Nairobi/Geneva, 25 November 2019—Thousands of people across Kenya have been hit by deadly floods and mudslides. At the epicentre of the current floods, in West Pokot, panic-stricken survivors have deserted their villages after losing their homes, livestock, crops and their loved ones—in what some local residents have described as their worst disaster in memory.

Dr Asha Mohammed, Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Designate, said:

“We’re most worried about families who have been cut off from life-saving support. They are without food, water and may require medical care. Our teams are doing everything they can to reach these areas, including using boats and treading deep waters to evacuate families in high-risk areas, conducting search and rescue efforts and providing basic health services.”

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