Ebola: As death toll approaches 2,000, vaccines, treatment and behaviour change equally important

Press release

Nairobi/Geneva 27 August 2019—The availability of an effective vaccine against Ebola and the recent confirmation of two effective treatments do not negate the importance of building trust and understanding in communities affected by the outbreak, warns the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

This warning comes as the death toll for the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) approaches 2,000 and as the total number of cases reaches 3,000.

Dr Emanuele Capobianco, IFRC’s Director of Health and Care said:

“The importance of these new treatments – and the continued roll out of vaccines – are not to be underestimated. But alone they are not enough. Now is the time to double down on efforts to engage at-risk communities. For the treatments to work, people need to trust them and the medical staff who administer them. This will take time, resources and a lot of hard work.”

Cox’s Bazar: Heavy rains trigger landslides in camps, Red Crescent response efforts underway

Cox’s Bazar/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 11 July 2019 - Heavy rains triggered landslides in camps in Cox’s Bazar housing more than 900,000 people from Rakhine state, Myanmar. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society response operations are underway in seven camps where more than 8,500 people are affected and over 1,800 shelters have been damaged or destroyed.

The World Meteorological Organization forecasts that in July, Bangladesh will be hit by the highest amount of rainfall for all of 2019, with more than 730 mm of rain expected over an average of 22 days.

Red Cross on alert as Uganda confirms first Ebola case

Kampala/Nairobi/Geneva, 12 June – Red Cross teams are on high alert following the confirmation of the first Ebola case in Uganda.

According to the Ministry of Health, a five-year-old boy from Uganda returned from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) on 10 June. The child presented with Ebola symptoms and was transferred to an Ebola treatment unit in Bwera.

Robert Kwesiga, Uganda Red Cross Secretary General, said:

“This is a worrying development, but we have been preparing for this day for months now. We have been scaling up our efforts, in close coordination with government and other actors to help communities prepare for Ebola, and to contain its spread.”

Syria: Field hospital opens for displaced people in Al-Hol camp 

ICRC - News Release No. 19/12
30 May 2019

Damascus – A new field hospital to assist patients wounded in war or suffering from illness will open this week in Al-Hol camp to address the massive humanitarian needs after an influx of people in recent months. 

The hospital is opening with support from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Norwegian Red Cross. 

The more than 63,000 people who have arrived in Al-Hol since December had been without access to health care in their areas due to ongoing hostilities, lack of medicine, and damaged or destroyed health facilities. Philip Spoerri, the head of ICRC’s delegation in Syria, described the need for medical assistance in Al Hol as “tremendous” after a recent visit there. 


Joint press release

One in three women experience sexual or gender-based violence in her lifetime. Men and boys are affected too. The risk is greatly exacerbated in humanitarian crises triggered by armed conflict and natural disasters.

In 2019, 140 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, around 35 million are women and girls in reproductive age.

Despite its criticality, protection from this form of violence remains severely underfunded at less than 1 percent of all funds channelled to humanitarian assistance.

Today, high-level delegations from 90 countries, top UN officials, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege and many civil society representatives will gather in Oslo to strengthen political commitment and increase funding to end sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises.

Operational update on Cyclone Kenneth: Reaching communities cut off from aid

ICRC - News Release No. 19/11
15 May 2019

As days of rain, flood-waters and high winds from Cyclone Kenneth recede, the catastrophic destruction left behind is becoming clearer. Tens of thousands of people are homeless and little remains in many communities where homes, schools, businesses and places of worship once stood. In order to support communities reeling from the impact of Cyclone Kenneth in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Mozambique Red Cross Society to provide assistance.

“As our teams reach communities flattened and destroyed by high winds and rain, we are deeply concerned about the urgent humanitarian needs that families face. We are distributing items such as tarpaulins, sleeping mats and kitchen sets to help alleviate residents’ suffering,” said Hannah Matthews, who is leading ICRC’s relief efforts from Pemba, Mozambique.

World Red Cross Red Crescent Day: Celebrating “14 million points of hope”

Geneva, 8 May 2019 – On World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day 2019, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is celebrating the nearly 14 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers around the world who provide a lifeline to countless communities in need.

In a statement sent to the volunteers, staff and leaders of the world’s 191 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC President, Francesco Rocca, wrote:

“I want to thank all our volunteers and staff who are working around the clock to reach people in need and to alleviate their suffering. You are the last mile of humanitarian aid everywhere in the world.

“You are the proof that local actors are crucial to saving lives, to preparing communities, to working faster and better in every single crisis in the world.”

The Slovenian Red Cross project awarded a grant

Empress Shôken Fund announces grants for 2019

The Slovenian Red Cross is among this years grant winners of the The Empress Shôken Fund. The  innovative approach to social cohesion by tackling hate speech and its consequences, with a special emphasis on hate speech against migrants has been selected among 47 applications. The grant will go towards a training programme within schools, designed to encourage students to become young cultural ambassadors and further spread the message.

The Fund

The Empress Shôken Fund is named after Her Majesty The Empress of Japan, who proposed – at the 9th International Conference of the Red Cross – the creation of an international fund to promote relief work in peacetime. It is administered by the Joint Commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which maintains close contact with the Japanese Permanent Mission in Geneva, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Meiji Jingu Research Institute in Japan.


Operational update on Libya: Intensifying violence forces thousands from their homes

ICRC - News Release No. 19/10
25 April 2019

Tripoli (ICRC) - The humanitarian situation in and around Tripoli has deteriorated sharply over the past three weeks. More than 30,000 people are said to have fled their homes and are sheltering with relatives or in public buildings. Power outages are common in areas where clashes are taking place. Tripoli’s basic services and infrastructure, such as hospitals and water pumping stations, which have already suffered from violence over the past eight years, are being weakened further. 

“One of our greatest concerns is for civilians living near the frontlines. Densely-populated residential areas are gradually turning into battlefields,” said Youness Rahoui, the head of office in Tripoli for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). “It is also increasingly dangerous for medical workers to retrieve the wounded, with mounting reports of indiscriminate shelling. It is crucial that hospitals, medical facilities, health staff and vehicles transporting the wounded are allowed to carry out their activities safely.”

Syria: Heaviest flooding in decade worsens humanitarian crisis in Al Hasakeh region

Worst flooding in decade hits communities of people displaced by war / IFRC announces emergency appeal for 3.5 million Swiss francs

Damascus/Beirut/Geneva, 17 April 2019 – Heavy rains have caused the worst flooding in a decade across Syria’s Al Hasakeh region, where 118,000 people are facing near complete destruction of their homes and livelihoods. 

The majority of the affected population are internally displaced people who have fled conflict in Northern Syria and are receiving humanitarian assistance from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the only organization that has access to this part of the country.

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