faces imminent hunger crisis
Many countries across the Sahel
will soon experience a major food crisis if urgent measures
are not taken now to mitigate the effects of declining rainfall
and a 25 per cent drop in food production, as well as higher
food prices. The most affected countries are likely to be
Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and northern
Senegal. “The harvest was bad and there is already
a food shortage,” said Salif Sy, who decided to leave
his village with his wife without deciding on a particular
destination. “We will try to look for and move to areas
with water and grazing in order to save our cattle, the only
resource left to us now.” The IFRC launched an emergency
appeal in January and allocated emergency disaster relief
funds while the ICRC also continued to provide a variety
of emergency food and health relief services.
Photo: ©Nathalie Bonvin/IFRC
deplores killing of Syrian Red Crescent leader
The death of Abd-al-Razzaq Jbeiro, the secretary general
of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), in early January
shocked and saddened the Movement. Jbeiro was shot while
travelling on the main Aleppo–Damascus highway in a
vehicle clearly marked with the Red Crescent emblem.
Both the IFRC and the ICRC called on all those involved
in violence in Syria to respect the mission of the Red Crescent,
which is to aid and assist people in need in a neutral and
impartial manner. The SARC’s president has submitted
an official request to the Syrian authorities to investigate
In a joint letter to the SARC’s president, the IFRC’s
president, Tadateru Konoé, and secretary general,
Bekele Geleta, wrote: “The loss of such an experienced
and committed Red Crescent leader in the course of his humanitarian
duties is hard to bear… Our Movement is greatly diminished
by his passing.”
Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, head of ICRC operations for the
Near and Middle East, said that the ICRC condemned attacks
on vehicles carrying the Red Crescent emblem regardless of
the circumstances. “The lack of respect for medical
services is still a great issue in Syria,” she said.
Red Cross responds to capsized ship
Roughly 250 Italian Red Cross staff and volunteers took
part in a rescue and relief operation at the site of the
capsized liner Costa Concordia. The cruise ship hit rocks
off Italy’s west coast in early January, killing at
least 12 people and injuring 70 more.
Volunteers have supplied more than 800 people with clothes,
shoes, hygiene kits, medicines and other material. They moved
people to nearby hospitals, and provided health care for
40 of the injured passengers at the Orbetello medical post.
coordinator in Haiti
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“I know I can
I can make
of three who lives
in the Delmas
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“The difference you
make can be small,
and it can take
but you can make
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targets malaria in Central African Republic
In a desperately poor region in south-eastern Central African
Republic where the number one cause of death is malaria,
violent acts committed by some weapon bearers have made the
delivery of health care extremely precarious.
Since September 2011, the ICRC has been carrying out a pilot
project in Obo in order to tackle the health-care problem
despite these constraints. The project aims to diagnose the
disease at the first sign of symptoms, administer anti-malarial
drugs and provide medical care throughout the treatment – all
without cost to the patient. The programme has already shown
that early treatment drastically reduces the mortality rate.
to prvent elderly abuse.
According to the World Health Organization, between 4 and
6 per cent of older people have experienced some form of
abuse in their own homes, ranging from physical, sexual and
psychological abuse to financial exploitation, neglect and
In Serbia, which has one of the oldest populations in Europe
(15.4 per cent of inhabitants are over the age of 65), the
Red Cross of Serbia has developed a home-care programme to
sensitize and educate volunteers and the general public about
discrimination and abuse.
One of the most active Red Cross branches is in Kragujevac,
where 13 older volunteers work on a telephone helpline to
assist their vulnerable peers and neighbours in solving many
of the problems they may encounter including issues of health
care, welfare, poverty and abuse.
in the wake of floods
High levels of malnutrition among the flood-affected communities
of Pakistan’s Sindh province remains one of the most
challenging humanitarian problems, confirm doctors working
with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.
According to a survey conducted before the floods by the
Sindh Department of Health and the United Nations Children’s
Fund, acute malnutrition rates in the province reached 22.9
per cent in the north and 21.2 per cent in the south. These
rates are well above the World Health Organization’s
15 per cent emergency threshold, which triggers a humanitarian
Photo: ©Olivier Matthys/IFRC
and seconds taken at the General Assembly to read the role
call of attending National Societies, from Afghanistan to
of National Societies that attended the Movement’s
2011 Statutory Meetings in Geneva in November.
377: Number of pledges made by National
Societies during the Statutory Meetings.
25,000: Number of Haitian families provided
with ‘improved shelter’ solutions by the Red
Cross Red Crescent since the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
500,000: Estimated number of people currently
living in Port-au-Prince camps for people displaced by the
735,000: Number of times three TEDxRC2talks
were viewed during the first two months after they were posted
on line. To see the talks, visit: www.youtube.com/tedxtalks