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Movement mourns more of its own

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) in July mourned the death of its fifth medical worker killed while delivering first-aid and medical services to people affected by the fighting.

SARC staff member, Khaled Khaffaji, was shot in Deir Ezzor, eastern Syria, on July 9 while on duty in an ambulance clearly marked with the National Society’s emblem. "We are devastated. The loss of Khaled is completely unacceptable," said SARC president Dr Abdul Rahman al-Attar.

Less than three weeks earlier, on 22 June, Bashar Yusif, a SARC first-aid volunteer in Deir Ezzor was shot and killed while providing medical assistance to people caught in the fighting. (See page 12.)

Yusif’s death came just two days after the ICRC learned that a staff member working in Yemen, Hussein Saleh, was killed during a military airstrike in southern Yemen’s Abyan Governate. Saleh and three other staff members were assessing the humanitarian situation in the area, which has severely affected by fighting. “We are devastated by the tragic loss of our friend and colleague Hussein,” said Eric Marclay, head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen, adding that Saleh played a “crucial role within his team helping hundreds of thousands of people”.

Meanwhile, moving testimonials continued to pour in to the British Red Cross and the ICRC after the murder in April of Khalil Dale, a long-time aid worker for the British Red Cross, who was serving as a health-programme manager for the ICRC in Quetta, Pakistan when he was abducted in January.

Letters and Facebook postings described Dale as brave, tireless, inspiring and compassionate, and as someone who brought hope to many. “I will keep Khalil in my heart forever and his memory will give me the strength to keep going,” one of the many letters concluded.

The Movement did finally get some good news when it learned in mid July that Benjamin Malbrancke, an ICRC delegate abducted by armed individuals on April 21 in northern Yemen, had been set free. "We are relieved and extremely happy to have our colleague back with us, in good health," said Eric Marclay, who heads the ICRC operations in the country.




Safe water for all

A drinking water and sanitation project by the Nepal Red Cross Society has benefited roughly 3.7 million people in rural communities of the country over the past three decades, according to a report released on World Water Day, 22 March, by the Nepal Red Cross. This amounts to about 15 per cent of Nepal’s achievements in drinking water and sanitation, the report notes. The report was just one of many events and achievements highlighted around the world by Movement actors in March, aiming to bring attention to water-related issues and the work being done to bring safe drinking water to communities in need.

 



Helping Brazil tackle road safety

An approach to road safety developed by the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), a project hosted by the IFRC, has been adopted by the government of Brazil as the methodology in all of its 26 state capitals. This approach to road safety, known as the Proactive Partnership Strategy (PPS), has been successful in reducing road crash-related deaths and injuries in numerous cities in Brazil. “This decision is a tremendous validation of the work that the cities already involved in PPS have been doing over the years,” says José Cardita, who manages GRSP’s operations in Brazil.

Voices

“His life was one of love, not hatred. His life was one of kindness, not cruelty. We will always remember our Khalil, our Ken, as a man who brought joy to us and countless others.”
Statement by the family of long-time British Red Cross and ICRC aid worker Khalil Dale, after his murder in Quetta, Pakistan.


“I was lying down there, shouting, crying for help… There was nothing else to do. It was very painful.”
Brian Azi Nyam, 26-year-old first-aid trainee; wonders whether the first aid he’s learning now could have saved his friend’s life on the day the two were shot during violence near the city of Jos, Nigeria.

 


ICRC calls on parties to DRC conflict to spare civilians

Violence in the North and South Kivu regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has spread to the most remote and difficult-to-reach areas, with a rising number of civilian victims, reports the ICRC. “Most of the victims are civilians, some of whom are very young children, elderly people or women,” says Laetitia Courtois, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Bukavu, South Kivu. “The fighting has forced the inhabitants of entire villages to flee, worsening an already precarious situation.”


‘Disasters don’t need visas’

Issues with visas and work permits for international disaster relief personnel. Coordination of relief agencies. Duties, tariffs and excessive paperwork. Some of the obstacles that aid groups reported facing during operations in the Horn of Africa last year, according to those attending a workshop organized by the IFRC, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Kenya Red Cross. The workshop aimed to create a better system of laws and agreements in states affected by ongoing drought because, as one attendee noted, “A disaster doesn’t need a visa to cross borders.”

 



Fighting in South Sudan gets worse
Since the beginning of the year, the ICRC has stepped up its efforts to respond to mounting humanitarian needs in South Sudan. In early April, needs increased further when hostilities erupted along the border with Sudan. “Many people left their homes in a hurry because of the violence, often leaving everything behind and finding some sort of shelter in makeshift camps,” says Melker Mabeck, the ICRC’s head of delegation in South Sudan.


Photo: ©Reuters/Thomas Mukoya, www.alertnet.org


ICRC report: violations increasing
in Colombia

Violations of humanitarian law, including forced displacement, threats of violence, rape and damage to civilian objects, increased last year in Colombia, according to a report released by the ICRC in April. In many cases, fighting has intensified, making it harder for remote communities to obtain basic services such as health care, education, clean water and transportation.

 


Humanitarian index

25: Number of journalists killed due to violence in 2012 as of 14 June, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). (1)
919: Number of journalists killed due to violence since 1992, according to CPJ (70 per cent were murdered; 18 per cent were caught in crossfire during combat; 12 per cent killed by violence while on dangerous assignments).
1,335: Number of hectares of bananas, mango, capsicum (red peppers), water melon, tomatoes and pawpaw grown in 47 farms as part of a Kenya Red Cross Society's Drought Recovery project.
2.3 million: Number of people assisted by volunteers using IFRC’s Community-Based Health and First Aid (CBHFA) approach in 2011.

(1) These numbers vary somewhat among press advocacy groups, which categorize reports of journalists’ deaths differently.


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