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Clean water for Kyrgyzstan

Some 7,000 people in the village of Monok and about 10,000 individuals living in the Kumarjan Datka area of the city of Osh now have better access to clean drinking water. “By the end of the year, we intend to bring safe drinking water to another 22,000 people,” said Aleksandr Mailyan, an ICRC water engineer based in Osh. Since violence erupted in the country in June, the ICRC has stepped up detainee visits, helped with shelter reconstruction and worked with authorities to improve conditions for detainees.

©Marko Kokic/ICRC

Somalia: Situation critical

Hundreds of thousands of people who have fled fighting in the Somali capital Mogadishu and other towns since 2007 are living in increasingly harsh conditions. In cooperation with the Somali Red Crescent Society, the ICRC distributed food to more than 55,000 people. “People with virtually no belongings are coping through petty trade or by growing crops on small patches of land, and also thanks to the help of resident communities,” said Pascal Mauchle, head of the ICRC delegation for Somalia.


First aid in the name of rock

About 180 Hellenic Red Cross volunteers came from all over Greece to provide first aid and rescue services to some 80,000 people attending a live concert by the rock group U2 — the country’s biggest music event of the year. Seven brigades of volunteers were supported by 10 doctors and 12 medically equipped vehicles. Madonna, AC/DC and the Eurovision song contest have also enjoyed rock-star treatment from Hellenic Red Cross volunteers.


Quotes of note


“If joy could kill, I’d
be dead already.”

15-year-old Emmanuel,
one of 15 child soldiers
who went home to his
family as part of ICRC’s
Restoring Family Links
project in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo




“I used to run an
NGO for poor children,
but now I am dependent
on the NGOs here for
water, shelter and

Manes Barthelemy,
a 38-year-old pastor
and former headmaster
of a church school in
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Indonesia hit by dual disasters

Back-to-back disasters shook Indonesia in late October. An earthquake triggered a tsunami on the Mentawai islands off western Sumatra and, at the same time, Mount Merapi began spewing clouds of hot ash and lava.

The 3-metre-high tsunami left at least 449 dead, nearly 100 missing and more than 400 injured. Hundreds of houses were washed away or damaged, and some 15,000 people displaced. The volcano, meanwhile, killed at least 35 people, largely as a result of burning ash, and left more than 70,000 displaced.

The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) responded by providing medical care, establishing field kitchens and dispatching tents and relief items. Tragically, Tutur Rajitno, a PMI volunteer with a medical team, was unable to escape the hot ash and died while helping people evacuate people from a nearby village.

World Aids Day: Movement focuses
on harm reduction

Denying injecting drug users life-saving services could trigger a public health disaster, according to IFRC reports released on World Aids Day, 1 December 2010. The IFRC urged governments to establish policies that respect human rights and support harm-reduction.

Repressive laws, imprisonment and harassment drive many drug users underground, away from health and social services, according to the IFRC. This makes providing HIV prevention, treatment, care and support almost impossible and exposes the general population to more harm. Worldwide, about 3 million injecting drug users live with HIV.


Patients at risk in Gaza

Daily power cuts in the Gaza Strip are making healthcare even more precarious — particularly in places such as the haemodialysis department in Gaza’s Shifa hospital.

“The power often goes off while we’re receiving treatment,” explains 63-year-old patient Khader Saqr. “All the machines stop until the generator comes on. Without power, our blood stops circulating.” On average, the Gaza Strip is deprived of electricity for seven hours a day.

“Years of armed conflict and occupation have made it extremely difficult just to keep up with routine maintenance on the generating equipment and electricity network, let alone to increase capacity to meet the growing needs,” explains Palina Asgeirsdottir, ICRC’s health programme manager in Gaza.

The only power station in the Gaza Strip was partially destroyed by Israeli shelling in 2006. The closure and the ban on bringing in building materials have made repairs near impossible, while disagreements between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas over payment for the power station’s fuel have compounded the problem


©Cécilia Goin/ICRC

Humanitarian index

89,000: Number of litres of water distributed by the ICRC every day in September to more than 4,300 people displaced by fighting in south-west Yemen.

600,000 to 800,000: Annual number of victims trafficked across international borders worldwide, according to the United States Department of State.

75: Percentage of the IFRC Pakistan appeal raised as of end September.

2 billion: Total United Nations appeal, in US dollars, for Pakistan flood relief launched mid-September.

500 million: Amount in US dollars raised by the United Nations for Pakistan flood relief as of 30 September.

1.3 billion: Funding gap in US dollars that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative says it needs for its 2010–2012 programmes and to meet its goal of eliminating the disease.

22 billion: Estimated number of plastic water bottles thrown away each year worldwide.


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