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More money needed to save lives in Mali

As people in the north of Mali continue to be hit hard by the effects of the armed conflict and the ongoing food crisis, the ICRC appealed to donors for US$ 28 million, making the Mali operation ICRC ’s fourth largest in budgetary terms.

“In the north of the country, the situation is becoming more and more alarming,” said Yasmine Praz Dessimoz, the ICRC ’s head of operations for North and West Africa. Along with the Mali Red Cross, the ICRC had already provided 160,000 people with food. With the extra funds, the ICRC will reach a total of 500,000 people and continue supporting a hospital in the city of Gao, as well as other health centres in northern Mali.

The IFRC has also launched an appeal for food security assistance of US$ 2.7 million of cash, in-kind or other services to support the Mali Red Cross and help more than 142,000 affected people. The IFRC had already allocated US$ 278,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to initiate actions in Mali.


Volunteers of Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS ) light candles during a vigil for the victims of a garment factory fire in Karachi in September. One of the first responders was a PRCS Emergency Response Unit, which gave first aid and transferred survivors to local hospitals. At least 314 people burned to death as fire swept through factories in two cities in Pakistan, raising questions about industrial safety in the South Asian nation.
Photo: ©Reuters/Akhtar Soomro, courtesy

Quake hits remote China region

Rescue teams from the Red Cross Society of China struggled through rugged terrain and precipitous mountain roads to bring help to survivors of a series of earthquakes that struck a remote part of Yunnan province in south-western China in September.

Crossing these mountains is difficult even in normal times. But rockfalls and landslides following the earthquakes added to the logistical difficulties.

The earthquakes — the strongest of which was magnitude 5.7 — left more than 80 people dead and approximately 800 injured in one of China’s poorest areas. Some 200,000 people were evacuated.

Thousands of quilts and warm jackets, and hundreds of tents have been distributed to the worst-hit areas, which are more than six hours by road from the provincial capital, Kunming. An emergency response team from the Yunnan Red Cross was deployed to provide latrines in one of the main camps for the displaced.


ICRC pushes for greater protection in Syria

ICRC President Peter Maurer concluded a three-day visit to Syria in early September, during which he held talks with Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, and several ministers. He urged all parties to the conflict to respect humanitarian law relating to the treatment of detainees and called for greater humanitarian access and protection.

He also visited areas affected by the fighting to see first hand how civilians are coping. “I was shocked by the immense destruction of infrastructure and homes in several areas,” he said. “And I was deeply moved by the stories of distraught children who had lost their parents in the fighting.”

He also visited several medical posts. “Health workers face tremendous difficulties in performing their duties,” he added. “Many men, women and children who could be saved are dying on a daily basis because they lack access to medical care.”

Photo: ©Reuters/Khaled Al Hariri, courtesy

Thousands still displaced by Manila flooding

By mid-September, almost a month after monsoon floods swamped Manila and nearby provinces, thousands of people in low-lying areas around the Philippine capital were still unable to return home. Unlike Metro Manila, where flood waters receded and people have started rebuilding their lives, the surrounding provinces of Laguna and Rizal remained inundated.

Realyn Sembrano, 25, and her family were among the people now living in a makeshift camp. The youngest of her three children had rashes caused by mosquito bites and bathing in unsafe water. “It pains me to see my baby going through this at an early age,” she said.


How to say “I’m feeling dizzy”
in 51 languages

As more than 2 million people flocked to London from all over the world for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, British Red Cross volunteers and staff provided firstaid training sessions to residents in the host Olympic boroughs and worked with emergency services to provide first aid at events and transportation hubs near the Olympic venues.

The teams didn’t just carry firstaid kits. They were also equipped with multilingual, Red Cross phrase books that contained 62 questions and phrases related to first aid and emergencies, translated into 51 languages.

During the events, the teams helped dozens of people, many of whom suffered from dehydration or heat stroke. Red Cross volunteers such as Dane Smith and Darren Oldham responded on bicycles equipped as mini ambulances, complete with oxygen, defibrillators and items for treating cuts and sprains.

“We might not be as fast as [Olympic cyclists] Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins,” said Smith, “but we can cut through the crowds to provide help wherever it’s needed.”



“Who would have
ever imagined that
three goats would
be the window of
greater cohesion
for a community
with such a dark
past of division
and the curse of

Habonimana Floride,
volunteer speaking
about livelihoods
programmes supported
by Burundi Red Cross
Click here for more.

Humanitarian index

51: Percentage of National Society non-emeregency revenue that comes from fee-based services (blood banks, first-aid training) and enterprises (hospitals, retail stores, etc).*
98: Percentage of collines or communities in Burundi that have Burundi Red Cross volunteer groups, each with 50 to 500 volunteers.**Click here for more.
2,850: Number of collines in Burundi.**
6,000: Number of people who died in the United States’ worst catastrophe, known as the Great Storm of 1900, in Galveston, Texas. Click here for more.
40,000: Number of Central American migrants reportedly sent home by Mexican authorities last year.***
70,000,000: Number of people worldwide who are forced migrants, according to the IFRC ’s World Disasters Report 2012
8,000,000,000: Estimated cost of all forms of forced migration to global economy, expressed in US dollars.

* IFRC, ** Burundi Red Cross, ***ICRC


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