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In Brief

More than one-third of Malawi was devastated by the country’s worst flooding in decades after weeks of heavy rains in January. With more rain expected, the IFRC launched a US$ 2.8 million appeal to help 42,000 desperate people and support emergency operations of the Malawi Red Cross Society, which is already aiding thousands of destitute people. “People have lost everything,” says Michael Charles, IFRC’s acting regional representative in southern Africa. “They don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”
Photo: ©Lene Vendelbo/IFRC



A deadly start of 2015 for humanitarians

A series of deadly attacks took the lives of 11 Movement workers in the first quarter of 2015. All were killed in the act of helping others.

  • Two brothers working for the Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS) were shot while evacuating wounded people in the southern port city of Aden on 3 April. Three days earlier, another YRCS volunteer was shot while coming to the aid of the wounded.
  • Two Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) volunteers were killed the same day while retrieving dead bodies and preparing shelters for people fleeing fighting in Idlib, Syria.
  • A Palestine Red Crescent Society volunteer was shot on 30 March while working at the Yarmouk camp in Syria. (Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, 42 SARC and eight Palestine Red Crescent volunteers have died while carrying out their duties).
  • Also on 30 March, an ICRC staff member was killed and a member of the Mali Red Cross injured when their ICRC truck was attacked near the northern Malian city of Gao.
  • A few days earlier, a Myanmar Red Cross volunteer died from wounds sustained 38 days earlier when the Red Cross convoy he was travelling with was attacked in Northern Shan State, Myanmar.
  • In February, two staff and one volunteer from the Sudanese Red Crescent Society were killed, and another volunteer wounded, in an attack in Blue Nile State.

In addition, numerous volunteers and staff have been injured in other violent incidents, including several who were attacked while working to combat the spread of Ebola virus disease.


Ebola claims Red Cross workers lives

The Ebola virus disease claimed the life of a Sierra Leone Red Cross Society nurse, who was working at the IFRC Ebola treatment centre in Kenema, Sierra Leone, in January. This was the first death of a Red Cross volunteer or staff member in Sierra Leone since response operations were launched in April 2014.

A total of 144 national and 19 international staff work at the IFRC’s Kenema centre, where they have cared for more than 500 patients since it opened in September.

Then, in late March, a volunteer ambulance driver for the Red Cross Society of Guinea succumbed to the disease, bringing the total number of Movement deaths caused by Ebola since April 2014 to four.

In all cases, volunteers and staff are deployed only after they have been fully trained and have the proper protective equipment. More than 10,000 volunteers have been active in Red Cross Red Crescent actions against Ebola since the outbreak began.


“Our mission
is to help human
beings, not to
leave them behind”

Saboor Ahmed Kakar, national youth leader at the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, speaking about a dilemma he faced in which he had to decide whether to accept army protection during an emergency operation in 2009.
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Young lives turned upside down

Nine-year-old Benicia Anjikapou was living a normal life, going to school and living with her parents and four siblings near Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, before violence erupted and claimed the life of her father. Now she lives in a camp for displaced people. “More than 50 unaccompanied children live here, some of whom do not know their own names, let alone those of their parents,” says Mathias Yadjemai, who oversees the camp. He is grateful for the support of the Central African Red Cross Society, which has provided blankets, sleeping mats, plastic buckets, solar lamps and collapsible jerrycans, purchased through a revised IFRC emergency appeal in support of the National Society.



More than 1 million displaced in Nigeria

Roughly 1.2 million people have fled their homes due to fighting and violence in the northern Nigeria, with more than 200,000 of them seeking refuge in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad or Niger. The IFRC and the ICRC have stepped up their response and are working with National Societies to deliver food, water, shelter, health care and to help people maintain contact with family members.


Future holds little promise for Iraq’s displaced

As new waves of violence in Iraq have led to the displacement of more than 1.9 million Iraqis, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society has come to their aid while continuing to help Syrians who have taken refuge there. The number of Syrians in Iraq is estimated at 216,000, most of whom are living in the Kurdish region, which hosts the largest refugee camps in the country. The IFRC and ICRC have also stepped up their actions to help displaced people in Iraq.


Humanitarian index

7.0: The magnitude of the earthquake that struck Haiti five years ago (12 January 2010) leaving 222,570 people dead, 300,572 injured and 2.3 million displaced.*
9.1: The magnitude of the earthquake off the northern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, that triggered a tsunami, which swept across the Indian Ocean, killing more than 226,000 people and causing massive destruction along coastal areas of 14 countries more than ten years ago(26 December 2004).**
18: Number of people who died in the Philippines during Typhoon Hagupit in December 2014, compared with 6,300 who died as a result of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Various natural factors as well as preparedness work by government and the Philippine Red Cross may have played a role (see story, page 16).***
713: Number of bodies returned to family members by Afghan Red Crescent volunteer Malik Abdul Hakim in the last seven years, according a January 2015 report in The New York Times. (See page 4.)
800: Number of children reunited with their families (including almost 300 formerly associated with the armed forces and other armed groups) by the ICRC in 2014 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.****
57,000: Homes built with Red Cross Red Crescent funding in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.**
2,817,154: Number of people reached by community-based health and first-aid activities in the areas affected by the 2010 Haiti earthquake in the last ten years.*

Sources : *IFRC Haiti earthquake, five-year progress report; **IFRC/2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, 10 years on; ***Philippines Red Cross; ****ICRC.


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