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Tonga: Red Cross tackles triple disaster - COVID-19, volcanic fallout, tsunami

14/04/2022 | Press release

Kuala Lumpur/Suva 15 April 2022 – Three months on from the devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami, the Pacific island nation of Tonga is battling another disaster: its first serious outbreak of Covid-19 that has forced the Government to extend a State of Emergency and impose a series of lockdowns. The strict Covid measures have severely impacted the work of government and relief agencies and their ability to distribute relief. Tonga Red Cross has been forced to pare back operations for several weeks, relying on skeleton staff and a core group of volunteers to do essential “contactless” distributions. First detected in February, the virus reached the outer islands last month, jumping quarantine lines designed to contain it to the main island of Tongatapu. As a result, the lockdown was extended to the Ha’apai group – another blow to hard-hit island communities whose homes and livelihoods were ruined by the eruption and tsunami. After a three-week delay, a group of 25 Tonga Red Cross staff and volunteers was finally given permission by the Ministry of Health to travel by boat to islands in the Ha’apais to deliver food items, bottled water, family kits and washing kits. Observing strict “contactless” protocols, the relief teams left supplies on beaches for collection after departure. Sione Taumoefolau, Secretary-General of Tonga Red Cross said: “The people of Tonga are tough, but they have faced a once-in-a-lifetime triple disaster, making life very difficult and the relief and recovery operations even harder. “Following the devastation caused by the volcanic eruptions, being smothered by blankets of toxic ash and hit by a huge tsunami, and then Covid-19, it’s critical to balance the safety of our staff, the health of our communities, and the urgent need to deliver relief supplies. “Red Cross volunteers on the islands are a crucial lifeline in this operation, keeping us informed of the humanitarian needs on the ground and allowing us to shuttle in much-needed supplies. “More rain and bad weather during the cyclone season has also impacted our response to those affected.” The January disaster, combined with lockdown measures restricting business activity, has severely impacted Tonga’s economy. The World Bank puts the bill for overall damage at $US90.4 million – equivalent to 18.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Katie Greenwood, Pacific Head of Delegation, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: “Disasters of this scale can overwhelm the resources of any nation. It has required a well-coordinated regional response, with Pacific neighbours, the international community and a generous Tongan diaspora, to support vital local relief efforts. “This effort will extend well beyond the coming weeks and months, helping tsunami-devastated communities rebuild with safer homes and water supplies to be better prepared for future climate disasters.” For more information, contact: In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected] Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected]

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14/04/2022
Tonga: Red Cross tackles triple disaster - COVID-19, volcanic fallout, tsunami
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Tonga: Red Cross tackles triple disaster - COVID-19, volcanic fallout, tsunami
14/04/2022
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IFRC to support more than 2 million people affected by the conflict in Ukraine with its largest ever rollout of emergency cash assistance

14/04/2022 | Press release

Geneva, 14 April 2022 – As the needs of people impacted by the conflict in Ukraine continue to grow, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is scaling up its response activities to meet immediate and urgent needs, both inside Ukraine and within the countries people have fled to seeking safety. Secretary General of the IFRC, Jagan Chapagain, says: “This will be IFRC’s most extensive emergency cash programme. Our number one priority is getting support to people who are most vulnerable. From our previous experience with cash assistance, we know it is a dignified approach to providing aid as quickly and efficiently as possible. While financial assistance is a major component of our response, we’re also scaling up across many other sectors including health. We have already reached 160,000 people with healthcare and first aid support, but the longer the conflict continues, the more extensive the health needs will become.” In its largest emergency financial assistance programme to date, IFRC aims to reach more than 2 million people with support, targeting 360,000 people in Ukraine and neighbouring countries within the first three months. Longer-term financial assistance will address the needs of affected people as the crisis evolves. IFRC Regional Director for Europe Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen, says: “With every day that passes, we know vulnerabilities increase. Access to medical supplies, food, water, utilities, and other vital goods and services deteriorates. We know there are so many uncertainties for people right now, but one thing that’s clear is the needs are immense, and they will be for a long time.” IFRC is supporting more than 1 million people with over 1,800 metric tonnes of hygiene and kitchen items, blankets, food, mats and tarpaulins in Ukraine and surrounding countries. The IFRC Secretariat with its member National Societies have launched a Federation-wide response plan for 1.2 billion Swiss francs, which aims to assist 3.6 million people over two years, with multi-purpose cash assistance, health & care and water, sanitation and hygiene services, as well as shelter and housing support. Globally, more than 55 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have supported the response to date. The IFRC Secretariat is supporting this response plan by appealing for 550 million Swiss francs to scale up support to National Societies in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. Media contacts: In Ukraine: Caroline Haga, +358 50 5980500, [email protected] In Poland: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603-6803, [email protected] In Romania: Angela Hill, +40 758 450 185, [email protected] In Budapest: Nicole Robicheau, +36 30 167 2629, AD 155-187 Dinar Kushan Empire Huvishka AV Stater ANACS AU Gold In Budapest: Kathy Mueller, +1 226 376-4013 [email protected] In Geneva: Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924, [email protected] Learn more about the IFRC's work in cash and voucher assistance here.

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14/04/2022
IFRC to support more than 2 million people affected by the conflict in Ukraine with its largest ever rollout of emergency cash assistance
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IFRC to support more than 2 million people affected by the conflict in Ukraine with its largest ever rollout of emergency cash assistance
14/04/2022
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St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Recovery efforts continue to be crucial one year after the La Soufrière eruption

08/04/2022 | Press release

Kingston, Jamaica, April 8, 2022 – On April 9, 2021, the explosive eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) in the Caribbean, caused more than 13,000 people who live in the nearby red and orange zones to be evacuated. One year later, the impact of the disaster is still evident, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is focusing its efforts on shelter and socio-economic recovery, as the income of families has been affected by the eruption and the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past year, the Red Cross has supported over 5,000 people with water, emergency relief supplies, hygiene and cleaning items, dignified housing solutions, risk communication and community engagement, as well as psychosocial and livelihood support. Bernard Morgan, President of the SVG Red Cross, said: “The Red Cross, along with our partners, has provided relief, psychosocial support, and access to basic services, however the work is still not done. We continue to focus our efforts on helping people recover, especially those who have lost their jobs or savings, and whose homes were severely damaged. The physical effects of the volcano may not be as visible now, but people are still dealing with the social, economic, and psychological effects of the eruption, especially the estimated 900 people who are still unable to move back to their homes.” The Red Cross provided multipurpose grants to support approximately 1000 persons as well as supermarket vouchers for over 800 persons. In addition, over 300 small enterprises have received grants to restart farming, fishing and businesses that were interrupted by the eruption. The Red Cross has supported over 210 highly vulnerable persons (74 families) to leave collective centres and to move into dignified shelter conditions through the provision of rental grants for a period of between 1-6 months depending on needs, with over 400 monthly grants distributed since September 2021. James Bellamy, IFRC Deputy Operations Manager in the Americas, said: “One year later, some people still don’t have their homes or usual means of income, as more than 100 homes continue to remain uninhabitable due to damage and increased risks from the eruption. The priority now for the Red Cross is to help communities strengthen and restore their livelihoods and living conditions. We will continue to assist families through our livelihood program, offer training opportunities and work with disadvantaged households to find long-term shelter solutions through both cash and in-kind assistance.” Children have been at the core of the humanitarian response, with over 500 receiving psychosocial support kits including learning and recreational items. The IFRC collaborated with partners, like UNICEF and the Gender Affairs unit, to ensure child friendly spaces in collective centres. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and dengue outbreak, preventing the spread of the virus and dengue infections was a major part of the response. The Red Cross provided information about staying safe and healthy, and supplied family Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, as well as 400 hand sanitizer wall mounted units to the Ministry of Education for schools reopening for face-to-face learning. The Red Cross also supported cleanup efforts following the eruption and distributed household cleaning kits to over 3,300 families and hygiene kits and COVID-19 kits to over 2,300 families. In April 2021, the IFRC launched an appeal for 2,000,000 CHF to assist over 5,000 people in affected communities with shelter, health, clean water and livelihood support. For more information: In St. Vincent: Attica Allen +1 (784) 454-1989, [email protected] In Jamaica: Trevesa DaSilva, +876 818 8575, [email protected] In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes, +507 6999-3199, [email protected]

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08/04/2022
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Recovery efforts continue to be crucial one year after the La Soufrière eruption
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St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Recovery efforts continue to be crucial one year after the La Soufrière eruption
08/04/2022
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People affected by crises everywhere deserve same strong support provided to Ukraine response

06/04/2022 | Press release

Geneva, 6 April 2022 - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for solidarity with people affected by crises everywhere as the response to the conflict in Ukraine shows the way. The support from people and donors around the world demonstrates what is possible and illustrates the good practice essential in any humanitarian crisis. At the same time, the massive differences depending on where a crisis occurs and who it affects have been thrown into stark relief. Secretary General of the IFRC, Jagan Chapagain, says: “The immense suffering experienced by so many people in Ukraine is unimaginable for some. Unfortunately, for many others around the world the loss and pain are all too familiar. In Syria for example, 11 years after the conflict began needs in the country are at an all-time high. In Tonga tens of communities are still to recover from the devastating volcanic eruption in January. In the horn of Africa millions of people are currently experiencing one of the most dramatic food crises in years, away from the eyes of the world. These are but a few examples. We call on donors and partners to ensure that we can support everyone in need, no matter where, no matter who.” The situation in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya is critical as these countries are facing a fourth consecutive drought along with the impacts of COVID-19, conflict in the region and escalating food prices due to heavy reliance on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia. With 14 million people currently in need of urgent food assistance - a number that is expected to reach 20 million this year – IFRC has launched emergency appeals for a total of 39 million Swiss francs to provide life-saving assistance. This also includes longer term support for sustainable livelihoods adapted to the increasing negative effects of climate change to help strengthen communities’ resilience. Every day, in every community around the world, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers continue to respond with an impartial needs-based approach to people affected by crises everywhere, regardless of their status, nationality, ethnicity, religion or any other criteria. While National Societies are working hard to provide the humanitarian services necessary in Ukraine and surrounding countries, it is critical to ensure continuing focus on other crises as well as in preparing for those that will happen next. “IFRC with its network of 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is well placed to channel solidarity and mobilize support to respond to all crises and disasters that are happening concurrently around the world. But to be able to do this, needs-based support and funding is essential," concluded Mr Chapagain. IFRC currently has 29 emergency appeals open for big and complex disasters, from Afghanistan to Madagascar. For the increasing number of smaller climate-related disasters, the Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) is the most efficient and transparent way to get funding directly to local humanitarian actors. At present, there are 42 active DREF funded responses around the world, including in Ethiopia, Palestine and Ecuador. Media contacts: In Geneva: Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924, Heybrook TT2 turntable with Linn Akito tonearm and A&R E77 cart In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe +254 731 688 613, [email protected] In Beirut: Rana Cassou +336 7594 5515, [email protected] In Panama: Susana Arroyo +50 68 416 1771, [email protected] In Kuala Lumpur: Antony Balmain +60 12 230 8451, [email protected]

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06/04/2022
People affected by crises everywhere deserve same strong support provided to Ukraine response
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People affected by crises everywhere deserve same strong support provided to Ukraine response
06/04/2022
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Launch of ambitious partnership between IFRC and EU: a new model for the humanitarian sector

30/03/2022 | Press release

Brussels/Geneva, 30 March 2022 - An ambitious partnership between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) launched today aims to be a new model for the humanitarian sector. In response to the increasing number of crises arising worldwide, the pilot Programmatic Partnership “Accelerating Local Action in Humanitarian and Health Crises” aims to support local action in addressing humanitarian and health crises across at least 25 countries with a multi-year EU funding allocation. The partnership strengthens mutual strategic priorities and is built around five pillars of intervention: disaster preparedness/risk management; epidemic and pandemic preparedness and response; humanitarian assistance and protection to people on the move; cash and voucher assistance; risk communication, community engagement and accountability. European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said: “I welcome with great hope the Pilot Programmatic Partnership with IFRC, a trusted EU partner who shares our vision of implementing efficient and effective humanitarian aid operations worldwide. The funding allocated for this partnership reaffirms the EU commitment to help meet the growing needs of vulnerable people across some 25 countries, in close cooperation with the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies. It also confirms our commitment to strategic partnerships with humanitarian aid organizations.” IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said: “Longer-term, strategic partnerships are essential to respond to the escalation of humanitarian crises around the world. We must respond rapidly, we must respond at scale, and we must modernize our approach to make impact. We know that the most effective and sustainable humanitarian support is that which is locally led, puts communities at the heart of the action, and is resourced through flexible, long-term and predictable partnership. The pilot Programmatic Partnership allows exactly that.” The Programme will begin with an inception phase in several countries in Latin America, West and Central Africa and Yemen. The main objective is to provide essential assistance to those currently affected by humanitarian crises, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate-related disasters and conflict and to prevent loss of lives and suffering. Investment is also made to ensure communities are better prepared to cope with disasters through the implementation of disaster preparedness and risk reduction components. Working closely with its National Societies, the IFRC’s global reach combined with local action, its long history of community-driven humanitarian work and its Fundamental Principles, make it the partner of choice for this Pilot Programmatic Partnership with the EU. Following the first phase of implementation, the Programme aims to expand its reach and include additional countries around the world with the support of more EU National Societies. Key facts The 10 countries of implementation in the inception phase are: Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, Yemen, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. The seven National Societies from the EU working to support the implementation of the inception phase are: Belgian Red Cross (FR), Danish Red Cross, French Red Cross, German Red Cross, Italian Red Cross, Luxembourg Red Cross and Spanish Red Cross. For more information In Brussels: Federica Cuccia, [email protected] In Geneva: Anna Tuson, [email protected], +41 79 895 6924

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30/03/2022
Launch of ambitious partnership between IFRC and EU: a new model for the humanitarian sector
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Launch of ambitious partnership between IFRC and EU: a new model for the humanitarian sector
30/03/2022
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