As they looked up and down between the phone and the nearby shore, they realised their destination was finally in sight and they beamed. Sadly, this was short-lived as they remembered their situation, adrift in political limbo, caught between European countries. Their hopes would remain only a faint glow on the horizon.



Following this week’s political stand-off over the fate of people rescued in the Mediterranean, the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) denounces Italy’s closure of its ports to prevent 630 rescued people from disembarking and European governments’ choice of political point-scoring over saving lives at sea.



On Wednesday 13 June, forces loyal to President Hadi, backed by the Saudi and Emirati-led international coalition (SELC) have launched a military offensive on Hodeidah, whose strategic port on the Red sea remains one of the few lifelines left for people living in northern Yemen.

MSF teams are providing medical supplies to Al Thawrah hospital, the main public hospital serving Hodeidah governorate, whose capacity is already stretched thin.



ROME – As the fighting around Hodeida intensifies my main concern is as ever for the children, women and men of Yemen. Innocent people are suffering amidst some of the most difficult conditions imaginable, and we are with them in calling for an end to the long-running conflict. 

Author: WFP

By Hanna Butler, IFRC

Manaro Voui, the active volcano which forms the island of Ambae in Vanuatu, has been erupting since September last year, killing crops, polluting the air and water, and forcing people to flee their homes.

Recent eruptions have worsened, food crops and water sources are now severely contaminated. Heavy ashfall has destroyed homes and is thought to have caused a landslide that ripped through an entire village. Many areas of Ambae are now deemed uninhabitable for the near future.

Most of the 10,000 people who call the island home have fled to a safe spot in the south and some have already left for nearby islands.

Vanuatu Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline De Gaillande says it’s a tough and uncertain time for the people of Ambae.

“Dealing with the eruption is one thing, but on top of that people are having to contemplate leaving their homes for some time, not knowing when they can return. Leaving your home – which is your land, your food source, your livelihood and your place of history, culture and community are incredibly difficult.

“Our Red Cross teams have been working with local government helping people of Ambae since the eruptions began in September. We’ll continue to support people in their places of temporary relocation and we’ll be there to help them begin to rebuild their lives when they permanently relocate.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has released 277,550 Swiss francs (281,900 US dollars) from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to support Vanuatu Red Cross to help up to 5,000 people with relief items such as tarpaulins, shelter toolkits, sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen sets, solar lights, mosquito nets, and hygiene kits.

Vanuatu Red Cross volunteers are also working to keep evacuated communities safe and healthy through awareness activities that focus on water, hygiene promotion and epidemic control.

Mrs De Gaillande says due to the nature of the disaster, they are also focusing on the emotional needs of people on Ambae.

“We will be providing psycho-social support, and distributing pre-paid phone credit cards help families separated during this disaster to stay connected.”

As the Shelter Cluster co-lead with the Vanuatu Government, IFRC is supporting emergency shelter coordination at the provincial and national level and will also assist with shelter needs for communities who relocate.

The post Vanuatu volcano forces thousands from homes appeared first on International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Author: Red Cross

A Red Cross emergency medical team is now working as part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).


The team – made up of doctors, nurses, and water and sanitation experts from six National Red Cross Societies – will support five health facilities in the city of Mbandaka to prevent the spread of the disease, and to support people who have been infected.

As of 12 June, 55 suspected cases of Ebola had been confirmed in DRC, with 38 confirmed cases and 28 deaths. Five new suspected cases have been reported – four in Iboko and one in Wangata – in the past 48 hours.

IFRC and the DRC Red Cross are working as part of a larger coordinated response alongside government authorities, the World Health Organization, and other international and national partners.

Alongside the deployment of this expert team, Red Cross volunteers are working in four neighbouring provinces to raise awareness of the risks of Ebola. IFRC is also working with Red Cross societies from the nine countries neighbouring the DRC to activate readiness and preparedness mechanisms.

The post Red Cross medical team joins fight against Ebola outbreak appeared first on International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Author: Red Cross

With 109 people now known to have been killed in the Fuego volcano disaster, and with 1.7 million people still at risk, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is putting long-term plans in place to support the survivors.

The first eruption on Sunday 3 June killed 109 people and injured 58 others. Nearly 200 people are still missing, and more than 12,000 people are still unable to return to their communities.

Walter Cotte, IFRC’s Regional Director for the Americas, warned that the full scale of the disaster is not yet clear.
“We know that up to 1.7 million people may be affected by the eruption’s impact on human health, water sources, crops, livestock – everything communities depend on for their livelihoods,” said Mr Cotte.
“We will be with the survivors for as long as they will need us.”

IFRC has launched an Emergency Appeal seeking more than two million Swiss francs to fund Guatemala Red Cross and IFRC programming in support of 6,000 of the most vulnerable survivors for 12 months. The money will boost Guatemala Red Cross operations in health and psychosocial support, cash-based assistance in livelihoods and basic needs, disaster risk reduction, and shelter.

The eruption of the volcano, which lies 40km south-west of the capital Guatemala City, sent deadly pyroclastic flows and ash across a ten-kilometre radius. Emergency teams from the Guatemala Red Cross responded immediately – giving medical care to survivors, taking wounded people to hospital, and setting up blood services and relief donation centres across the capital, Guatemala City.

More than 1,600 volunteers are still caring for families who were evacuated from the danger zone.

The post Guatemala: “We will be with Fuego survivors for as long as they need us” appeared first on International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Author: Red Cross

After more than four years of emergency lifesaving activities in which over 2,700 war-wounded Syrians underwent medical treatment, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has taken the difficult decision to close the Ramtha surgical project in northern Jordan.



By Sajid Hasan, IFRC

Azhar Mia, 35, lives in a beautiful green village named Panschim (West) Boroghona in the Banskhali sub-district of Chattogram, Bangladesh, where his house is located just a few kilometers away from the shores of the Bay of Bengal. Azhar’s village and the surrounding areas have always been a target zone for devastating cyclones. The mega cyclone in 1991 caused severe damage to this region, killing more than 135,000 people. The recent one, Cyclone Mora, also had a huge impact on Azhar’s life and livelihood.

“I used to be a day laborer and the storm changed my life overnight”, he says.

Azhar’s whole village suffered the brunt of cyclone Mora. His house and latrine were damaged. He and his family took shelter in a nearby cyclone shelter located inside the Boroghona High School. He did not have any work for weeks after the cyclone.

But after darkness, there comes light. Azhar turned his life around in less than a year. Now he owns a large-sized goat, which he bought with money he received from Bangladesh Red Crescent Society’s livelihood support program under the Cyclone Mora Operation.

“I received 15,000 Bangladeshi Taka (175 Swiss Francs) from the Red Crescent and I bought this one spending 14,000 of it,” he says, affectionately pointing towards his favorite goat. “The nanny has already given birth to this kid. They are my most favorites. I myself often do not eat and give my whole effort to feed them. You can see how healthy they are.”

Azhar’s family is comprised of four members including his two children. One of them is very young, just 3-year-old, and another just started going to school. All Azhar wishes is a secured future for him and his family.

“I can sell this goat now and earn double the amount that I invested. But I will not sell it. Rather, I will sell the kid and wait for the mother to give birth to more. She will bring me a lot of money and prosperity in future.”

Azhar has also received cash grant for latrine reconstruction, training on on participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, livelihood, how to grow vegetable seeds and more from the Red Crescent. During the livelihood training, a livestock officer also conducted a session on how to maintain livestock properly and how to seek support over the phone. Azhar now has a sanitary latrine as well and his whole family practices better hygiene. Also, his overall knowledge regarding disaster preparedness has increased.

“I believe I am now double prepared for any disaster than ever before. I know the storms will keep on coming, but I now know how to take preparation and reduce the amount of loss.”

Tropical Cyclone Mora, which made landfall in the coastal area of Bangladesh on 30 May 2017, affected more than 3.3 million people and caused massive damage to at least 50,000 houses. The cyclone and subsequent landslide brought desolation to the lives of many people like Azhar as their livelihood, food stock and shelter were severely damaged. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, with the help of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, responded immediately after the disaster and have also been providing crucial water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, livelihood and shelter support during the recovery phase.


The post Cyclone Mora: Bringing life back on track appeared first on International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Author: Red Cross

Ninety-nine people are now known to have died in Guatemala’s Fuego volcano disaster, with nearly 200 people still missing days after the 3 June eruption.

The Guatemalan Red Cross has been responding since the outset. Volunteers and staff have given medical treatment to survivors before transferring them to hospitals in Guatemala City. The Red Cross is also supporting thousands of people who were evacuated from the danger zone, and helping to reunite families that were separated during the disaster.

As many as 1.7 million people may be affected by the eruptions. Volcanic ash has fallen heavily within a 20km radius, raising fears of health problems and the destruction or damage of livestock, crops, and vital infrastructure including water sources and systems.

IFRC President Francesco Rocca visited the scene on 7 June. He said: “Critical, emergency needs are still enormous, and affected communities will need sustained and long-term support.

“For the families worst affected, we believe the recovery process will take at least a year. These people lost everything – homes, livelihoods and tragically, loved ones.

“These families are our priority, but the eruptions have had a much larger impact. Fine ash has fallen across more than half of the country, covering areas where agriculture is a key activity. The economic impact of this is unclear. We hope it will not mean a secondary disaster.

“I was deeply impressed by the massive and courageous response of the Guatemala Red Cross. Our volunteers have been responding since Sunday. They are exhausted, but their resolve is unwavering,” President Rocca added.

IFRC has released more than 250,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) in support of the Guatemala Red Cross humanitarian response.

The post Guatemala: 99 confirmed dead in Fuego volcano disaster appeared first on International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Author: Red Cross