The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is mourning the loss of Dr Ligia Leroux de Ramírez, President of the Dominican Republic Red Cross and former member of IFRC’s Governing Board.

Dr Leroux de Ramírez served as President of the Dominican Republic Red Cross between 2000 and 2020. During this time, she steered her National Society through a range of challenges, including the massive response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake and, most recently, the complex and crucial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within the wider Red Cross and Red Crescent family she served as President of the Inter-American Regional Committee between 2007-2011, as well as a member of IFRC’s Governing Board. In 2018 she became a member of the IFRC’s Compliance and Mediation Committee.

IFRC President, Francesco Rocca, said: “On behalf of the IFRC, I express our condolences to Liga Leroux de Ramírez’s family and friends, and to the Dominican Republic Red Cross’ volunteers and staff.

Ligia was not only a committed humanitarian: Ligia was for me a close friend, a wise mentor and an incredible example for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. She will never be forgotten: her name and her leadership will guide us in our humanitarian activities”.

She was a passionate leader and made significant contributions to the development of National Red Cross Societies in the Caribbean.

Her constant efforts to strengthen cohesion between National Societies in the Caribbean and across the Americas served as a great example of human solidarity and strength in action”, President Rocca added.

Miguel Villarroel, Vice President of the IFRC, also paid tribute, saying:

Dear Doña Ligia – as I have always called you during all these long years of friendship – I cannot imagine an international gathering without you, without the chance of sitting next to you and listening to you words: “Let’s see Miguel, tell me how things are going?” And then the two of us talking for hours.

You were a woman of upright principles, faultless and of total honesty. You were a colleague in great battles, committed to humanitarian work. You dedicated a good part of your life to helping the most vulnerable, saving lives and protecting human dignity. Your wise advice made it possible for us to unite National Societies on our continent, thus leaving us a great legacy. Doña Ligia, you will always be in my heart, I will miss you very much.”

IFRC’s Regional Director for the Americas, Martha Keays, said:

Dr Leroux de Ramírez had an unrelenting commitment to humanitarian work in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Her personal contribution to the Haiti earthquake response and the humanitarian corridor in Hispaniola is part of her rich legacy. Our thoughts are with her family and colleagues.”

Dr Leroux de Ramírez served as a public official in her country, where she was designated as Sub-Secretary of Public Health and General Director of the Dominican Institute of Social Security. She held a Doctorate in Pharmacy and Chemical Sciences, with a specialty in Biochemistry, and was a graduate from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. She taught biochemistry at the University for 37 years.

Dr Leroux de Ramírez passed away on 4 December in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. She is survived by her siblings, her daughter, Ligia María Ramírez Leroux, and the rest of her family.