International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc The website of the international Red Cross Red Crescent Movement Wed, 03 Jun 2020 23:56:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.14 From nurse to knitter https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/2020/06/04/from-nurse-to-knitter/ Wed, 03 Jun 2020 23:49:21 +0000 https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?p=65685 Yeltza is a nurse by profession, but due to the care that her little girl needs, she cannot dedicate herself to that; therefore, she generates income doing what in Venezuela was a hobby for her.

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“I needed to generate income, so I decided to produce. I started with scarves because I arrived here when the cold season was beginning, then I decided to do something more complex, knitting these dolls with the amigurumi technique, which is a Japanese technique. In this way, I can help my daughter to have more income for the family, and to be able to give and buy the baby´s food”, Yeltza tells us as she kits an amigurumi cat.

Yeltza is a nurse by profession, but due to the care that her little girl needs, she cannot dedicate herself to what she calls her passion, what she loves the most; therefore, she generates income doing what in Venezuela was a hobby for her.

She lives with her two daughters, of 24 and 2 and a half years old, in the Santa Anita district, in the city of Lima, capital of Peru.

“Our decision to come to Peru was for health reasons, and to give my daughter a better quality of life. My youngest daughter has Down Syndrome, and due to her condition, she has cardiac and blood problems”, comments Yeltza, who is also very grateful for how Peru has helped her, since, being less than five years old, her little girl has been able to access to therapies and evaluations.

Yeltza’s older daughter arrived first, two years ago. Once in the country, she was received by Peruvian friends, who helped her get a job as a dental assistant. Within a year, Yeltza decided to go on the same trip, accompanied by her youngest daughter. “We arrived by bus to Colombia, and my oldest daughter had the opportunity to buy us a plane ticket from Colombia, and that’s how we arrived here in Peru.”

When they arrived in the country, they lived in a smaller place, but with a lot of effort, between her and her daughter, they were able to move to the place they live today, so that the baby could be more comfortable. “With the sale of the stuffed animals, I have been able to help my daughter, give her a little more income, to be able to cover the expenses that we have here in Peru”.

In the context of the COVID-19 emergency, they no longer have incomes. “My daughter, who was working as a dental assistant, has been suspended, and I also have no income for knitting”, Yeltza tells us; and is that Peru has been in mandatory isolation for more than two months.

“Thanks to the card that the Red Cross gave us, we have been able to cover some expenses that we have here, such as rent, because the landlord wanted to evict us, and the card arrived at the right time. With that we were able to give a part of rent, so we wouldn´t be evicted, and to buy food to support us in these days of pandemic”, she comments.

Yeltza is part of the Cash-based Intervention of the Red Cross, implemented with the support of the European Union. This program gives a card to vulnerable families, so that they can spend on what they need the most at the moment.

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Value those around you, not (just) what’s around you https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/2020/06/04/value-around-not-just-whats-around/ Wed, 03 Jun 2020 23:27:22 +0000 https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?p=65675 Dora and William are part of the Cash-based Intervention of the Red Cross. This program gives a card to vulnerable families, so they can spend on what they need most right now.

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Dora studied to be a kindergarten teacher, and William, a computer technician. The two met thirty-two years ago in their beloved Venezuela. They were friends for a long time, before becoming life partners, as they like to call themselves. They have two years of relationship, the same time that they have been living in Lima, the capital of Peru. Two years ago, they decided to migrate to this country, in search of a better quality of life, and together, to undertake projects that they have planned for the long term.

“We left Barquisimeto, Lara state, and moved to Tachira, in order to cross the Simon Bolivar bridge. After the registration process, which lasted approximately five hours, we entered Colombia. From there we took a bus from Cucuta to Rumichaca. In Ecuador we took a minivan to Quitumbes, there the change of weather was very strong, very cold. From there it took us twelve hours to reach the border with Peru and enter through CEBAF in Tumbes. Already there we took a bus to Lima”. That’s how they tell us about the six-day journey that they had to made before arriving to their destination. On this journey, they were victims of robbery three times. This is how they arrived at Lima without money, without a telephone, and without a way to communicate with their families.

When they went out looking for a job, they met the owners of the building where they now live, who initially gave them the opportunity to stay in a small place in the basement, without charging them anything during that period. They consider that, thanks to these people and their generous help, they had the opportunity to undertake, and to be able to pay for the rent and the basic expenses and services of the apartment they occupy today.

“The first job hunt was not easy at all, the life of the migrant is quite hard in any country” William tells us. In these two years, between him and Dora they have had several jobs, always temporary, and periods of unemployment. Dora’s first job was in a shoe store in a market, and William’s in a restaurant where he did all the chores, and where he spent most of the day “The hours were quite strong. I left here at 9 in the morning and returned 2 or 3 in the morning the next day”, he says.

For both Dora and William, the months from January to March are the most difficult, as this is the time where there are no many job opportunities, and because many of the contracts are until December. Last year they decided to do different things to generate income at this time, and together they began to work with crafts, and baking pastries for sale. “We also made soup, but we did not sell this, we gave it to the neighbours so they could try our food” says Dora. Then, together, they worked in a school renovating the furniture in the kindergarten area. They managed to finish this work with a lot of effort and deliver it on time before the start of classes, which were suspended three weeks later, due to COVID-19.

Dora and William have been complying more than two months with the mandatory isolation that the Peruvian government decreed as a measure of response to the COVID-19 emergency. “Quarantine has not been easy on an economic level because we do not produce, we do not have an income; but at a personal level, it has been very pleasant, because since we arrived in the country the only thing we have done has been working all the time. Here the work hours are more than eight, plus the time it takes to get to work, you are on the street all day. Now, this time of isolation has helped us to understand each other as a couple and has also helped us to value the person next to you before the material, and to collaborate within your possibilities with those around you”, reflects Dora. She also tells us that this time is serving them to prepare for different things, and they have focused on following whatever free courses, workshops, and conferences they find in their path.

But not generating income, increased pressure and concern for tomorrow. “The help of the Red Cross came to us from heaven, because that day we ran out of food, we have had been feeding only with bread and water for a week, so this help has been a blessing. If it hadn’t been for that help, imagine how we would be right now” adds Dora.

Dora and William are part of the Cash-based Intervention of the Red Cross, implemented with support from the European Union. This program gives a card to vulnerable families, so they can spend on what they need most right now.

“The same day they gave us the card, a neighbor who has a small baby ran out of milk, and well, so we were also able to help her.” Dora tells us, showing herself to be an example of solidarity even in times of emergency.

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In pictures: COVID-19 – Supporting healthcare in Philippines https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/2020/06/02/pictures-covid-19-supporting-healthcare-philippines/ Tue, 02 Jun 2020 10:16:22 +0000 https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?p=65575 Philippine Red Cross was among the earliest National Societies outside of China to ramp up their COVID-19 response after the country confirmed its first case of the virus on January 30. From the outset, the organisation focused its resources on areas where it could create the most impact. A central part of their multi-faceted response has […]

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Philippine Red Cross was among the earliest National Societies outside of China to ramp up their COVID-19 response after the country confirmed its first case of the virus on January 30. From the outset, the organisation focused its resources on areas where it could create the most impact. A central part of their multi-faceted response has been supporting early treatment and primary healthcare providers.

The Philippines recorded the first death from COVID-19 outside of China. As the virus spread, the early surge in the number of patients seeking treatment for COVID-19 stretched the capacity of the country’s health care system, particularly hospitals. Photo: IFRC

To increase bed capacity, Philippine Red Cross set up medical tents to support both public and private hospitals in the country. The tents are being used for medical, admission and triage. With the support of the IFRC, Philippine Red Cross has already pitched 57 tents in 22 public and private hospital. Photo: IFRC

Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by health care and frontline workers to protect themselves posed a tremendous challenge to the health care system in the country. Philippine Red Cross responded by distributing PPE to critical health care and frontline workers and have now distributed more than half a million items of PPE. Photo: Philippine Red Cross.

Philippine Red Cross has continued to transport non-COVID-19 and confirmed COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic. To eliminate the risk of contamination, the organisation procured specialised negative pressure ambulances dedicated to the transport of COVID-19 related patients. So far more than 300 COVID-19 related patients have been transported by the Philippine Red Cross. Photo: Philippine Red Cross.

Philippine Red Cross is also playing a significant role in testing, conducting swabbing to get samples from people who are believed to have been exposed to the COVID-19. Photo: IFRC.

The samples are then processed at new molecular laboratories set up by Philippine Red Cross to support the country’s need for increased testing to slow transmission of the virus. Photo: IFRC.

Three molecular testing labs are now operational with a total of eight testing machines. Each testing machine has the capacity to undertake up to 1,000 tests a day to support early identification of confirmed cases. The Philippine Red Cross has tested more than 74,600 individuals, accounting for 45 percent of the total testing done in the country and plans to build more laboratories to support mass testing. Photo: IFRC.

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Response to COVID-19 in a country of continental dimensions https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/2020/05/29/response-covid-19-one-biggest-hotspots-americas/ Fri, 29 May 2020 21:55:47 +0000 https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?p=65525 "During this period of fear and anguish around the world, when most of the population is at home, we choose to take care of others, out of love,"

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“During this period of fear and anguish around the world, when most of the population is at home, we choose to take care of others, out of love,” said Joice Batista, a Brazilian Red Cross nurse who, together with more than 2,800 volunteers and technicians from this National Society, is fully dedicated to the noble work of saving lives in the time of COVID-19.

Brazil is one of the countries in the Americas most affected by the virus outbreak. This situation demands great efforts to support the national health system and the most vulnerable populations.

The Brazilian Red Cross, through its 21 branches, is providing assistance especially in the delivery of hygiene and sanitation kits, as well as psychosocial support. These actions have reached more than 133,000 people in the country, mainly in 11 states, including São Paulo, Ceará, Rio de Janeiro, Amazonas, and others strongly affected by the outbreak. The work has been carried out by visiting affected areas and assisting health personnel. Food and nutrition kits have been delivered to vulnerable people in 15 cities, and hygiene items have been donated to professionals in public clinics and hospitals.

“This is an important contribution. This is what we need, protection for health professionals so that we in turn can care for the sick population,” said Maria Liduína Jales, a health worker at one of the hospitals to which the Red Cross has delivered materials.

The National Society has put a lot of effort into managing the distribution of these kinds of supplies. At the moment, hundreds of volunteers are helping with the production of an additional 35,000 hygiene kits that will be distributed in the next few days. In addition, the Red Cross is running four hospitals and two clinics in Brazil.

This work has required significant management, especially for resource mobilization.

“This is a country of continental dimensions, and as an auxiliary entity of the government we have moved with everything to be able to efficiently reach the populations in greater condition of vulnerability” said Julio Cals, President of the National Society.

“We have made alliances with several companies and organizations, and we have strengthened our communication with communities, volunteers and collaborators.”

The COVID-19 Pandemic has generated high levels of stress and emotional impact on people. For this reason, the Brazilian Red Cross is undertaking important work in psychosocial support, especially in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Amazonas, Distrito Federal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul. Volunteers from the National Society make home visits to provide care in the localities, and a tele-assistance service has also been set up. In the same way, there is an important effort to protect the mental health of National Society volunteers. Emotional support spaces have been created for Red Cross staff, and the telecare service is also open.

The activation of the National Society, and the work being done on the ground, is made possible by the unconditional support of thousands of volunteers who have decided to give their best to help others. “I am grateful to do good for others and for the community,” said Joice. “This work gives me a natural sense of personal satisfaction and gratification, even in fear”.

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Red Cross urges governments and people to be prepared ahead of hurricane season as COVID 19 could delay assistance https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/2020/05/29/red-cross-urges-governments-people-prepared-ahead-hurricane-season-covid-19-delay-assistance/ Fri, 29 May 2020 21:34:18 +0000 https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?p=65515 IFRC is preparing for the 2020 Hurricane Season in the Atlantic and Pacific regions, as the second storm of the season crosses the northern Caribbean.

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is preparing for the 2020 Hurricane Season in the Atlantic and Pacific regions, as the second storm of the season crosses the northern Caribbean.

Walter Cotte, IFRC Regional Director for the Americas, said the prediction of the 2020 hurricane season as an above-normal year, with 13 to 19 named storms, in conjunction with the COVID-19 pandemic, is cause for concern.

“Although we are focused on addressing COVID-19 we must also think ahead to preparing for the hurricane season. One of the main challenges is going to be logistical, as public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have caused closures of borders and restrictions on movements.”

Red Cross organizations from across Latin America and the Caribbean are sharing messages of preparedness, urging people to have food, water, and other necessities on hand as it may take longer for help to arrive. Red Cross also encourages governments to support humanitarian efforts.

“Using humanitarian diplomacy, we are working with governments, advocating for flexibility in the regulatory framework to allow access and movement of humanitarian goods to ensure access in case of disaster in the region,” Cotte said.

“Also, to try and mitigate the impacts of a hurricane and associated flooding and landslides we are have pre-positioned about 200 tonnes of emergency supplies in key areas throughout the region.”

During a meeting of Red Cross National Societies this week, planning for the hurricane season is under way. Strategies are changing to reflect the reality of COVID-19, for example in Trinidad and Tobago, where they are conducting online refresher trainings with community emergency response team volunteers and shelter managers. Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers are being mobilized across the region to share early warning messages, help communities prepare and support after disaster where needed. Early action and effective preparedness can save lives and livelihoods.

Latin America and the Caribbean are regions of the world most prone to disasters. The IFRC advocates climate change adaptation measures to mitigate the humanitarian impact of these disasters, especially in urban populations.

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Tunisian Red Crescent Collaborated with Dar Ben Gacem to Feed the Needy https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/2020/05/29/tunisian-red-crescent-collaborated-dar-ben-gacem-feed-needy/ Fri, 29 May 2020 15:33:59 +0000 https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?p=65333 Randa El Ozeir – The Tunisian Red Crescent (TRC)’s core value of aiding others, namely the deprived Tunisians during the current tough times, was reflected in stepping up and collaborating with Dar Ben Gacem, a 17th-century boutique hotel in Medina of Tunis. The initiative supported 45 families and 75 homeless persons before and over Ramadan. […]

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Randa El Ozeir – The Tunisian Red Crescent (TRC)’s core value of aiding others, namely the deprived Tunisians during the current tough times, was reflected in stepping up and collaborating with Dar Ben Gacem, a 17th-century boutique hotel in Medina of Tunis. The initiative supported 45 families and 75 homeless persons before and over Ramadan.

Looking for a way to contribute during the crisis of COVID-19 and feeling the necessity to help, Leila Ben-Gacem, the CEO of Dar Ben Gacem, consulted with her accounting officer and long-time TRC volunteer, Abir Saidi, who told me about the TRC’s Social Activity Team idea of a Meal Program delivered to the needy families and those who lost their jobs. Ben-Gacem described how the initiative crystalised, “there is no better organization to partner with more than the TRC. Its Medina offices are adjacent to our guesthouse that I had to close. I also know most of the volunteers of TRC and admire their dedication and integrity, and they are our reference in the hygiene steps. So, we implemented the required COVID-19 safety measures on our guesthouse staff and all the TRC volunteers by wearing facemasks, washing hands frequently, and keeping social distancing throughout the process”.

Sonia Bin Saïdane, the Social Coordinator at TRC, showed up every day to lend a hand and manage 38 volunteers, who worked hard to collect in-kind and monetary donations for the eligible individuals. “By my physical presence, I ensured the volunteers performed to our standards and simultaneously did the job in favourable and safe conditions”.

The Meal Program was the fruit of teaming up between the private sector and the TRC to lessen the financial ordeal and stressful situation of 45 underprivileged families, that totaled 140 individuals approximately, in addition to 75 homeless persons, as well as delivering 100 food baskets. “It was a two-part activity: one done by a well-known and authentic restaurant in the Old City, Dar Slah, that took care of the Iftar and Suhur meals over the Holy Month, and the second part consisted of handling the dinner meals before and during Ramadan by the Chefs Slim Douiri and Amine Abbas”, explained Bin Saïdane.

Recounting the work, Ben Gacem said, “the 100 meals were cooked at Dar Slah Restaurant and brought to our guesthouse, and 75 other meals were prepared in our guesthouse’s kitchen where the TRC team, wearing their logo jackets, met daily to sort out and pack the cooked food in containers and bags readying it for delivery. Our guesthouse was a beehive, and our team became volunteers in the process! My team and I are thankful that we were able to collaborate with the TRC”. The joint initiative led primarily by Ben-Gacem and Bin Saïdane proved that “women’s leadership is empathetic and drives communities towards much-needed systemic change”.

“Rather than feeding the hungry on the permanent Iftar tables in our restaurant, the TRC turned to the mobile tables through our volunteers’ earnest work and the contributor partners to achieve the success of the Program despite the health circumstances due to COVID-19”, explained Bin Saïdane about the challenge that the Program encountered.

In order to identify the vulnerable population in Medina of Tunis, the TRC volunteers invested their effort in a field inspection to ensure the accuracy of the eligible individuals. They also relied on existing lists, tracked by the Madina’s local authority, that have names of Iftar tables’ regular beneficiaries for years. Hisham Al-Harizi, who is 32 years old and a volunteer since 2011, said, “I volunteered in the Iftar tables, for I am from the area, and learned more about the TRC and its activities. Even with the exceptional situation due to Corona virus, we answered the call of duty and helped the eligible people to preserve their health”.

The proof that the TRC is staying in the frontline and on the ground to join efforts with the government in its fight against COVID-19 came in one of the beneficiaries’ own words, Lamia, a 40-year-old widow and mother of three kids, who said, “the situation was difficult due to Corona, and my unemployment made things worse. But thanks to the support of the TRC volunteers who visited us regularly during Ramadan, we had a dinner meal and Suhur. They also supplied my kids with some of their needs. Thank you because you were the reason of my happiness and my kids’, and the reason of our staying healthy”.

General Background:

The Tunisian Red Crescent (TRC) is an organization of public interest that was founded in October 1956 as a Tunisian humanitarian association. After getting recognized by a decree, it became a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent in September 1957 and has 21 regional branches and 244 local committees.

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Greece: “I’m halfway to reaching my dreams” https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/2020/05/27/greece-im-halfway-reaching-dreams/ Wed, 27 May 2020 15:13:19 +0000 https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?p=65274 Somaya dreams of becoming a medical doctor and bringing relief to those who are suffering. Somaya and her family had to flee war-torn Afghanistan and sought refuge in Iran. She and her family have had a difficult life, but Somaya continues to chase her dreams of making a meaningful contribution to society.

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By Georgia Trismpioti, IFRC

Somaya dreams of becoming a medical doctor and bringing relief to those who are suffering. Somaya and her family had to flee war-torn Afghanistan and sought refuge in Iran. She and her family have had a difficult life, but Somaya continues to chase her dreams of making a meaningful contribution to society.

Somaya and her husband fled their home country – war-torn Afghanistan – in search of safety. “I left Afghanistan because there was always a feeling of being unsafe,  anything could happen at any time,” she says. ”For women in Afghanistan, there is no possibility for personal and professional growth.

Happy when helping others

In early March 2020, Somaya and her family arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos after enduring more than 12 hours at sea in an unmanned dinghy. Two weeks later they were transferred to the Malakasa refugee camp in mainland Greece.

It is not what you might expect when you hear the words ‘refugee camp’, but life here is a privilege compared to Lesvos. I’m halfway to reaching my dreams for a better life,” she says with a radiant smile.

Despite their uncertain situation, this optimistic and resilient woman is not one to sit idle. Somaya is volunteering as an interpreter with the Hellenic Red Cross at the Malakasa camp.

I want to help people and I’m happy when I am able to make people’s life easier. It is gratifying work I’m doing here every day and when I sleep at nights I’m having sweet dreams,” Somaya says with a laugh.

 

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Colombian Red Cross supports thousands of migrants in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/2020/05/25/colombian-red-cross-supports-thousands-migrants-midst-covid-19-pandemic/ Mon, 25 May 2020 19:53:14 +0000 https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?p=65052 In the middle of the “Parque del Agua” in Bucaramanga, Santander, it is possible to watch Colombian Red Cross personnel providing primary health care to migrants during medical days.

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In the middle of the “Parque del Agua” in Bucaramanga, Santander, it is possible to watch Colombian Red Cross personnel providing primary health care to migrants during medical days. Entire families come here to be treated. As they wait their turn, standing about 1.5 metres apart, they receive material and advice from National Society volunteers on what COVID-19 is and how to prevent it. This is one of the many activities the Red Cross is carrying out to care for people on the move, one of the populations most affected by COVID-19.

In Colombia, tens of thousands of migrants (especially of Venezuelan nationality) decided to return to their countries of origin to face the crisis. Since the closure of the borders, nearly 60,000 Venezuelans have moved within Colombia.

“The migration scenario has become very complicated,” says Marilyn Bonfante, Director of the Social and Humanitarian Development Unit of the Colombian Red Cross. “There has been an increase in unsatisfied basic needs among migrants, and there has been a setback in social and economic inclusion processes that had advanced significantly prior to the pandemic.”

In addition, Bonfante states that the current conditions of mobility are high risk.

“Irregular recruitment of migrants has been detected and there are risks associated with border crossing on informal routes, especially in Ipiales and Nariño with average flows of 250 people per day”.

Despite the complexity of carrying out humanitarian work in the midst of the pandemic, Colombian Red Cross volunteers have responded positively to this reality. The National Society actively works in primary health care, psychosocial support, protection, humanitarian assistance and water distribution. And like other National Societies in the region and the world, it has had to adapt to working in an unprecedented context.

With the intense work carried out, especially in border areas, nearly 40,000 migrants have been reached. The Red Cross provides primary health care through the use of mobile units, at fixed points and by holding health days in public spaces. A telephone line and a WhatsApp line are also available for medical orientation and psychosocial support. Also, protection spaces have been created for children and families who have required emotional support. In these spaces, recreational activities are generated and awareness of the disease and forms of prevention are promoted. In addition, to help provide basic necessities, food kits and cash transfer vouchers have been distributed to nearly 30,000 people.

Given the conditions of the pandemic, special emphasis has been placed on protecting volunteers who are carrying out front-line actions. The National Society has made a tele-assistance line available to its staff and their families. In addition, it has created spaces with its 29 branches to provide support for the mental health and well-being of volunteers. This action has been very effective through virtual links with which 287 members have been reached so far.

In recent weeks, the Colombian Red Cross Society has been working on preparing its volunteers and technical staff to strengthen the response in the field and increase the safety of volunteers during their work.

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“30 Minutes with My Child”: An Exceptional Campaign in Bethlehem https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/2020/05/22/30-minutes-child-exceptional-campaign-bethlehem/ Fri, 22 May 2020 18:58:44 +0000 https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?p=64996 Bethlehem – The Palestine Red Crescent Society’s PRCS’ campaign, “30 Minutes With My Child”, is still gaining momentum in the towns and villages of the Bethlehem Governate in Palestine since its launch at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. The successful campaign has been achieved thanks to the helping hands of many of the PRCS […]

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Bethlehem – The Palestine Red Crescent Society’s PRCS’ campaign, “30 Minutes With My Child”, is still gaining momentum in the towns and villages of the Bethlehem Governate in Palestine since its launch at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. The successful campaign has been achieved thanks to the helping hands of many of the PRCS 350, who enthusiastically engaged in delivering this initiative.

To learn more about the campaign’s creation, Ms. Judith al Sayej, PRCS’ Bethlehem branch Administrative Director, described the campaign saying that “at the beginning of COVID-19 outbreak, we decided to set up a psychological support team to help mothers, and subsequently their children, as part of the service provided by PRCS to local communities during these difficult times. We asked mothers to film their children as they carried out various activities, such as drawing, telling stories, and reciting poetry”. Judith explained how “the videos aimed to showcase the children’s creativity and allow them to express their feelings and emotions”.

Given the outstanding artistic skills displayed by the gifted children, who exhibited their talents in many videos, PRCS’ Bethlehem Branch decided to hold a contest and recognise the top 10 videos with an award. According to Judith al Sayej, the judges we select will be tasked with selecting the winning videos. The abilities of the boys and girls of Bethlehem in expressive art does not come as a surprise since the city boasts 10 museums and over 150 cultural centers and NGO’s.

“30 Minutes With My Child” owes a crucial part of its positive outcome to the PRCS volunteers. Salwa al Zeer, PRCS’ Bethlehem Branch Community Action Coordinator, shed some light on the instrumental role they played in the campaign. Our “volunteers have played a major role in the implementation of this campaign. The local communities’ response has also been high, and the campaign gained interest rapidly with people eager to display their children’s creativity. We were heartened by this response rate, which proves that we can do great things even in the most difficult of times”.

Speaking about this phenomenal campaign and as one of the volunteers, Ahmad Imteir, PRCS’ Bethlehem Branch’s Activities Officer, elaborated and added that “the current extraordinary context led us to focus on psychological support as part of our social mission”. He applauded the volunteers’ great job in the campaign and detailed the areas they participated in to keep the confined children on track. “They also assisted children in grade one through grade three with their schooling by resorting to distance learning solutions. This was done in a fun and accessible way, so children received gifts as an incentive to join this initiative”. He attributed the success of these activities to the imagination and originality of the children as well as the widespread participation among the local communities.

In its response to COVID-19, PRCS provided the following humanitarian services: Emergency medical Services, Health and Relief, and Psycho-Social Support (PSS). PRCS distributed food parcels to 12480 families in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPT), delivered medical services in primary health care centers to 1189 persons and activated 50 members of its PSS team to respond to people’s needs via phone sessions. The elderly and the patients who are dealing with chronic diseases have been visited at home by volunteers as well.

General Background:

PRCS was established in December 1968 as a national humanitarian organization to look after the health, welfare and well-being of the Palestinian people in West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq. PRCS, as a full member of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, goes the extra mile to provide humanitarian, health, cultural and social services with its 4,200 employees and a network of 20,000 volunteers.

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IFRC releases forecast-based funds against impact of super cyclone Amphan in Bangladesh https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/2020/05/20/ifrc-releases-forecast-based-funds-impact-super-cyclone-amphan-bangladesh/ Wed, 20 May 2020 03:00:20 +0000 https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?p=64922 As super cyclone Amphan heads towards the West Bengal-Bangladesh areas, Bangladesh Red Crescent has triggered the release of forecast-based funds from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to reduce the storm’s impact on vulnerable communities living in the nine coastal districts of Bangladesh. According to the Needs Assessment Working Group (NAWG) […]

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As super cyclone Amphan heads towards the West Bengal-Bangladesh areas, Bangladesh Red Crescent has triggered the release of forecast-based funds from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to reduce the storm’s impact on vulnerable communities living in the nine coastal districts of Bangladesh.

According to the Needs Assessment Working Group (NAWG) in Bangladesh, more than 14.2 million people are in the path of the cyclone, of which 7.2 million are women and 1.4 million are children. This has put these communities at a dual risk amid the existing COVID-19 pandemic.

This forecast has triggered the pre-agreed release of 134,317 Swiss francs (138,000 US dollars) from IFRC’s designated fund for anticipatory action, Forecast-based Action by the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).

The funding will help support more than 20,000 vulnerable people with emergency dry food and drinking water, first aid, safety equipment, and transportation facilities to cyclone shelters, as well as support precautionary measures against COVID-19 through the disinfection of cyclone shelters and provision of personal protective equipment sets.

IFRC Head of Bangladesh Country Office Azmat Ulla said:

“In the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Bangladesh Red Crescent has been working tirelessly alongside local authorities, sharing early warning information and pre-positioning relief supplies, as well as having teams to support evacuations as super cyclone Amphan approaches Bangladesh.

“With the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, we are enabling communities to take all sorts of preparedness measures to reduce the loss of life and livelihood in the coastal districts including the camps in Cox’s Bazar, where around one million displaced people reside in temporary shelters. Forecast-based actions mean the communities no longer wait for a cyclone to hit, rather anticipate it and act early.”

“We have seen many mega cyclones in the past that have brought massive devastation in this region. This funding allows Bangladesh Red Crescent to take actions to reduce the impact of such an event.”

Combining weather forecasts with risk analysis allows IFRC funding to be released so people take early actions ahead of cyclones rather than only having access to support after they have been hit.

The goal of Forecast-based Financing is to anticipate cyclones, decrease their impact as much as possible, and reduce human suffering and losses. The key element is to agree in advance to release financial resources if a specific forecast threshold is reached. As part of this mechanism, an Early Action Protocol for cyclones outlines which anticipatory measures the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society will implement to reduce the cyclone’s impact. This work is developed by National Societies with the technical support from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

Bangladesh Red Crescent Society Secretary General Md. Feroz Salah Uddin said:

“We are scaling up our preparedness measures and early actions to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who are in the direct path of cyclone Amphan. The current COVID-19 crisis is slowing our efforts down, but our volunteers are not stepping back from reaching out to the most vulnerable communities.”

Over the past 10 years cyclones have affected more than a million people in Bangladesh, causing death and injury, destroying homes and undermining livelihoods.

The Early Action Protocol for cyclones in Bangladesh has been revised considering the current COVID-19 epidemic. While the priority remains to move people to safe shelters if an evacuation order is issued, Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers are taking action to help prevent further outbreaks, including sharing hygiene information and items, identifying alternative evacuation spaces to enable physical distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting cyclone shelters.

This is only the second time IFRC’s early action funding mechanism has been used after over 210,000 Swiss francs were released to Mongolia Red Cross in January 2020 based on the forecast of an extreme winter season. The funding provided cash grants to vulnerable herder families to help protect their livestock and livelihoods.

German Red Cross is providing technical expertise and funding support to the Forecast-based Financing project and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society. Head of German Red Cross’ Bangladesh Office Gaurav Ray said:

“The impending cyclone, Amphan, is putting the lives of the most poor and vulnerable families at risk. By taking forecast-based early actions well ahead of the cyclone, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is setting a precedent, especially in the face of this dual crisis. Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers and the Cyclone Preparedness Programme will play a critical role in alleviating the distress faced by communities at risk.”

Notes

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