Disaster Update: Ukrainian Red Cross Responds to Unrest in Ukraine

March 4, 2014
Disaster Update
Ukraine – The Ukrainian Red Cross has been responding to unrest in Ukraine since its onset in November 2013. In particular during the period of violent clashes between protesters and government security forces and police between February 18 and 21, Red Cross emergency response teams worked around the clock, providing first aid to the wounded from both sides and transporting them to hospitals. During the most intense three days, the Red Cross provided first aid to more than 660 people—both protesters and members of the security forces.
The Ukrainian Red Cross’s response has continued with the ouster of the former president and change to an opposition-led government during the days between February 21 and 27.  At present, with Russian troops positioned in Crimea and the threat of open hostilities between Russian and Ukrainian military forces, as well as continued unrest among the population of Ukraine in many localities, Red Cross response teams remain on duty day and night, continuing to perform emergency health and first aid activities.
Immediate priorities are to ensure the availability of emergency and first aid kits across the country, support training and movement of volunteers, and provide logistical assistance to local Red Cross responders.
It is critical that all parties understand the role and impartiality of Red Cross volunteers. During clashes in Kyiv, six Red Cross volunteers were injured. In addition to providing psychosocial support to volunteers, the Ukrainian Red Cross has distributed materials about Red Cross emblem use and protection through leaflets, mass media, and liaising with local medical facilities.

Disaster Update: American Red Cross Responding to Namibia Drought with Disaster Specialist

January 29, 2014

Namibia is suffering from severe drought conditions after one of the driest rainy seasons in decades.  The lack of available water is causing a strain on local farmers resulting in food shortage and loss of livestock. Cholera and malnutrition cases are increasing, likely due to the shortage of safe water sources and poor sanitation and hygiene practices.

In May 2013, the government of Namibia declared a state of emergency for the estimated 331,000 people living in rural areas affected by the drought.

Since the beginning of this operation, the Namibia Red Cross has worked alongside the global Red Cross network and other humanitarian partners to develop an operations plan and complete needs assessments. The Namibia Red Cross is providing support by delivering assistance in water, food security, and cash grants and is aiming to reach 55,000 people.

In July 2013, the American Red Cross committed $70,000 to the International Federation appeal to support the response operation. This contribution will help the Namibia Red Cross provide immediate relief including food, emergency relief items, and cash grants to the affected populations. As of January 2014, the American Red Cross has also deployed one specialist to support the Namibia Red Cross with the distribution of cash grants for food.

For more information on the disaster, visit http://www.redcross.org.na/.

Disaster Update: American Red Cross Contributes $50,000 to Zimbabwe Food Security

January 29, 2014

The American Red Cross is contributing $50,000 to help those affected by food insecurity caused by drought and below-normal rainfall in Zimbabwe.

The disaster has impacted approximately 2.2 million people—a 32 percent increase since March 2013—primarily in the southern regions of the country. For the past three years, the late onset of rainfall followed by prolonged dry spells, poor agricultural practices and limited access to goods have contributed to a smaller harvest and worsening food security situation.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross is coordinating with the government, partners from the global Red Cross network, and other international organizations to implement food security, water and sanitation, and disaster management programs. With these partners, the Zimbabwe Red Cross hopes to reach 10,500 people with cash grants, agricultural supplies, and water and sanitation activities. Along with providing immediate life-saving needs, they aim to strengthen the affected communities with support for rural farming/gardening and income generation.

The American Red Cross contribution will help the Zimbabwe Red Cross provide immediate relief to the affected populations including cash grants for food, water, and agriculture support.

For more information on the disaster, visit http://www.redcrosszim.org.zw/. To read about a recent visit to American Red Cross programming in Zimbabwe, visit our blog.

American Red Cross Contribution to Syrian Response

January 10, 2014

The ongoing crisis in Syria has affected 9.3 million people, or 43 percent of the total population, and has claimed the lives of more than 100,000. An estimated 6.5 million people are internally displaced within Syria, and an additional 2.3 million refugees have fled the country.

The influx of refugees in neighboring countries including Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey is straining the resources of host communities, where the most pressing needs continue to be access to adequate shelter, food, health care and education. In addition, the winter has brought   an increased need for blankets, stoves and protective clothing due to the current winter weather.

In Syria, education has been disrupted for 3 million children and the conflict has caused long term damage to the ecomony with an estimated 60% of the work force currently unemployed.

The American Red Cross continues to support the humanitarian relief efforts caused by the crsiis in Syria.  An additional $500,000 has been committed to the relief efforts.  This contribution will support services to Syrian refugees in Iraq, where the Iraqi Red Crescent is distributing relief supplies, setting up tents and providing health care and clean water.

This brings the total support of the American Red Cross to more than $1.5 million to date.  The American Red Cross also sent a shelter specialist to Lebanon to support the Lebanese Red Crescent.







Disaster Alert: Philippine Earthquake

October 15, 2013

Disaster Alert

Philippine Red Cross volunteers and staff have been mobilized to assess the damage and respond to immediate needs, following a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck the Philippines on October 15. The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the quake’s epicenter was about 1.5 miles south of Carmen, on the island of Bohol.

Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of Philippine Red Cross, said the timing of the quake – on a national holiday – had an impact on casualty figures. “It was a strong quake, but while we expect the number of casualties to increase, it could have been worse if people were going on with their routine weekday activities,” she said. “Today is a national holiday, so most people had not yet ventured out of their homes.”

Immediately after the quake struck, Red Cross chapters in Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental and Siquijor provinces, mobilized their action teams to undertake a quick survey of damage. The staff and volunteers are working in coordination with local disaster response teams.

Structural damage has been reported in Bohol and Cebu provinces, with the most significant problems in urban centres such as Tagbilaran and Cebu.

Additional Red Cross teams from the national headquarters are being deployed to assist. “We are preparing to send members of our emergency response unit from Manila to support our ground teams who are themselves affected,” Pang said. “We recognize that some of our colleagues in the affected areas are likely to be apprehensive because of aftershocks.”

Meanwhile, Philippine Red Cross is actively sending out updates and issuing safety reminders using social media services, including Twitter.

“Our top priority is to save lives and to prevent potential loss of lives that may be caused by aftershocks and collapse of structures whose integrity has been weakened,” Pang said.

The Philippines Red Cross is also continuing to  respond to the needs caused by Typhoon Nari which caused major flooding when it passed over the northern section of the country on October 13th.



Disaster Alert: Mexican Red Cross Responds to Tropical Storm Manuel and Hurricane Ingrid

September 18, 2013

Mexican Red Cross Responds to Tropical Storm Manuel and Hurricane Ingrid

Tropical Storm Manuel and Hurricane Ingrid made landfall in the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Mexico earlier this week affecting over 1 million people throughout the country with rain, flooding, high winds and landslides. The cities of Acapulco, Chilpancingo and Iguala were heavily affected and in some cases inaccessible due to flooding and landslides across roads.

The Mexican Red Cross had activated all of their branches, deployed volunteers to affected regions, and is working closely with the Secretary of Mexican National Civil Protection on the response to both storms.  They are currently assessing damage and have not requested additional support from the global Red Cross network at this time.

Rapid Response teams with training in search and rescue were deployed to Guerrero and Tamaulipas.  They are providing first aid, assistance in evacuation, damage assessment and emotional support to those impacted.  The Mexican Red Cross has opened centers with stocks of cleaning, hygiene, and relief supplies in multiple locations.

For people in the United States looking for immediate family members in Mexico, please use the following information:

  • If your inquiry concerns a U.S. citizen, please contact the  U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225. Please remember that this phone number is frequently busy during the first days after a large disaster.
  • If your inquiry concerns a Mexican citizen, keep in mind that many phone lines are down so please continue to try your regular means of communication.  If you are unable to reach them please contact your local Red Cross chapter for additional assistance.


Disaster Alert: Mexican Red Cross Responds to Tropical Storms Manuel and Ingrid

September 17, 2013

Disaster Alert

Tropical Storms Manuel and Ingrid made landfall in the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Mexico affecting 20,000 people in 13 states with rain, flooding, high winds and landslides. The Mexican Red Cross activated all of their branches and are working closely with the Secretary of Mexican National Civil Protection on the response to both storms.

Rapid Response teams with training in search and rescue were deployed to Guerrero and Tamaulipas. They are providing first aid, assistance in evacuation, damage assessment and emotional support to those impacted. The Mexican Red Cross has opened centers with stocks of cleaning, hygiene, and relief supplies in multiple locations.

Red Cross Responds to Middle East Violence

August 16, 2013

As violence escalates throughout the Middle East, Red Cross and Red Crescent workers are responding. The Lebanese Red Cross responded to yesterday’s car bomb attack in southern Beirut with 15 ambulances and staff to care for the needs of the wounded. The Egyptian Red Crescent has deployed three first aid teams to assist those injured in the violence this past week with additional teams on standby to respond to needs in multiple cities. They have been actively responding since protest began in July, providing first aid services and coordinating with the Egyptian Ministry of Health. Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) volunteers continue to work diligently to care for those that are wounded and displaced. To date, 20 SARC have lost their lives providing assistance to those affected by the violence in Syria.

Disaster Update: Alberta Flood Response

June 25, 2013

Disaster Update

Heavy rainfall since June 19, 2013 has resulted in the worst floods on record in southern Alberta. A state of local emergency has been declared in twenty-seven states throughout the province. Numerous evacuations have occurred in areas affected by flooding including 90,000 people evacuated in Calgary, High River, Medicine Hat and Drumheller. Flooding has caused major transportation and telecommunication infrastructure damage, power outages and water contamination. Additional flood and evacuation alerts have been issued as flood waters move east.

The Canadian Red Cross has convened coordination teams on the ground in Alberta and at their headquarters in Ottawa. To date the Canadian Red Cross has deployed 81 staff and volunteers to support the operation. The Canadian Red Cross is supporting ten shelters in the area with personnel and supplies. It is providing registration services in evacuation centers and has mobilized supplies including cots, hygiene kits, clean-up kits and blankets.

The American Red Cross has deployed nine disaster response specialists. Of these nine, six relief specialists were deployed to Calgary to support the distribution of relief supplies and three operations and coordination specialists were deployed to the Canadian Red Cross headquarters in Ottawa to support the team managing the response operation.

The American Red Cross and Canadian Red Cross have a long history of mutual disaster response support and coordination. The American Red Cross has a roster of disaster response specialists on standby, available to deploy in support of the Canadian Red Cross as needed.

The American Red Cross is also supporting the Canadian Red Cross in facilitating offers from US corporate donors to contribute to the response operation.

PHOTOS: Bangladesh Red Crescent Cyclone Mahsen Response

June 3, 2013


See entire set on Flickr >>


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