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Americas: Restoring trust of vulnerable communities key to fair and inclusive recovery after two years of pandemic, says IFRC

23/03/2022 | Press release

Panama, March 23, 2022 – Migrants, host communities and indigenous populations’ trust in local authorities and decision-makers on COVID-19 related issues has dropped to a third, compared to the beginning of the pandemic. This is one of the key findings of "COVID-19 in the Americas: listening to the most vulnerable", a study carried out by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, which analysed the perceptions of COVID-19 in the most vulnerable communities. The report finds that humanitarians are the second most trusted group after scientists. It also shows that high or moderate trust in government leaders is associated with greater trust in vaccines’ safety and efficacy. Diana Medina, Manager of Community Engagement and Accountability for the IFRC in the Americas, said: ''Listening to communities, using data to design interventions adjusted to the changing contexts of the pandemic and locally led response approaches are key to strengthening confidence around vaccines and to protect people against COVID-19. If people don’t trust vaccines or can’t have access to it, vaccination rates will remain low, and this pandemic will not end. We trust that the report’s findings and recommendations will serve as a basis for redefining the strategies on the ground and the advocacy processes necessary to ensure that immunization campaigns reach the last mile'' The study also finds that despite their willingness to get vaccinated, migrants and indigenous communities face great difficulties in accessing the vaccine, such as long distances, long waiting lines or registration issues. In fact, indigenous populations expressed having received less information than the rest of the population consulted and a higher level of reluctance to adopt all the protection measures for COVID-19. Maria Franca Tallarico, IFRC Regional Manager for Health and Care for the Americas, said: ''Even though there are significant advances in controlling the spread of COVID-19, the pandemic is not over yet. Many people remain unvaccinated or with incomplete vaccination schemes. Understanding what these groups think about the virus and vaccination is essential to maintain dialogue, approach communities in a contextualized way to facilitate the implementation of healthy behaviours and habits, favour a fair and inclusive recovery and increase vaccination rates, thus reducing the risk of proliferation of new variants.'' Most interviewees said they found COVID-19 health messages useful and effective. However, it is key to consider the differences that exist within the same communities. Decision-makers and local authorities need to strengthen the dialogue with vulnerable communities to implement differentiated, contextualized and needs-based COVID-19 response strategies for specific groups such as indigenous communities, migrants and refugees. To improve the effectiveness of the information about the virus and vaccines, the IFRC encourages the use of adapted and understandable messages in native languages, using the most trusted actors as spokespersons with communities. It also suggests articulating activities with health staff and humanitarian organizations as key actors to strengthen trust and promote greater adoption of protection and vaccination measures against COVID-19. Continuing advocacy efforts to guarantee universal and prompt access to vaccines will also remain vital to overcoming the pandemic, as well as promoting the implementation of socioeconomic recovery measures that meet the needs of the most vulnerable households and groups. This study was conducted between June and October 2021 and is based on a survey of 7,743 individuals in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago. In those countries, the local Red Cross teams, which play a key role based on long-lasting relationships with communities, explored the perceptions of especially vulnerable populations, regarding four aspects: access and impact of information on COVID-19, knowledge and perception about vaccination, confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine, and the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic. Notes and additional information: Two years after the first case of COVID-19, the Americas region registers 2.7 million associated deaths, 1.7 billion doses of vaccines administered, and setbacks of nearly 30 years in the levels of extreme poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as an increase in gender inequality and child labour. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Red Cross has contributed to equitable access to vaccines and implemented COVID-19 response programs in the Americas by: risk communication through adapted and contextualized approaches to communities, as well as community mobilization and hygiene promotion activities for 52 million people; specifically, 10 million have received information about the COVID-19 vaccine the implementation of sanitation and hygiene activities involving 13 million people supporting the immunization of 3.4 million individuals providing food or other assistance to 86 million and assisting 358 thousand people with mental health services and psychosocial support. For more information or to schedule interviews with specialists on the COVID-19 situation in the Americas region, please contact theAmericas regional office in Panama: David Quijano, +57 310 559 2559, [email protected] Susana Arroyo, Jolie Paint - Matte finish paint for furniture, cabinets, floors

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23/03/2022
Americas: Restoring trust of vulnerable communities key to fair and inclusive recovery after two years of pandemic, says IFRC
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Americas: Restoring trust of vulnerable communities key to fair and inclusive recovery after two years of pandemic, says IFRC
23/03/2022
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22/03/2022 | Press release

Kuala Lumpur/Kabul/Geneva, 22 March –The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is raising grave fears for millions of Afghans and farming communities as fields remain bare of the annual spring crops. The ongoing drought means that the area planted with winter wheat is well below average. Field reports indicate that half the ground normally sown with wheat was fallow at the end of the planting window in December. Hunger is worsening in Afghanistan, with 95 per cent of the population going without enough food to eat every day, according to the United Nations. The few crops which were planted are likely to face harsh conditions, with La Nina expected to bring drier than normal conditions in the coming months, extending the severe drought into a second year. Mawlawi Mutiul Haq Khales, Afghan Red Crescent Acting President, said: “Millions of families rely on farming, but they already lost last year’s crops to the severe drought, leaving them without grain to get through the harsh winter or seeds to sow in the fields. “Without seeds in the ground, there will be no harvest in spring and summer, creating a real risk of famine across Afghanistan, where nearly 23 million people are already unable to feed themselves every day. “We need to ramp up our efforts to support these communities with relief as they brace for a second year of drought and food shortages, while working to sustain livelihoods that are so important for families and entire communities.” The drought crisis has fuelled an economic crisis in a country where agriculture is critical for people’s livelihoods and the mainstay of the economy. More than 70 percent of Afghanistan’s population live in rural areas and around 80 percent of livelihoods depend on agriculture, according to the latest IPC Afghanistan food security data. Afghan Red Crescent, supported by the IFRC, is working with farming communities to have more sustainable water sources, drought resistant crops and other income generation opportunities for women in regional parts of the country. Johanna Arvo, IFRC’s Acting Head of Delegation for Afghanistan, said: “The ravages of climate change mean risks and hardship are skyrocketing for people in Afghanistan. Millions of people have faced two severe droughts in four years, causing catastrophic crop failures and devastating food shortages. “Temperatures are rising, leading to reduced snowfall cover, snowmelt and water supplies. Rainfall is becoming more erratic, decimating agriculture in Afghanistan. “As well as providing immediate relief, we must invest much more in the future by helping Afghans to establish more sustainable water supplies and drought resistant crops, while supporting income generation for the most at risk, including women and the elderly.” As part of this ongoing support, the IFRC is urgently appealing to the international community for more than 65 million Swiss francs to support the Afghan Red Crescent to deliver health services, emergency relief and recovery assistance to more than 1 million people in the provinces hit by multiple crises. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected] Asia Pacific Office: Joe Cropp, +61 491 743 089, [email protected]

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22/03/2022
Afghanistan: Food shortages escalate as spring fields remain bare
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Afghanistan: Food shortages escalate as spring fields remain bare
22/03/2022
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“In Ukraine, the needs are growing every day,” says Red Cross President

21/03/2022 | Press release

Bucharest, 21 March 2022 - As the world’s largest humanitarian network responds to the unfolding crisis in Europe, its leadership returns from Ukraine with a warning about the coming days and weeks — and reaffirms that the Red Cross will strengthen support inside and outside its borders. Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), connected with some of the 6,000 Ukrainian Red Cross volunteers delivering aid to families experiencing the worst weeks of their lives. “The devastating reality of Ukraine is that the needs are growing every day. Amidst increased violence and a disrupted supply chain, delivering essential goods in many parts of the country is getting harder — not easier. Responding to a crisis of this magnitude takes teamwork, which is why we’re working hand-in-hand with the Ukrainian Red Cross on the ground to let people know that they’re not alone. Not ever,” states Rocca. Since the conflict began, the Ukrainian Red Cross has distributed hundreds of tons of essential goods and team members have supported the evacuation of approximately 57,000 people from Energodar, Sumy, Kviy region, Kharkiv and Kherson region. The Ukrainian Red Cross is not only providing first aid, but also teaching it to people who are taking cover in basements and shelters. No one in Ukraine is left unscathed by the ongoing conflict. An estimated 18 million people — or one-third of the population — will require humanitarian assistance. “Ukrainian Red Cross volunteers have lost homes, communities, and loved ones. Yet, they keep doing the work of delivering aid and comfort to families in need. I am humbled by their resilience and their commitment to humanitarianism in the midst of conflict.” Speaking from the Romanian border in Siret, Mr. Rocca stressed the altruistic nature of community members around Europe welcoming the more than 3 million people who have fled Ukraine. After Poland, Romania has received the second highest number of people crossing its borders in search of safety: more than 500,000 according to the UN Refugee Agency. Romanian Red Cross teams have been working 24/7 at border crossings since day one, providing items such as food, water, diapers, feminine hygiene products, warm gloves, and other necessities. The Romanian Red Cross is offering SIM cards and mobile charging stations — to help people who have been separated from their loved ones in Ukraine to reconnect. Many who have crossed the border simply ask for a cup of coffee or tea. Seemingly simple aid like this can offer families peace of mind in an otherwise hopeless moment. “We have provided more than 400 tons of aid to those affected by the conflict, but a hot drink and a warm welcome is what many of those fleeing say they appreciate most,” says Rocca. Media contacts: In Romania and Ukraine: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 797 084 367, Multi-Purpose Twine Silk Polyester Nylon Twisted Braided Rope fo In Romania: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803, [email protected] In Budapest: Kathy Mueller, +1 226 376 4013, [email protected] In Geneva: Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, +41 79 213 24 13, [email protected]

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21/03/2022
“In Ukraine, the needs are growing every day,” says Red Cross President
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“In Ukraine, the needs are growing every day,” says Red Cross President
21/03/2022
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IFRC urges countries in the Caribbean to build vaccine confidence in communities

17/03/2022 | Press release

Jamaica, 17 March 2022 - The low rate of vaccination against COVID-19 in the Caribbean must be addressed through building confidence among the population as well as responding to the inequity of vaccine access, says the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Building this confidence is a key factor in promoting universal vaccination and therefore fostering socio-economic recovery in the Caribbean, where only 40 per cent of the population counts with a complete scheme of vaccination, in comparison with 68 per cent in South America and 60 per cent in Central America. In the Americas region more than 1.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. Diana Medina, IFRC Engagement and Accountability regional manager said: ‘’Countries in the Caribbean are not just facing difficulties in their capacity to ensure that the vaccine makes it from the airport tarmac into the arms of the most vulnerable. People are avoiding getting vaccinated due to lack of confidence in the vaccine, difficulties accessing information and mistrust in certain sources. To ensure that everyone gets vaccinated it is key to strengthen community-centred dialogue, identify trust issues and address people’s doubts, concerns, and fears.’’ A combination of different factors affects the progress of the vaccination efforts: the geographic spread of the islands and poor condition of roads make it difficult to access hard-to-reach communities, leaving them unprotected and uninformed. The burden on health institutions is significant, with the undertaking of large-scale risk and awareness campaigns a challenge. In some communities there is also a lack of trust in information providers and vaccine efficiency. A new report by the IFRC on perceptions around COVID-19, carried out in nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, reveals that some vulnerable populations such as migrants, indigenous communities, and host communities face constraints in accessing vaccination services, lack trust in their local authorities or decision makers, and are reluctant to get inoculated due to fear of side effects and concerns over safety. Abdul Nasir Khan, IFRC Operations Coordinator for the Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean, added: ‘’Thanks to the Red Cross’ historical relationship with communities in the field, we have identified that people rely mostly on information from health care providers, humanitarian workers, and local leaders, however, they remain sceptical of information from official sources. It requires an imperative joint effort from all parties to deliver trusted and adapted information to communities through accessible and comprehensive risk communication, in parallel with active vaccination activities.’’ Since the onset of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, the Red Cross has supported almost 4,000 people in getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and provided communications addressing vaccine hesitancy to more than 650,000 people in the Caribbean. The personnel are assisting health authorities vaccinating people and implementing sensitization activities of risk communications adapted to communities' perceptions and contexts, through local awareness on house-to-house visits, walkabouts, public transportation and by setting information booths in public spaces. The Red Cross has also communicated key information to large cross-sections of the population through electronic billboards, television, radio, and digital videos. In 2022, local Red Cross teams will continue to work as auxiliaries to the authorities, promoting equitable access to vaccines and socio-economic recovery to the most vulnerable, implementing activities to build vaccine confidence and placing communities at the centre of its actions through locally led humanitarian support. Notes and additional Information: The Perception Survey Report on COVID-19 in the Americas will be presented at a digital event on Wednesday 23th March 2022, 10 a.m. EST/ 4 p.m. CET. To join the conversation, please register byclicking here. To Download the complete report, click here For more information or to schedule interviews with specialists on the COVID-19 situation in the Caribbean and the Americas region, please contact: Office for the Caribbean Region: Trevesa DaSilva, +1 876 818 8575, [email protected] Americas regional Office in Panama:David Quijano, +57 310 559 2559, [email protected] / Susana Arroyo, [email protected]

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17/03/2022
IFRC urges countries in the Caribbean to build vaccine confidence in communities
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IFRC urges countries in the Caribbean to build vaccine confidence in communities
17/03/2022
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Philippines: 2 million exposed to climate disasters 3 months after Typhoon Rai

16/03/2022 | Press release

Kuala Lumpur/Manila, March 16, 2022 – More than 2.4 million still need ongoing relief and are left exposed to extreme climate disasters more than three months after Super Typhoon Rai ravaged the eastern Philippines. Typhoon Rai severely affected 11 million people and smashed over two million houses in December 2021. Most affected families are still living under roofless or makeshift homes made of tarpaulins and salvaged iron sheets while others remain displaced and are forced to live with relatives and friends. Millions of people lost income and have disrupted livelihoods made more difficult due to the severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising prices of food, construction materials and other basic commodities. Philippine Red cross Chairman Richard Gordon said: “Months have passed but we are still assisting communities hit by Typhoon Rai, one of the most destructive storms in our lifetime. The help of the Red Cross doesn't stop with providing hot meals, relief items, and giving access to safe and clean water. “We will be here to help people recover every step of the way, but we need to mobilise much more support to help people rebuild safer and stronger shelters to withstand the next storm.” Red Cross volunteers are providing food packs, clean water supplies, tarpaulins, iron sheets and shelter tool kits to repair damaged homes, and other essential relief supplies. Cash grants are helping families access basic needs, kickstarting the local economy. More than 400,000 people have been supported by Red Cross since the typhoon hit. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is concerned that greater action is needed to protect millions of people at risk due to the typhoon. IFRC Philippines Head of Delegation Alberto Bocanegra said: “This is a critical time for people whose homes were torn from their foundations by typhoon Rai. The longer it takes for people to recover, the more they become susceptible and exposed to the risks of extreme weather events. “We must not let these families who are most vulnerable to climate change be reduced to statistics.” IFRC is appealing for 20 million Swiss francs to provide more than 400,000 people with immediate relief, including food supplies, restored access to clean water, and longer-term support to help families rebuild their homes and shattered livelihoods. To date, the Emergency Appeal has received 35 per cent of funds needed for the response. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected] In Manila, France Noguera, +63-998-9606-291, [email protected]

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16/03/2022
Philippines: 2 million exposed to climate disasters 3 months after Typhoon Rai
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Philippines: 2 million exposed to climate disasters 3 months after Typhoon Rai
16/03/2022
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Latest emergencies

04/02/2022

PDF | Emergency Appeal

MDRMG018ea.pdf

04/02/2022 | PDF | Emergency Appeal

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