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Photo: Uganda Red Cross Society

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeals for 3.1 billion Swiss francs (3.19 billion US dollars) to curb COVID-19’s spread and assist world’s most vulnerable amid the pandemic

Geneva, 28 May 2020 –-The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is appealing for 3.1 billion Swiss francs (3.19 billion US dollars) to urgently scale up its global response to curb COVID-19’s rapid spread and assist the world’s most vulnerable people amid the pandemic.

This coordinated appeal builds on the previous one launched on 26 March 2020 and aims to increase life-saving services and support to address both the immediate impacts of the pandemic and its long-lasting social and economic repercussions.

Five months since it began, the pandemic has threatened every aspect of peoples’ lives, amplifying inequalities, destabilizing communities and reversing development gains made in the past decade.

Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General said: “In fragile humanitarian contexts, the COVID-19 pandemic is creating new vulnerabilities for people who are already most at risk. We now face a crisis on top of a crisis with worsening poverty and food insecurity alongside crippling economic conditions and a lack of public health services, safe water, sanitation and hygiene.”

“National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ local volunteers and staff are delivering life-saving services and equipment to contain the spread of the pandemic and address the deterioration in vulnerable peoples’ livelihoods and socio-economic situations. Protecting and supporting these communities requires a sustained and coordinated scale-up of Red Cross and Red Crescent local action alongside ongoing global response efforts.”

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement consists of three parts: the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Robert Mardini, ICRC’s Director-General, said: “This pandemic is creating crisis-level needs that will endure long into the future, whether for mental health support, conflict zone medical aid or livelihood assistance. The ICRC is working hand in hand with the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, at the intersection of the pandemic, armed conflict and violence to ensure that we assist both now and beyond the pandemic’s immediate effects to help families in the long-run.”

  • The IFRC is appealing for 1.9 billion Swiss francs (1.95 billion US dollars) to support National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in providing health care, water and sanitation, and mitigation against the socio-economic impacts for the most vulnerable people. The funds will also strengthen National Societies’ capacities as key local actors to deliver these critical services and programmes and ensure their volunteers/staff are protected and supported during this crisis. Out of the 1.9 billion Swiss francs, 450 million Swiss francs will be raised through the IFRC Secretariat in support of National Societies.
  • The ICRC is appealing for 1.2 billion Swiss francs ($1.24 billion US dollars) to respond in places of conflict and violence, to support medical facilities and places of detention, curb the spread among and ensure medical access for displaced people and detainees, and to support National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in their response. This includes 366 million Swiss francs to support its critical and immediate response to COVID-19, and 828 million Swiss francs to support activities to address the broader impact of the pandemic. The ICRC seeks to address the most pressing needs, including ensuring access to clean water and sanitary living conditions; supporting the safe and dignified management of human remains; and enabling communities at risk to have access to life-saving services and information.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Movement has supported National Societies to increase their health care services, community engagement and pandemic preparedness activities for vulnerable populations. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies across the world have scaled up their response to address the different health and socio-economic needs in their countries. Frontline volunteers are also helping to trace contacts, isolate and treat people with COVID-19.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the world’s largest humanitarian network. Its community-based volunteers and staff help the world’s most vulnerable people, including those living in countries with under-resourced health and social welfare systems; people recovering from recent disasters; migrants and displaced people; those in conflict zones and who face ongoing violence; people in urban slums; detainees; and people suffering from the socio-economic impact of COVID-19.

Photo: IFRC

COVID-19: Red Cross experts available for media interviews–Updated List

Geneva, Beirut, Budapest, Kuala Lumpur, Panama, 6 May, 2020 –Red Cross Red Crescent experts are available to discuss our COVID-19 response efforts and the impact of the crisis across the globe.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent has scaled up its COVID-19 response across every region to prevent transmission of the virus, help communities already affected by the outbreak to maintain access to basic social services, and reduce the economic, social and psychological impact on people.

Available experts and languages spoken include:


  • Pascale Meige, Director of Disasters & Crisis (English, French)
  • Dr Emanuele Capobianco, Head of Health & Care (English, Italian, Portuguese)
  • Gwendolen Eamer, Health Emergencies Officer (English, French)

 Africa Regional Office:

  • Dr Adeiza Ben Adinoyi, Head, Health and Care, (English, French)
  • Jamie LeSueur, Regional Head of Emergency Operations (English, French)

Americas Regional Office:

  • Walter Cotte, Regional Director (English and Spanish)
  • Maria Tallarico, Head of the Regional Health (English, Spanish)
  • Jono Anzalone, Head of the Disaster and Crisis Response (English, Spanish)

Asia Pacific Regional Office:

  • Dr Abishek Rimal, Emergency Health Coordinator (English, Hindi, Nepali)
  • John Fleming, Head of Asia Pacific Regional Health Unit (English, Spanish)
  • Ezekiel Simperingham, Asia Pacific Migration and Displacement Coordinator (English)
  • Viviane Fluck, Regional Coordinator, Community Engagement and Accountability (English, German)

Europe Regional Office: 

  • Elkhan Rahimov, Regional Director a.i. (English, Russian, Azerbaijani and Turkish)
  • Seija Tyrninoksa, Deputy Regional Director a.i. (Finnish, English)
  • Dr Davron Mukhamadiev, Regional Health and Care Coordinator (English, Russian, Farsi)
  • Birthe Lundgaard Solevad, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Delegate (English, Danish)

Middle East & North Africa Regional Office: 

Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, Regional Director (English, Arabic)

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In pictures: Preventing the spread of anthrax among Maasai communities in Kenya

Written by: Martha Awino, Kenya Red Cross  

Kenya Red Cross has been ramping up to help communities stay protected against an anthrax outbreak that has long been spreading among pastoralist communities in Kenya. Because of the stigma and lack of reporting at community level, most cases go undetected, putting many more at risk.

But this is beginning to change. For the first time ever, more cases are being brought forward to authorities and responded to, through Kenya Red Cross’ work to build community-based surveillance. In addition, more than 24,600 targeted vaccinations of livestock have taken place to protect against anthrax due to these reports.

Why is anthrax cases found in Maasai communities?

For the Maasai people in Kenya, cows are an intrinsic part of their culture and daily life. Cattle are not simply an income source, but a way of life – they are a symbol of wealth, pride and prosperity. However, this close connection with livestock can also put them at risk of zoonotic diseases, particularly anthrax which has been a recurrent outbreak in Kenya for decades. 

Cultural practices among the communities often expose them to the diseases, such as cutting open an animal who has died of a disease, locally diagnose the cause of the animals’ death. Occasionally if the diagnosis by the community does not seemingly look bad, they end up eating the carcass further risking the community members especially if they miss the correct diagnoses.


“One health”: Our collective response

Kenya Red Cross with the support of IFRC and USAID, has been ramping up epidemic and pandemic preparedness to strengthen communities’ resilience – including the Maasai – during and after the epidemics. Focusing in Bomet, Narok, Tharaka-Nithi and West Pokot, Kenya Red Cross is working with governments (Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries), communities, schools, volunteers, local responders and humanitarian partners to collectively prepare for and respond to epidemics.

Because more cases have been reported, it has also meant a stronger collective response from communities, volunteers, health professionals and veterinarians. Instead of the Maasai and other pastoralist communities eating animals that have been infected by anthrax, they are now calling authorities and disposing of carcasses properly. They are also ensuring their animals are properly vaccinated. Communities are taking up better hygiene practices, including washing hands and properly cooking meat before consumption.


Empowering students in Maasai communities to end Anthrax

Naisanta Loso, 13, is a student in Nkoilale Primary School in Narok County, Kenya and a part of a school club, supported by the Red Cross. This club empowers students to become “champions” in preventing, detecting and responding to disease outbreaks.

At the end of 2019 alone, anthrax killed two people in her community, countless livestock and caused many others to get sick. 26 cases of Anthrax have been brought forward and rapidly responded to thanks to students like Naisanta who helped their community dispose of Anthrax-infected cows before people could get sick.

According to Naisanta Loso, when cattle die, the Maasai herders open the dead carcass and traditionally diagnose the cause of the animal’s death. In the process, the community becomes contaminated with the disease.


Peter Korir, Naisanta’s teacher, helped Naisanta report a case in her community. Together with Naisanta, a veterinary officer was called and the cow was buried. As a key player in community health education, Korir is instrumental in designing and providing community and epidemic and pandemic preparedness through a health club at the school.

Changing cultural behaviour can get challenging, however, with interactive learning, teachers can make their learning fun, engaging and attractive. During the health club session, Mr. Korir passes key messages about the infectious disease through an interactive storytelling approach. The students learn through traditional songs, poems and skits. 

“I encourage my students to report any case of anthrax.  Prompt reporting of suspected cases may potentially reduce the contaminated of the affected community,” said Mr. Korir.   


It is during these interactive sessions that Naisanta has learned more about anthrax and how to prevent it. She has transferred this knowledge on to her family and community members.

“My community value cows. It was not easy to convince the community to dispose of a dead cow suspected to have died of Anthrax,” Naisanta said.

“Today, my community ensures cows suspected to have died of anthrax are buried to prevent further infections.” 

Truly, as the African proverb says if you educate a woman, you educate a nation. Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world.

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