Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up

Welcome to the Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up, in which we consolidate the major (and sometimes small, but interesting) international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you…

[The ALL CAPS place names link to maps so that you can get a quick idea of the region.]

COLOMBIA: Schools and water sanitation systems are among the infrastructure being rebuilt with the help of the ICRC to restore quality of life for victims of armed conflict.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: Where armed conflict often includes rape and other sexual violence against women, the ICRC provides medical care and counseling for survivors. (Here’s a short video about the program.)

But amidst the strife there is also hope. Thousands of people are returning to their homes after fleeing the fighting. The ICRC is providing starter kits for farmers and food to tide people over until the first harvest.

AFGHANISTAN: “I cannot sufficiently stress the unbearable levels of individual and collective suffering that Afghan men, women and children have had to endure over three decades, and that they continue to endure at levels that defy belief,” says the ICRC Director of Operations, expressing concern that civilians may bear the brunt of any intensification in the conflict.

GAZA:  ICRC says reconstruction is unlikely to succeed without the prospect of lasting peace. 

PHILIPPINES: After one and a half months, three abducted ICRC staff members have still not been released. Alain Aeschlimann, The ICRC’s head of operations for East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific, talks about his concern for the abducted staffers and their worried families.

SRI LANKA: A water safety program set up in response to the 2004 tsunami is saving lives off Sri Lanka’s perilous beaches. The Japanese Red Cross, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, and the IFRC have partnered to train and prepare scores of people – like volunteer M. A. David Chaminda, who has alone saved an amazing total of 60 lives.