Welcome to the Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up, in which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It’s a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work…
CENTRAL/EASTERN EUROPE: Parts of Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Serbia, Romania and Russia have been gripped by wind, heavy snow and temperatures as low as -26°F. Over 80 people have died from hypothermia and frostbite, and the chill has caused power outages, traffic chaos and the closure of schools and nurseries. Red Cross Societies have been working around the clock to meet the basic needs of the affected people with hot meals, warm clothing and blankets.
MEXICO: Drug related violence in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez (on the US border) has put health care in danger, risking the lives of medical staff and often preventing patients from getting the treatment they need. The ICRC has been working with the Mexican Red Cross on improving safety for their volunteers and staff, developing a specific protocol to respond to emergencies by confirming that police are at the scene, the victim is alive and needs pre-hospital care.
FIJI: Severe flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains on Fiji’s largest island of Viti Levu have forced thousands from their homes to seek safety in evacuation centers. Staff and volunteers of the Fiji Red Cross Society have been responding to the immediate needs of many of those displaced and has started distributing emergency relief items to over 3,000 people in 74 evacuation centers and communities isolated by the floods.
IRAQ: The new Nasiriya physical rehabilitation center opened this week and will be capable of treating 500 patients a year, providing them with artificial limbs and rehabilitation services. The ICRC has built the center in coordination with Iraqi health authorities, and it is the second physical rehabilitation center built by ICRC water and sanitation engineers in Iraq following completion of the Falluja center in 2008. 35,000 people with a disability have benefited from ICRC-supported physical rehabilitation services in Iraq since 1993.