(Note: The name of the ‘Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up’ has slightly changed, however the content will be presented in the same style you have come to expect)
Welcome to the Weekly Worldwide 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…
BURKINA FASO: The Burkinabé Red Cross, with support from the ICRC, has provided emergency aid for over 18,000 people at five refugee centers in Burkina Faso. The refugees are escaping violence in Mali, and were given blankets, tarpaulins, kitchen items, soap and buckets. Burkina Faso is also currently facing a food crisis to a lack of rainfall and a poor harvest. In February, the Burkinabé Red Cross worked with the IFRC to distribute food vouchers to 5,500 people in Oudalan province. The Red Cross food vouchers enabled families to buy basic foods at local shops in their villages to meet immediate needs without having to sell off more assets.
COLOMBIA: This week the ICRC helped facilitate the release of 10 people (four soldiers and six police officers) held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP). Some of these people have been held for over 14 years. These handovers are possible thanks to confidential dialogue with all the parties with the ICRC acting as a neutral intermediary and facilitator.
FIJI: Torrential rain since March 29th has caused severe flooding for the second time this year in the western division of Fiji’s largest island of Viti Levu. Four people have died and over 8,000 people have been forced to seek safety in 91 evacuation centers following the floods. The Fiji Red Cross Society is providing support and care at the evacuation centers, and disseminating precautionary advice on maintaining good health and hygiene to safeguard against disease outbreaks.
SUDAN/ SOUTH SUDAN: Following recent clashes along the border between Sudan and South Sudan, the ICRC performed emergency surgery on nine wounded combatants in Bentiu Hospital in Unity state. An ICRC medical team based at the Malakal Teaching Hospital did the surgery, and has been in the area providing paediatric, trauma and emergency surgical care. The ICRC is also donating surgical supplies to local hospitals to help in the event of further casualties.
UNITED STATES: The president of the ICRC, Jakob Kellenberger, met with President Obama last week in Washington and held talks with senior government officials. A key topic of conversation was detention-related matters at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, in which the United States must strike a balance between security, military necessity and humanity. Ten years of intensive operational dialogue, including on humanitarian issues related to national security, have resulted in a frank relationship of trust between the ICRC and the United States.
Mohamed Ingouda, 46, from Burkina Faso, receives a second round of food vouchers from the Burkinabé Red Cross.