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…
NIGER: Like other countries of the Sahel, Niger is experiencing a food crisis and must cope with an influx of refugees and of its own nationals fleeing conflict in northern Mali. Last month the ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Niger completed a distribution of food for over 110,000 people. Between January and March, the ICRC had already distributed food to approximately the same number of people and agricultural seed to 60,000 people. In addition, the ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Niger have undertaken projects to help communities restore degraded soil, cut back invasive trees, and build river weirs or deepen natural ponds.
GAMBIA: Also in the Sahel region, Gambia is suffering severe food shortages as well. Tens of thousands of Gambian families are now without food and income for the first time in 15 years, forcing them to sell assets and livestock or survive on charity and foraging. The Gambian Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal asking for international assistance in dealing with the situation, and in particular plans to address malnutrition for children and addressing long-term food stability by distribution of seed and fertilizer.
YEMEN: In recent days fierce fighting has led to a severe deterioration of the humanitarian situation in southern Yemen, and hampered the ability of the ICRC to deliver urgently needed assistance. The ICRC is calling on all parties involved in the fighting to grant immediate access and security guarantees, so that it can deliver much-needed assistance and prevent a humanitarian crisis.
COLUMBIA: In a rural area of Columbia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia People’s Army have released French journalist Roméo Langlois to a team made up of delegates from the ICRC. Mr. Langlois had been held since April 28th when, while covering a counter-drug operation being conducted by the Colombian army, he got caught in the middle of clashes between the parties to the conflict. The armed group asked the ICRC directly to participate in the handover operation as a neutral intermediary.
Volunteers from the Niger Red Cross help the population and distribute food. (ICRC)