ICRC under financial pressure as humanitarian needs reach unprecedented levels
25-05-2011 News Footage Ref. V-F-CR-F-01094-B
2010 to 2011 have seen a major series of crises which have affected ever increasing numbers of people. Demand for humanitarian assistance has reached an unprecedented level at a time when long term conflicts continue unabated. The challenge for the ICRC in the year ahead, will be to meet these needs, while confronting significant financial pressure.
Geneva (ICRC) - 2010 to 2011 have seen a major series of crises which have affected ever increasing numbers of people. Demand for humanitarian assistance has reached an unprecedented level at a time when long term conflicts continue unabated, according to the ICRC's Annual Report launched in Geneva today (26th May 2011). The challenge for the ICRC in the year ahead, will be to meet these needs, while confronting significant financial pressure.
Pierre Krähenbuehl, Director of Operations at ICRC, said: “2010 was a year of major humanitarian needs worldwide. We were confronted with a combination of effects of protracted armed conflicts such as Afghanistan, Sudan, and Colombia and a series of new crises of which the one in Pakistan, with the combination of violence and floods, was a particularly dramatic one.”
In 2010, ICRC distributed food to over 4.9 million around the world. Its water, sanitation and construction activities helped some 10 million people. Medical and health related activities continued to be a fundamental feature of the ICRC’s work benefiting some 5.2 million people globally (a detailed analysis can be found in the ICRC Annual Report 2010 - http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/annual-report/index.jsp)
2011 began with two major crises: Ivory Coast and Libya as well as a range of other countries experiencing civil unrest and uprisings. Pierre Krähenbuehl said: “We had to rapidly deploy new staff, additional means and resources to respond to situations essentially from scratch, in addition to all the other commitments that we made for 2011 in many of the protracted situations of armed conflict around the world.”
This high demand for humanitarian assistance comes at a time when the international donor community is under extreme economic pressure.
Pierre Krähenbuehl stated: “We anticipate all together lower levels of funding for international humanitarian organisations such as the ICRC. It's going to be a big challenge to secure the needed funding but we will make every effort in order to maintain our response in the many countries where we operate.”
There will be a press conference in Geneva at 1300 GMT – 1500 CET 26th May.
In July 2010, the worst floods in Pakistan history affected at least 18 million people. The floods swept away entire swathes of agricultural land and displaced tens of thousands of people. The ICRC was able to immediately take action as it was already carrying out humanitarian work in the region in connection with the ongoing armed violence. The ICRC hired a fleet of 300 local trucks, and as conditions improved began loading 40-50 trucks each day with life-saving items and food rations and sending them out into the flood-affected areas.
In November 2010, after the initial emergency response, the ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society distributed wheat seed, fertilizer and tools to 30,000 families. In total, in 2010, the ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society helped 1.4 million people affected by the floods.
Côte d'Ivoire refugees in Liberia
After elections in November 2010, violence erupted in Côte d'Ivoire. As the fighting escalated, more than 50,000 people fled to neighbouring Liberia by early March. In the border town of Buutuo, the population tripled. The ICRC, along with the Liberian Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, provided clean water to more than 10,000 refugees and their host communities.
During the exodus, many families were separated. In the chaos, children fled in different directions or got lost. The ICRC and Liberian Red Cross volunteers helped families find each other. In one week, they helped 17 children restore contact with their parents. The Red Cross delivered messages from the refugees to their loved ones back home and helped those living in host families and camps make free phone calls to Côte d'Ivoire.
As the fighting continues in Libya, abandoned weapons of war are a major danger to civilians. Unexploded ordnance, rockets, shells and mortars surround people's homes and many families are too afraid to return. In some cases, there are even unexploded shells lying inside people's homes.
ICRC experts began munition clearance in Ajdabiya in April 2011 as part of a sustained effort to reduce the weapon contamination hazard to the civilian population.
Various, Pakistan August 2010 (REF CRF 01066A)
0:00 Buffalos in still flooded Naivella village, Dera Ismail Khan district
0:04 Boat carrying people, goods and a motorbike on River Kabul, Nowshera village
0:09 Destroyed houses by River Kabul
0:13 Man searching for belongings where he used to live (Naivella village, Dera Ismail Khan
0:17 ICRC logistics centre in Peshawar - Bags of flour
Various, Pakistan September 2010 (REF CRF 01075A)
0:31 ICRC convoy arriving in Kamala and unloads farming tools and bags of fertilizer and seeds
0:45 Old people sat on ground waiting to be called
0:48 Man carries ICRC bag to car
Karnplay, New Yourpea NE Liberia, March, 2011 (REF CRF 01085 A)
01:01Trucks unloading refugees at Karnplay transit camp NE Liberia
01:08 Young girl with bowl on head waiting for water
01:13 Various of women at water point
01:27 CU address book
01:32 ICRC tracing officer on phone - hands to woman
01:43 Various of woman talking to her father on phone and smiling (they had lost contact)
Ajdabiya, Libya, May 2011 (REF CRF 01091 B)
01:49 Abandoned and partially destroyed armoured vehicle on the side of the road between Ajdabiya and Benghazi, at about 20 km from the latter city (wide view)
01:53 Inner view from a kitchen in a house in Ajdabiya, with a large hole in one of the walls
01:58 Unexploded rocket on the kitchen floor.
02:03 Two members of ICRC EOD (Explosive Ordinances Disposal) Team clear this house by cautiously removing the rocket. They transport it towards the back of an ICRC truck (wide view)
02:09 Sandbag-filled boot of ICRC truck - where rocket is placed for transport
01:01:23:19 EOD Team reach the back of the truck and close the boot
ICRC HQ, Geneva, Switzerland, May 2011 (REF CRF 01094 A)
02:24 Exterior of ICRC HQ
02:29 ICRC flag
02:34 pan from crescent and cross canvases to HQ building
02:41 SOUNDBITE ONE: Pierre Kraehenbuehl, Director of Operations, ICRC, IN ENGLISH
2010 was a year of major humanitarian needs worldwide. We were confronted with a combination of effects resulting from protracted armed conflicts such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Congo and Colombia and the emergence of a series of new crises of which the one in Pakistan, with the combination of violence and floods, was a particularly dramatic one.
03:04 SOUNDBITE TWO: Pierre Kraehenbuehl, Director of Operations, ICRC, IN ENGLISH
2011 began with two new major crises – Ivory Coast and Libya. The ICRC had to address unforeseen humanitarian needs in both contexts, in addition to a range
of other countries that experienced civil unrest and uprising. So we had to rapidly deploy new staff, additional means and resources to respond to situations essentially from scratch, in addition to all the other commitments that we made for 2011 in many of the protracted situations of armed conflict around the world.
03:36 SOUNDBITE THREE: Pierre Kraehenbuehl, Director of Operations, ICRC, IN ENGLISH
2011 is a year in which we note a series of pressures on the international
donor community - those countries that have traditionally backed humanitarian
activities worldwide - as a result of the international financial crisis. Therefore we
anticipate all together lower levels of funding for international humanitarian
organisations such as the ICRC. It's going to be a big challenge to secure the needed funding but we will make ever effort in that direction in order to maintain our response in the many countries where we operate.
For further information, please contact:
Carla Haddad, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2405 or + 41 79 217 3226
Marçal Izard ICRC Geneva, T + 41 22 730 2458 or + 41 79 217 32 24
For video queries contact:
Jan Powell ICRC, Geneva, T: + 41 79 2519314 or mail
Nicola Fell ICRC, London T: +44 7930 333904