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ICRC presents ambitious yet realistic budget to meet growing needs in 2014

05-12-2013 News Release

While millions of people in Syria, Mali, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo struggle to cope with the devastating consequences of armed conflict, millions more are quietly experiencing a similar fate in lesser-known places such as the Central African Republic. All need help. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which works in more than 80 countries all over the world, is asking its donors for 1.29 billion Swiss francs (1.05 billion euros, or 1.33 billion US dollars) to cover its activities in 2014.

"Armed conflict and other situations of violence are affecting the lives and dignity of countless men, women and children. Our ambition is to reach them and provide a wide range of services – from emergency relief to support for recovery efforts and for their own capacity to cope with humanitarian crises. We are also aiming to widen our access to particularly vulnerable people such as detainees," said ICRC President Peter Maurer, speaking at a press conference in Geneva on the occasion of the launch of the organization's emergency appeals. "The budget for 2014 is a realistic estimate of the resources required to maintain an array of quality services, tailored to the needs in each situation, while taking due account of the difficult security environment in some key contexts." The ICRC's budget includes the initial figures of 1,104.4 million Swiss francs for field operations and of 191.7 million francs for support provided by the organization's headquarters in Geneva.

In 2014, the ICRC's largest operations in terms of expenditure will be in Syria – one of the severest and bloodiest crises to erupt in a long time, for which the budget will amount to more than 105 million Swiss francs, or 10 per cent of the organization's total annual outlay – and Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Iraq, Mali, Israel and the occupied territories, Sudan and Colombia. In the Philippines, relief activities in the areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan will be stepped up.

While some conflicts and other situations of violence receive widespread attention, others are almost forgotten by the media and the international community, despite the seriousness of the humanitarian situation. Every day, civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence in countries experiencing long-term conflict and instability, such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen, to name but a few.

The ICRC will focus on helping the wounded and the sick, the disabled, the displaced (IDPs), migrants, detainees and others. It will also continue to address the physical and psychological needs of victims of rape and other sexual violence.

"We are determined to bring aid to the people who need it most, wherever they may be. Reaching victims on all sides of an armed conflict or other violent situation to provide impartial aid requires acceptance and trust, which we have to keep working for," said Mr Maurer. He also pointed out that the ICRC often brings aid to people in remote areas where no other organization is able to go, for example in parts of the Central African Republic, Somalia and South Sudan, and in northern Nigeria.

"It is particularly important that we further strengthen our partnership with national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world. By working together with their network of experienced volunteers, we will better understand the situation on the ground and the needs of the people we are seeking to help, and enhance our ability to address humanitarian needs – in particular when they are unexpected or in very secluded places," he said.

The ICRC will continue to mobilize other organizations and expand contacts with groups of influence in order to spread knowledge of the basic principles of humanitarian law and enhance the likelihood that security and timely, unimpeded access will be granted to aid workers in the field.

Striking the right balance between helping people in need and making sure that humanitarian workers stay safe remains a key priority for the organization. "In Syria alone, 32 Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers have been killed while carrying out their humanitarian duties since the beginning of hostilities," said Mr Maurer. "Aid workers should never be targeted."

In many places, medical personnel, hospitals and even ambulances are frequently targeted by armed groups, and violence often prevents access to health care. Making health care delivery safer in armed conflicts and other emergencies will remain a priority in 2014. The ICRC will also further step up its support for comprehensive hospital care, health care in places of detention and physical rehabilitation services.

In addition to working in conflict areas, the ICRC will continue to bring aid to people suffering the effects of other situations of violence, including situations of State repression, intercommunal violence and armed violence in urban settings. "It is not unusual for people in these situations to have to endure arbitrary detention, disappearances, torture and other forms of ill-treatment, sexual violence and other torments," said Mr Maurer.

For further information, please contact:
Alexis Heeb, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 37 72 or +41 79 218 76 10; Twitter @AHeebICRC
Sebastien Carliez, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 28 81 or +41 79 536 92 37
Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18