Reaching people in need

We believe that it’s essential to be on-the-ground and in close proximity to the people we help. This way we can better understand their needs and respond appropriately and efficiently. Our partnerships with national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are key to this proximity.

Staying close to the people we serve while also ensuring the safety of our staff is a serious challenge in many parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria or Somalia. Fighting and insecurity often prevent aid workers from reaching people caught up in armed conflict. In some cases, the authorities or rebel groups hinder the delivery of aid or simply refuse access to vulnerable communities. In rare but nonetheless distressing cases, we have had to face the difficult choice of suspending our vital humanitarian work because of insecurity or political barriers.

For us, ensuring that fighting parties understand that we do not take sides and are only interested in helping impartially those suffering the consequences of conflict or violence is the key for reaching the people that so desperately need help.

  • Somalia: Reaching victims in conflicts

    Olivier Humbert-Droz, who worked for the ICRC in Somalie from 2011 to 2013 talks about the importance of understanding the local context and of working alongside communities.
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  • Health care under fire

    In conversation with Francoise Duroch of Médecins sans frontières. .
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  • Interview with Hugo Slim

    Applying humanitarian principles to secure access to populations in need.

  • DR Congo: war surgery – healing the horror

    Evacuation of the war wounded in the Kivus. For some, receiving emergency medical treatment is now the stuff of miracles, due to the difficulties in gaining access to the conflict zones.
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  • Reaching people in need

    ICRC president Peter Maurer talks about the challenges that ICRC field staff face when it comes to reaching the people who need them.
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