Natural disasters and conflict worldwide have left many people in need in recent weeks. From the devastating effects of Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines to the ongoing recovery operations after Hurricane Sandy swept through the Caribbean, these crises have mobilized the global Red Cross network.
Malawi Food Crisis
As a result of low food production and an economic crisis, Malawi is facing a critical food shortage, affecting an estimated 1.9 million people. Heavy rains and flooding followed by a prolonged dry spell resulted in a poor harvest this fall. The food shortage is concentrated in central and southern Malawi, and is exacerbated by fuel shortages, rising food prices and rapid inflation that occurred earlier this year.
With support from the global Red Cross network, the Malawi Red Cross plans to reach 17,500 of the most vulnerable people with food packages, emergency health services, hygiene promotion and agricultural support. The American Red Cross is contributing $150,000 to support this relief effort and will continue to monitor the ongoing disaster through its Red Cross partners in the region.
Between July and October, the worst flooding Nigeria has experienced in 40 years affected 7 million people, displaced 2.1 million, and killed nearly 400. Flooding destroyed crops and damaged roads and bridges, making transportation of goods to communities extremely difficult. In some areas, food prices have increased by 30 to 70 percent, resulting in food insecurity.
In October, the American Red Cross deployed a relief/shelter specialist to join the International Federation’s Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT). The American Red Cross has also committed $100,000 to assist in relief operations, including the distribution of relief supplies, shelter assistance, hygiene promotion and water and sanitation activities.
Typhoon Bopha first made landfall on the eastern coast of Mindanao Island in the Philippines on December 4, and then hit the north of the country five days later. The storm brought rain and 136-mile-per-hour winds, destroying homes, agriculture and infrastructure.
Approximately 5.4 million people were affected by this storm. More than 350,000 people remain displaced and are being sheltered in evacuation centers, open areas or with family and friends. Since landfall, the Philippine Red Cross deployed rescue teams and has been serving meals to those in evacuation centers. After conducting initial damage assessments, they began delivering relief items and temporary shelter supplies.
The American Red Cross has committed $50,000 to support the distribution of relief supplies and continues to monitor the situation closely.
More than a year of unrest in Syria has affected an estimated 3 million people. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, wounded or killed. The overall humanitarian situation has deteriorated as violence has spread across the country and people continue to flee. More than 507,000 people have crossed Syria’s borders into neighboring countries.
The American Red Cross continues to support response efforts in the region by contributing $200,000 for relief operations in surrounding countries, which includes distribution of food and relief supplies to displaced people. The American Red Cross previously contributed $435,000 to International Federation appeals in support of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent’s relief operation in Syria.
Severe rains in Panama caused flooding and landslides affecting vulnerable communities and economic activities in two major provinces. The Panamanian Red Cross assisted with search and rescue, medical care, and damage assessments.
The American Red Cross has a longstanding relationship with the Panamanian Red Cross, which includes disaster risk reduction efforts through the multi-year Latin America Risk Reduction Activity program (LARRA). The American Red Cross provided logistical support and approximately $35,000 worth of relief supplies in the form of blankets and hygiene kits.
Tropical Storm Sandy formed in the western Caribbean on October 22, 2012. The storm affected multiple countries causing more than 80 deaths in the region, and severely damaged infrastructure and agriculture, impacting thousands of families’ livelihoods. The American Red Cross has contributed more that $600,000 to support relief operations in 3 countries in the Caribbean including Haiti where the Red Cross continues to support communities left vulnerable after the 2010 earthquake.