Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia

  • A Pakistani Red Cross woman ready to help another woman holding a baby

The Challenge

Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia face disasters of all types, ranging from earthquakes and floods to droughts and conflicts. Additionally, in many countries, infectious diseases present significant public health challenges. Though measles deaths have declined significantly, continued work is required to keep the disease at bay. HIV and AIDS is a growing concern, with the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region having the world’s fastest growing HIV and AIDS epidemic.1

Disaster Response and Recovery

The American Red Cross plays an important role in responding to these challenges. By working with our humanitarian partners, we train and mobilize Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers to deliver lifesaving services in their communities. Our programs focus on responding to disasters and building safer communities. During times of disaster the American Red Cross works with our Red Cross and Red Crescent partners to provide relief when a disaster hits and support recovery activities to help communities get back on their feet.

We meet the needs of disaster survivors by providing technical support, relief supplies and financial assistance to bolster operations led by Red Cross and Red Crescent partners. To respond quickly, we pre-position relief supplies in global warehouses, including one in Dubai, United Arab Emirates to serve this region. In recent years, we have responded to disasters ranging from floods in Pakistan to an earthquake in Turkey.

Reconnecting Families

In times of crisis, families can become separated from each other, and many turn to the Red Cross for help. Caseworkers at the American Red Cross work diligently to locate missing family members by communicating with Red Cross and Red Crescent partners in Iraq and, in the case of ongoing searches for Holocaust survivors, throughout Eastern Europe.

Disaster Preparedness

We help prepare communities for disasters – by building the skills of first responders and teaching residents to take action in the face of impending danger.

The Measles & Rubella Initiative

The Measles & Rubella Initiative – a partnership between the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization – works to reduce measles deaths globally by providing financial and technical assistance to governments and communities for vaccination campaigns worldwide.

For any campaign to be successful, the community must participate. The American Red Cross provides financial support and training to Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in Africa on community education and mobilization. This training prepares volunteers to go house-to-house to educate families about the importance of getting vaccinated and where they can access immunization services. Volunteers then ensure that all children – even those in the most remote villages – are vaccinated during campaign week.

Since the Initiative began in 2001, it has helped vaccinate 1 billion children in more than 80 countries. In 2013, American Red Cross support will contribute to millions of children being immunized in more than 30 countries through the Initiative.

HIV Prevention and Care

American Red Cross HIV programs aim to prevent the spread of HIV and mitigate its devastating impact to communities. We are strengthening our partners’ capacity to mobilize communities and volunteers so they can provide counseling, peer support and home-based care. Since 2003, the American Red Cross has worked with the Russian Red Cross to improve the quality of life for people living with HIV and educate communities about how to prevent the spread of the disease. The program’s success has encouraged the American Red Cross to expand activities into new countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, including Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, with the goal of helping 214,000 people.

Where We Help in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia

1. 2009 AIDS Epidemic Update, UNAIDS/WHO, 2009.