Red Cross earmarks $138m for displaced persons in Lake Chad Region

Red Cross earmarks $138m for displaced persons in Lake Chad Region

Monday, October 17, 2016 3:10 pm

(File photo) people displaced by Boko Haram insurgency in North East Nigeria

(File photo) people displaced by Boko Haram insurgency in North East Nigeria

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has budgeted 136 million Swiss francs (about 138 million dollars) for humanitarian services in the Lake Chad Region in 2016.

ICRC President, Mr Peter Maurer, made disclosure in a statement issued by ICRC Media Unit, Abuja Office made available to newsmen on Monday.

He said that the organisation conducted `substantial humanitarian activities’ throughout the region in the year.

He added that the organisation had delivered food to hundreds of thousands of displaced people around the region.

“Over the first half of this year, the organisation delivered food to over 500,000 displaced people.

“Its overall budget allocated to the region in 2016 amounts to 136 million Swiss francs,” he said.

The president called on the international community to urgently address “the vast human tragedy” around the world, especially in the region.

He called for more sustained and long-term international efforts to address the massive needs in the four countries affected by violence in the Lake Chad area.

Maurer expressed concern at the deplorable condition of no fewer than 30,000 displaced people in Garin Wanzam village in Diffa Region in Niger, which he visited recently.

He said that the displaced persons, who were dependent on humanitarian aids, were still fearful of returning home.

“The village of Garin Wanzam is just one example of the vast human tragedy playing out across the entire Lake Chad region, where some 2.6 million people have been driven from their homes.

“Over six million people are caught up in a daily struggle to put food on the table,” Maurer said.

He called on all parties involved in the regional conflict to protect and respect civilians, detainees and the wounded, based on their obligations under International Humanitarian Law. IAA/COF/AEA

Meanwhile,  ICRC has also said  40 per cent of its 1.6 billion dollars humanitarian field operation budget is spent in Africa yearly.

The National President of ICRC, Mr Peter Maurer, made the disclosure at a news conference on Sunday in Lagos.

According to him, Middle East and Africa constitute the main focus of the society, with Nigeria having the largest amount from its African operations.

“This year alone, we assisted almost 900,000 people with food rations and 300,000 patients received care in clinics that we support across Adamawa and Borno states in the North East, Middle Belt and Niger Delta states.’’

He said that globally, it was estimated that more than 1.5 billion people live in an environment of continuous fragility, violence and conflict, with 120 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

“This leads to skyrocketing costs; the cumulative international humanitarian response has surpassed 15 billion dollars annually.

“Besides, the cost of global conflict is estimated at around 10 to 15 trillion dollars per year or 10 per cent of the world’s GDP,” Maurer said.

He urged humanitarian societies to increase assistance and raise more funds through innovative partnerships and products to assist fragile environments.

“In line with this development, the ICRC’s budget has grown by roughly 50 per cent over the past five years.

“We need states and the private sector to engage more forcefully to support efforts of humanitarian and development agencies in particular frontline deliverers — we need modern philanthropy.

“Humanitarian aid was once conceived as emergency operations in short-term crises but that is no longer the case.’’

Maurer said that humanitarian needs in some countries were too big for a single entity, government, company or humanitarian organisation.

He said that partnerships in the area of skills, investments, experience and knowledge were assets that were required to strengthen humanitarian operations globally. (NAN)

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