International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Abuja, March 23, 2017 (TNE): The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has made a global appeal of 400 million dollars to scale up humanitarian assistance in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

According to a statement from the organisation, ICRC director of operations, Dominik Stillhart made the appeal in Geneva on Wednesday.

Stillhart said that the funds would ensure five million vulnerable people received essential aid.

”Food, water, shelter and health care is required immediately.

”With our partners from the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, we are increasing our response.

”We are on the ground and delivering aid in all four countries; we witness the massive suffering. Millions of people are denied the very basics to survive,” he said.

The ICRC director added that there was still time to avert a famine in Somalia and Yemen.

He also underlined the need to directly address the root causes of the crisis.

”No amount of aid money will overcome political obstructionism and a failure to abide by the norms of warfare.

”Ultimately, in these countries, famine is a by-product; the root cause is the presence of long term, intractable conflict.

”It is the conflict that renders agricultural land unusable, that forces people to flee their homes, that destroys hospitals and other vital services.”

The ICRC’s Middle East director, Robert Mardini, said that “there was no time to waste in Yemen” with essential goods and supplies running out.

”We are doing what we can, but the needs are huge; the resilience of Yemenis is reaching a breaking point.

”Parties to the conflict in Yemen must act responsibly; more goods must be allowed into and across the country.

”Civilians and civilian infrastructure should not be targeted; humanitarian access cannot be a bargaining chip. To prevent famine, immediate action is needed.”

Africa director Patricia Danzi said that decades of conflict and lack of respect for the rules of war had forced many Somalis to flee their homes time and again.

Danzi said that such had left them “extremely vulnerable”.

”The severe drought and limited access to essential services only increases the suffering; we must act now to avert further tragedy,” she added.

Earlier this month, the UN announced that more than 20 million people were facing famine in the four countries.

The Canadian Government had said it would provide 119.25 million dollars as funds in response to humanitarian crises in Northeast Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

Canada said the ICRC would receive 17.8 million dollars of the fund as part of the humanitarian partners it would work with, to provide assistance to the countries listed. (TNE)

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