9 August 2011
As violence in Syria escalates, the Red Cross is appealing for funds to provide vital ongoing medical support for the affected population.
First aid volunteers from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been providing first aid, as well as evacuating and transporting injured people for medical care, over the last four months of unrest. The volunteers work under difficult circumstances, at times risking their own safety to help those affected by the crisis.
Barry Armstrong, British Red Cross disaster response manager, said: “Thanks to the people who’ve donated to our appeal, we’ve already given £170,000 to the Syrian Red Crescent, who are being supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, so they could buy vital supplies, including food and four new ambulances. But there is still a serious lack of resources to cope with the number of people needing help and funds are needed to buy a further eight ambulances.”
Vital supplies for Syria
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent, with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is liaising with Syria's health ministry to deliver medical supplies to hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the country. This includes essential supplies such as first aid kits, stretchers and dressing kits.
Many young people are approaching the Syrian Arab Red Crescent wanting to become first aid volunteers. For example the organisation’s branch in Homs, which is the capital of the central region of Syria, has already provided basic first aid training to 80 new volunteers and a schedule for advanced training is now in place. Many more people are also lining up to be trained.
In addition to medical support, the organisation, with support from the Federation, is currently preparing 3,000 food parcels, which should feed a family of five for around one month and consist of:
- 5 kg white rice
- 5 kg sugar
- 1 kg black tea
- 2 kg white beans
- 2 kg butter
- 1 kg tomato paste
- 1 kg halawi (sweet)
- 5 tins of tuna.
Up to mid-July, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, with support from UN agencies, has distributed:
- 24,000 food parcels
- 6,000 kilo baby milk
- 10,000 hygiene parcels
- 4,000 mattresses and blankets, tents, jerry cans, kitchen sets.
Support in Libya and Tunisia
As unrest continues across the Arab world, the situation in Libya remains particularly volatile with frontlines shifting daily. Tunisia and Egypt have also seen a resurgence of protests in recent weeks as people become impatient at the rate and scope of change.
According to the UN, around 846,000 people have left Libya since the start of the crisis. So far, the Libyan Red Crescent, through its partnership with World Food Programme, has distributed food to 543,500 people.
A transit camp for people fleeing Libya and run by the Tunisian Red Crescent and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies at Ras Jedir was handed over to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on 18 July.
Find out more on our response to unrest in the Arab world