Geneva (ICRC) – The armed conflicts and other situations of violence now in existence require a more targeted and diverse humanitarian response than those of even a few years ago, said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today on launching its annual appeal to donors in Geneva. To be able to take the kind of action required, the ICRC is asking donors for more than 1.2 billion Swiss francs* to fund its worldwide efforts in 2011.
“The proliferation of non-State armed groups, combined with the increasingly drawn-out nature of today’s conflicts, is inflicting new kinds of harm and suffering on people caught up in fighting,” said ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger. “They’re exposed to multiple risks, from suicide bombings to sexual violence, and many wind up living in a perpetual state of fear as their coping mechanisms are weakened day by day.”
The ICRC’s 2011 budget includes the initial figures of nearly 1.05 billion Swiss francs for field operations and of 183 million francs for support provided by the organization’s headquarters in Geneva. The initial field budget for 2011, at 12 per cent above the corresponding figure presented a year ago, is the highest ever. For the first time, the ICRC intends to simultaneously run four different operations at an annual cost of over 80 million francs each, and nine with annual budgets in excess of 40 million francs each.
“The size of our projected field budget is an indication of the complexity and diversity of the needs we are addressing in the emergency and early recovery phases. We have had to find new and more effective ways of dealing with them,” said Mr Kellenberger. “Not only do we need to meet acute challenges, like shortages of food, water or medicine, but we also have to focus more on addressing the indirect effects of hostilities, by ensuring for example that people have access to health care and by making counselling available for rape victims.”
For the second year in a row, Afghanistan will be the ICRC’s largest humanitarian operation in budgetary terms, with an expected expenditure of more than 89 million Swiss francs. This amount reflects the organization’s renewed commitment to meeting the acute medical needs of countless war casualties and to providing the aid required by vast numbers of people displaced within the country. Other major operations include those in Iraq, with a budget of 85.8 million francs, and in Sudan and Pakistan, which are expected to cost 82.8 million and 82.4 million francs, respectively. The ICRC’s operation in Yemen, where it is focusing its efforts on assisting tens of thousands of people displaced by fighting in various parts of the country, is set to receive the largest boost in funding, from 23.9 to 48.8 million francs. Thirty-seven per cent of the overall field budget is allocated to Africa, where the ICRC not only distributes food and household items to people suffering from armed violence and the general lack of security, but also helps people regain their self-sufficiency through agricultural initiatives.
Commenting on the ICRC’s overall priorities for 2011, Mr Kellenberger said: “Our budget is ambitious, to be sure, but it is based on a thorough analysis of needs. And it is realistic, in that we feel capable of achieving our goals. Eighty per cent of the budget will still be devoted to classic conflict situations. But we will also be addressing the needs arising from other forms of violence, from inter-communal clashes to urban violence, where the effects on the population can be equally severe.”
* 1 Swiss franc currently equals approximately 1 US dollar, or 0.76 euros.
For further information, please contact:
Nicole Engelbrecht, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17 (English, French, German)
Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 217 32 24 (Spanish)
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Cairo, tel: +201 87 42 43 44 (Arabic)