ICRC seeks record $1.7 billion for humanitarian work in 2015


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) appealed on Thursday for a record 1.6 billion Swiss francs ($1.66 billion) to respond to humanitarian crises next year in Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and other hotspots.

The ICRC said its most costly operation in 2015 will be Syria, where more than three years of fighting have uprooted 7.2 million people inside the country and led 3.3 million to flee abroad, mainly to neighbouring states like Lebanon and Jordan.

The ICRC expects to spend 164 million Swiss francs ($170 million) in Syria alone.
“We are witnessing new kinds of crises, in new combinations, often with a regional dimension. We are no longer simply facing traditional internal or international armed conflict,” ICRC President Peter Maurer said in a statement.
“Gaining access and proximity to ever greater numbers of people in need while coping with increasingly severe security constraints is a fundamental challenge for us.”

The ICRC, one of the world’s best known humanitarian organisations which distributes emergency aid and helps victims of conflict and violence, said Thursday’s appeal was 25 percent higher than the initial appeal it made last year.

It said one of its future priorities was to increase its response to health needs, including surgical care for the wounded and healthcare for those held in detention centres.

Another priority will be to step up its response to sexual violence in the Central African Republic, Central America, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Mali and South Sudan.

The ICRC’s 2015 budget includes initial figures of 1.38 billion Swiss francs for field operations and 194.4 million francs for the agency’s Geneva headquarters.