More than 40 million vulnerable people will be helped in the coming year in the framework of the Federation's global appeal, launched on December 4 in Geneva. The appeal for 270 million Swiss francs, for the first time seeks more funding for health than for disaster response. "Our priority is the fight against HIV/AIDS which will kill more people this decade than all the wars and other disasters that have occurred over the past 50 years," said Mr. Didier J. Cherpitel, Secretary General of the International Federation.
In Africa besides a massive scaling up of the response to HIV/AIDS, country programmes include flood preparedness in Mozambique and ongoing response to the Great Lakes region refugee crisis in Burundi and Tanzania. In Europe and Central Asia, long-term disaster recovery commitment is evidenced by rehabilitation work taking place two years after the earthquake of 1999 in Turkey. A major drought relief operation is underway in Tajikistan, while poverty fuelled by years of sanctions as well as the needs of refugees and displaced will be addressed in Yugoslavia. In the Asia and Pacific region, support to the Afghan Red Crescent Society, the only indigenous nation-wide humanitarian organisation still functioning in a country ruined by war, will ensure the work of 48 health clinics, mobile health clinics and drought relief measures (a further appeal for Afghanistan is under preparation). The humanitarian crisis particularly in the health sector, continues to be addressed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Some of the most disaster-prone countries in the world are also being appealed for, including Bangladesh and Vietnam. In the Middle East and North Africa, the Palestine Red Crescent Society will focus on medical services in the occupied territories, Lebanon and Syria. Water, food and medical assistance for the most vulnerable are the programme focus in Iraq. Across Latin America, regional programmes will focus on disaster preparedness, disaster response and health , with particular emphasis on Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia.