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COVID-19: The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s Approach

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COVID-19 is directly impacting the lives of millions of people around the world. While all countries are affected and everyone is at risk, the pandemic further exacerbates the vulnerabilities (“a crisis on top of a crisis”) of people already at risk, be this due to armed conflict, violence, disaster, migration, their own health status, limited access to health care and the immunization gains of the past decade, their socio-economic situation or detention. Beyond its immediate health impacts, the crisis will have long-lasting repercussions for the most vulnerable, while also creating new vulnerabilities.

The health and socio-economic impact will have a wider effect on the needs of extremely vulnerable communities, including in relation to access to epidemic prevention measures, consistent and safe health services, safe and sanitary shelter and settlement, and population movements, and will have a knock-on effect on social care needs and on cohesion and integration across our societies.

Greater severity of food insecurity is being experienced among the already food insecure, with the rural and urban poor considered the most at risk, followed by displaced people, migrants and informal workers. Millions of people on the move, who often live in sub-standard shelters, collective accommodation, inadequate housing, informal settlements and slums, with no or limited access to services, may be invisible or deprioritized and face stigma, discrimination and hostility. Pockets of further vulnerabilities affecting people within this group (e.g. women and older people) may lead to them being disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Movement) continues to focus on containing the spread of the pandemic, while at the same time addressing the deterioration in vulnerable peoples’ livelihoods and communities’ social cohesion and, above all, protecting, assisting and advocating for the most vulnerable.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are jointly launching their revised coordinated appeals. This document grounds their separate, yet coordinated, appeals in a common narrative.

Together, the IFRC and the ICRC are appealing for CHF 3.1 billion to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impacts. These coordinated appeals build on the previous ones, jointly launched on 26 March 2020. They aim to respond to the emerging scale and scope of the current and projected impacts of the crisis.