If we highlighted one example of the strength of the IFRC network in 2012, it would undoubtedly be the response to the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. This has been at once heart-breaking, complex and inspiring. It is heart-breaking because the situation continued to deteriorate with disastrous consequences, affecting every Syrian. As of the date of this publication, 22 staff and volunteers of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have perished. It is complex because, although the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was able to reach people in need in almost every area through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, many obstacles impeded our work and neighbouring countries faced immense pressures as hundreds of thousands of Syrians sought refuge.
It was inspirational because the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement across the globe responded so impressively to this acute humanitarian emergency. We pay tribute to all the men and women and youth in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement who supported this work. Man-made and natural emergencies in the Caribbean, Mali, Myanmar, the Philippines, the United States, and the Sahel and Southern African regions, also presented challenges. You can read more about these below in the sections titled Complex emergencies and Responding to the world’s silent disasters.