Safety & Security
This page brings together the most relevant information on aid worker safety and security from ReliefWeb's extensive collection of humanitarian content. The two main columns show substantive reports such as safety manuals and guidelines, statistical reports on security incidents involving aid workers, and analysis of the implications of engaging with private security providers and the role of peacekeepers in humanitarian interventions.
All Updates on Safety & Security
Sick and wounded people in the city of Taiz are facing a terrible reality – that their trip to hospital might kill them.
The few hospitals still open in the conflict-hit city are treating many injured people. But the streets are being hit by shells so travelling to hospital is dangerous. And it’s not just the patients who are suffering – medical workers are coming under attack.
Doctors and nurses were forced to leave a hospital in South Sudan after it was caught in the crossfire during heavy fighting.
Two people were killed and 11 others were injured in the attack on 5 July.
The hospital, in Upper Nile State, is being supported by medics from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The withdrawal of medical staff meant a further 11 patients died at the hospital in Kodok.
Konrad Bark, an ICRC aid worker, describes the tragic scene after the attack.
People are in “dire need” of help after recent fighting in South Sudan, the Red Cross has warned.
Some 100,000 people were forced to flee the northern town of Leer in the last week due to a rise in violence.
Residents have begun to return home, but have little or no food, and are in urgent need of medical care. Several houses have been burnt to the ground.
The violence forced the Red Cross to suspend relief work and withdraw some staff from Leer, in Unity State. It is now the first humanitarian organisation to return to the town.
British Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal in response to the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working to bring two cargo planes with over 48 tonnes of aid to Yemen. Relief will include sufficient medical supplies to treat up to 1500 wounded patients, plus tents, pipes and generators to help fix water systems.
The British Red Cross is contributing £100,000 towards alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic (CAR).
CAR has descended into turmoil as armed factions carry out coordinated attacks against each other and civilians.
Rebel forces ousted the president in March and violence erupted last week following months of tension between Muslims and Christians.
An estimated 533,000 people have been forced to leave their homes due to the conflict while more than 450 people were killed during three days of fighting between 5 and 7 December.
On World Humanitarian Day, the British Red Cross is calling for respect for – and protection of – humanitarian workers in Syria, including volunteers. To date, more than 20 Syrian Arab Red Crescent workers have been killed during the conflict – many in the course of their duty.
The Red Cross asks everyone involved in the conflict to respect the relevant rules of international humanitarian law, the distinctive Red cross and Red crescent emblems, and the humanitarian mission of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Volunteering with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent is a commitment. Shifts are long, and the work is hard and dangerous. Most of the Red Crescent’s first aid volunteers are in their 20s, and many are juggling university studies along with their duties.
Volunteers are trained by the Red Crescent for a year before they are qualified to join a first aid unit. Despite the conflict, the Red Crescent has been able to continue recruiting and training first aid and psychosocial support volunteers.
This is a guest post by the British Red Cross programme manager for the Middle East and north Africa, who recently visited the Syrian Arab Red Crescent headquarters in Syria.
We arrived in Syria from Beirut in the late afternoon and got to Damascus as dusk was falling. On the Lebanese side of the border, we could see many people leaving Syria.
Over the road, at the office processing entrances to Syria, it was another story. The waiting room in the border office was desolate, with a few – mainly male – travellers getting their documentation approved to go back.
Using examples provided by the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC), this case study demonstrates how crucial the application of the Fundamental Principles, in tandem with uniform strategies based on the Safer Access Framework, has been in making it safer for the LRC to provide emergency medical services throughout Lebanon – in circumstances complicated by armed conflict, internal disturbances and other emergencies, and by the existence of groups with a broad range of religious affiliations.
Back in August, I wrote about the dangers faced by Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers as they work to provide a lifeline for anyone in Syria caught up in the conflict.
Since then, another Red Crescent member has died while on duty.
As the danger in Syria increases – and people’s needs become even greater – it is more important than ever that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers are able to carry out their neutral, impartial and independent work to help vulnerable people.
Aid without any discrimination
The ongoing hostilities between Gaza and Israel have left dozens of people dead and hundreds wounded. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is giving impartial support to people on both sides of the border.
For further information
Rebecca Lefort (+44 207 877 7548) / RLefort@redcross.org.uk
Out of office hours pager: 07659 145095
Humanitarian workers have come under fire while providing life-saving care in Syria, says the British Red Cross.
Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers are risking their own lives to provide a lifeline for anyone in Syria caught up in the conflict. These volunteers are ordinary Syrians giving up their time, sometimes their jobs, for no pay, to help others.
Five volunteers or staff have already been killed, and several ambulances have been shot at or stolen.
So why do they do it?
The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are the only major agencies able to work across frontlines in Syria.
Last month, we sent experienced delegate Alasdair Gordon-Gibson to work for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Damascus. Now back in the UK, Alasdair writes about his experiences.
Since fighting began in Syria last year, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and its volunteers have been at the forefront of the humanitarian response, bringing first aid to casualties and assistance to families displaced from their homes.
Increasing attacks on health care buildings, facilities and personnel are making it harder for vulnerable people to get the care they need.
The International Committee of the Red Cross estimates that over 650 such attacks took place between mid-2008 and late 2010 in 16 nations it examined. In total, 1,834 people were killed or injured in these attacks.
As the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, it becomes increasingly difficult and dangerous for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in the region to carry out their lifesaving work.
By Ellie Matthews
In East Africa, continued difficulties accessing food – coupled with recent flooding and conflict in the region – have made life hard for many people. While working with communities in East Africa to improve their long-term resilience to food insecurity, the Red Cross is also providing immediate relief to thousands of vulnerable people in refugee camps.
As unrest in Syria continues, the Red Cross’ neutrality enables the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Syrian Arab Red Crescent to continue assisting people affected by the violence, despite difficult and dangerous conditions.
So far, more than 8,000 ICRC food parcels and over 800 ICRC hygiene kits have been distributed – enough to cover the needs of nearly 48,000 people. Moreover, the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have together started distributing 30,000 school kits to the neediest children affected by the unrest in several places.
Over the past week, intensified fighting has resulted in a rapid deterioration in the humanitarian situation in Libya. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has expressed deep concern about allegations of combatants misusing healthcare facilities. Georges Comninos, head of the ICRC delegation in Tripoli, said: "We are hearing about hospitals being attacked or used for military purposes. On Tuesday, in Brega, our delegates saw several ambulances hit by bullets.
For further information please contact
telephone: +44(0)207 877 7463 / mobile: 07921 493560/ email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Clothes, shoes, books and household goods now desperately needed at Red Cross shops across the country
- Drop donations at your local British Red Cross shop to help DEC appeal
A British Red Cross van was ambushed yesterday in south-east London (Monday 25 January) on its way to collect goods donated to the Red Cross.