Posted by: africanpressorganization | 20 November 2009

New IFRC report calls for dramatic rethink on humanitarian assistance in Africa




New IFRC report calls for dramatic rethink on humanitarian assistance in Africa



NAIROBI, Kenya, November 20, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Humanitarian assistance in Africa is too reactive and costly and is failing to match the growing needs of vulnerable communities across the continent, warns a new report launched today by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The report – Hunger, Disaster, Hope: Rethinking humanitarian action in Africa – urges humanitarian organizations and governments to review how humanitarian assistance is delivered and funded, calling the current model “over reliant on reactive disaster response”.

“Over-reliance on reactive disaster response will contribute less and less to lasting solutions as aid organizations require more and more funding to meet the basic needs of more and more disaster-affected people,” it says.

Instead of focusing so much on responding after a disaster or once chronic food security has taken hold, the Report calls for “more and more money (to be) directed towards building community resilience so that vulnerable people can face, overcome and thrive in the wake of the challenges confronting them”.

“Today, only a fraction of one per cent of aid funding is directed towards tackling food crisis or disasters before they happen,” said Bekele Geleta, the secretary general of the IFRC. “This report urges governments and donors to buck this trend and to focus more on helping people help themselves by investing more on e community level development, disaster risk reduction and capacity-building.”

The Report provides real world examples of how humanitarian organizations can support communities to become more resilient in confronting the threats that they face. It highlights, for example, the remarkable success of livelihoods focused interventions in areas of Malawi and Kenya that were previously seen as chronically food insecure.

It also explores the impact of early warning systems in Mozambique where hundreds of thousands of people can now evacuate in advance of floods or storms, dramatically minimizing the impact of such events..

“There are many examples across Africa of initiatives that are building community resilience and that are, we believe, reducing the need for future emergency response operations”, said Matthias Schmale, the IFRC’s under-secretary general for development.

“But today, these examples are the exception rather than the rule. This needs to change.”

The full report is available for download at


For more information, please contact:


Matthew Cochrane, communications manager (Johannesburg)                                    Tel: + 27 83 395 52 66

Paul Conneally, manager, media and external communications (Geneva)                   Tel: +41 79 308 9809


The IFRC, the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross together constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. For further information on International Federation activities, please visit our web site:



International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)


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