For the past week, the Red Cross global network has been responding to disasters around the world. National Societies and team members from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are rolling up their sleeves to help those in need following earthquakes, a typhoon, a hurricane, population movements, mudslides and the ongoing hunger crisis in Africa. Even though the current challenges are great, the teams are committed to providing urgent and life-saving assistance.
On September 21, Fiona, a Category 3 hurricane, continued to hurtle through the Atlantic towards Bermuda. International Red Cross teams are preparing for and responding to the rapidly evolving situation in the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas and Bermuda. On the ground, team members from the British Red Cross and the Bahamas Red Cross are helping to evacuate vulnerable populations. The Red Cross has opened emergency shelters and is staying in touch with local authorities as the impact of the storm is still being assessed.
Landslides in Costa Rica
On September 18, torrential rain and downpours inundated Costa Rica, triggering deadly mudslides. A bus and two other vehicles plunged into debris from a landslide on Mount El Hundimiento in Alajuela province, killing at least 9 people. The Costa Rica Red Cross said over 30 people were rescued with some injured and taken to a nearby hospital. Search teams with sniffer dogs have been looking for possible missing passengers at the scene. When the Cañas River burst its banks, affecting hundreds of them, relief centers were set up to take in displaced families. Red Cross teams are working with local authorities to assist with evacuations and rescue efforts.
Migration in Central America
As migration increases in Central America, Red Cross teams are on the ground to provide life-saving assistance to those in need. The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) estimates that 500,000 people traveling along migratory routes in Central America and Mexico may need humanitarian assistance over the next 12 months. Red Cross teams are working to provide health care, psychosocial support, access to water and sanitation. The Red Cross also works with communities of origin, transit and host communities to address environmental, climate and livelihood issues that can trigger population movements.
A 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck on September 19 near La Placita de Morelos in western Mexico. Mexican Red Cross relief teams continue to monitor the situation and gather intelligence in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Jalisco, Michoacán, Puebla, Colima, Hidalgo, Querétaro and Mexico City. the regions affected by the earthquake. Red Cross volunteers report damaged buildings and cracks in houses, and a shaken population. The Mexican Red Cross relief teams, in close coordination with state and local authorities, continue to investigate the damage caused by the earthquake in rural and urban areas. In Mexico City, 19 ambulances and 57 paramedics remain on call to support the affected population.
Typhoon in Japan
The Japanese Red Cross responds to urgent needs after Typhoon Nanmadol. The super typhoon, which made landfall on September 18, killed at least four people and injured more than 100 others after making landfall on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. More than 12,000 people sought shelter in evacuation centers and more than 140,000 homes were still without power as of September 20. Equivalent to a Category 4 or 5 hurricane, the super typhoon brought gusts of up to 145 miles per hour, destroying homes and disrupting traffic and businesses.
Hunger Crisis in Africa
The Red Cross is currently focused on providing life-saving humanitarian assistance in the wake of the hunger crisis in Africa. Red Cross teams are working to deliver cash to families to cover their food, health and other urgent needs. Red Cross teams hope to reach five million people in 12 countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Niger, Angola, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Madagascar. The Red Cross is working to meet the most basic needs, including access to water, sanitation and hygiene services, and to protect the livelihoods of those affected by the crisis.