Canadian Red Cross works with Afghan Red Crescent Society to provide humanitarian aid

Topics: Worldwide, Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide
September 06, 2013

Canadian Red Cross works with Afghan Red Crescent Society to provide humanitarian aid

The Canadian Red Cross is one of the leading charity organizations in Canada, and it is committed to providing aid and support to both Canadians and individuals in need around the world. While the Canadian Red Cross works tirelessly within Canada, it's international relief services are often mobilized in the wake of natural disasters, famine, drought, mass migrations, health crises and conflict, among other situations in countries around the world.

One such nation is Afghanistan, where Canada's efforts have focused on developmental improvements, including assistance with meeting basic needs in health and education as well as delivering humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people - particularly women and children. Small-scale natural hazards are common in Afghanistan, impacting between 250,000 to 400,000 people each year, and many residents worry about larger emergencies and disasters. Furthermore, the national government's response capabilities are limited, which places the Afghan Red Crescent Society in a unique role as an officially recognised disaster-response organization. However, while the ARCS's established neutrality gives it the ability to provide relief both inside and outside of conflict zones, the organization could benefit from up-to-date materials, comprehensive critical disaster response tools and properly trained human resources.

Partnering for improved Afghan development
Early in 2013, Canada welcomed Ms. Fatima Gailani, the president of the Afghan Red Crescent Society. Marking the visit, Canada's minister of International Cooperation, announced that the Canadian Red Cross would partner with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to help the Afghan Red Crescent Society meet goals in development and humanitarian aid in Afghanistan. The four-year disaster management capacity building project is supported by the the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and will last from April 2013 to March 2017.

Projected goals
The primary objective of the project is to strengthen ARCS as a disaster management organization, improving preparedness and response capabilities for the provision of emergency humanitarian aid throughout the nation. The program will start by fortifying ARCS's institutional capacity at the National Society's headquarters before doing the same at seven regional and 34 branch offices. In each location, the program includes a plan to establish and strengthen teams of disaster management staff and better systems and structures that will enable ARCS to deliver the best relief and response aid possible.

Other areas the program will focus on include gender focus during delivery of assistance, the expansion of ARCS's disaster response units and emergency-response mobile health teams. Alongside the necessary organizational development, the ARCS will require to support these growing components in the coming years. The program will also work to enhance ARCS's cooperation with the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority, which includes an update and expansion of ARCS's national contingency plans.

The overall program outcome should be evidence of ARCS as a well-equipped organization, prepared to provide immediate support to Afghan men, women and children impacted by natural and man-made disasters and emergencies.

Play a part
The domestic and international efforts of the Canadian Red Cross and other Red Cross National Societies depend on your support to continue giving vital assistance to those in need more efficiently and effectively. Please donate today online or at your local Red Cross center to make a difference. 

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