Canadian Red Cross supporters are stepping up to make a difference abroad

February 12, 2024

This past year, people living in Canada once again rallied behind the Red Cross. That made it possible for us to intervene when it was most needed—like when 95 per cent of Yellowknife had to be evacuated after wildfires.  

But did you know that the Canadian Red Cross also supported important international work? Here are a few updates you might find interesting. 

1. Hope amidst chaos and destruction: a story from Morocco 

Amizmiz was one of the towns most heavily affected by the September 2023 earthquake in Morocco. Hundreds of houses collapsed on top of each other. Public buildings were not spared. While still standing, the local hospital had been declared unsafe to operate.  

Several makeshift Moroccan Red Crescent tents had been set up in the middle of the street to offer medical care. It was just in one of these tents that baby Anas was born. Anas, nestled safely in the arms of his mother, Nezha, was blissfully unaware of the chaos surrounding him. The baby was named after one of the Red Crescent nurses who helped Nezha when she reached one of the medical tents. Nezha’s smile, and the ones on the faces of the local nurses who cared for her, are a ray of sunshine in the difficult times Nezha and her family are going through. 
A woman holds her newborn baby in a Moroccan Red Crescent tent.
It’s precious moments like this—a mother cradling her healthy newborn son—that keep the Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff going amid the heartbreak and devastation, no matter where in the world.  

In times of conflict or disaster, women’s and children’s health and lives are most affected. The Canadian Red Cross acts with our Red Cross and Red Crescent partners to develop greater capacity and effectiveness to increase the survival of mothers, newborns, and children during emergencies. 

You can give hope amidst the chaos and destruction to mothers and newborns like Anas and Nezha. 
"Our volunteers are the lifeblood of these operations, often reaching places others can't."
- SAMI FAKHOURI, Head of Delegation, Morocco, International Federation of the Red Cross.
  2. Four proven solutions to save the lives of mothers and children. 

Both at home and abroad, having proven solutions to help is a top priority for the Canadian Red Cross. These are the very methods we used to step in during the earthquake in Morocco. Curious to learn more? We’ve compiled four evidence-based strategies for you to discover below. 
  • Emergency Field Hospital: When local hospitals are overwhelmed or destroyed during a sudden disaster, our emergency field hospital can deploy within 24-72 hours to fill critical gaps, including surgical care, maternal and child health, and epidemic response and prevention facilities. 
  • Humanitarian Experts and Equipment: During a large-scale disaster or a prolonged humanitarian crisis, we send humanitarian experts, medical supplies, and other essentials to support our local Red Cross or Red Crescent colleagues. We also contribute to emergency financial assistance and long-term recovery programs to help communities rebuild their lives. 
  • Mobile Health Clinics: Red Cross and Red Crescent mobile health teams—comprised of responders, doctors, nurses, and midwives—travel to remote or underserved communities, bringing essential medicines and equipment with them. Mobile clinics can assist up to 150 people per day and help transfer serious cases to the nearest health facility. 
  • Health Responders: In areas where local healthcare facilities have been damaged due to armed conflict, Red Cross and Red Crescent trained community health workers are equipped with basic health supplies to diagnose and treat common illnesses like malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia, avoiding preventable deaths for mothers and children. 
A South Sudan Red Cross personnel talks to a smiling woman holding a baby.

3.  In South Sudan, your support encourages resilience and healthy communities 

According to the World Health Organization, South Sudan has some of the worst health outcomes in the world. Perina, one of the South Sudan Red Cross community health volunteers, will try to change that, one mother, one child, at a time. 

The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Canadian Red Cross piloted a health project aimed at delivering lifesaving, preventative, and curative health services to women and children affected by the armed conflict, which has been ongoing since 2013. 
A woman holds a baby as a South Sudan Red Cross personnel walks by.
In partnership with the South Sudan Red Cross, chiefs and village elders were consulted and over 70 local community members like Perina were recruited and trained as volunteers. 

Their role is to educate their neighbours about preventative steps that can be taken to help improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health - and where they can go for medical assistance. 
“A solar torch (flashlight) helped me a week ago to take a pregnant mother to a health facility of Ngo Dakala for delivery and she was happy and appreciated the help after she delivered safely at the health centre.” 
- PERINA, South Sudan Red Cross Community Health Volunteer.
  These are just a few examples of how your support directly makes a difference on the ground. For more updates, make sure to stay tuned to our blog, or keep up with us on Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok, and LinkedIn. Thank you for your support.