Migration and displacement crisis in MENA: Responding to the basic needs of people on the move

By International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Migration and displacement crisis in MENA: Responding to the basic needs of people on the move

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with more than 40 million migrants and 14 million internally displaced persons, has some of the world’s longest protracted conflicts, combined with frequent natural disasters, man-made crises, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Ukraine conflict has added another layer of complexity.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has joined forces with three Red Crescent societies in the region to address the basic needs of people on the move, including refugees, migrants, and internally displaced persons.

Fabrizio Anzolini, the IFRC’s regional migration advisor for the MENA, said: “The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement approaches migration and displacement from a purely humanitarian perspective, without encouraging or discouraging it. However, we do respond to the needs of people on the move.”

As part of IFRC’s efforts to support more than 4,000 people on the move, the IFRC has signed three project agreements on migration and displacement in the region since July.

The agreements with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the Egyptian Red Crescent, and the Algerian Red Crescent were established in the framework of the IFRC’s Humanitarian assistance and protection for people on the move.

This three-year programme focuses on humanitarian assistance to migrants, displaced people, and host communities on the migration routes of greatest humanitarian concern spanning Africa, the Middle East, and Europe and involves 34 Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies.

The agreement with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent aims to improve the livelihoods of internally displaced persons, returnees, and host communities in Syria, while the agreement with the Algerian Red Crescent was developed to improve the living standards and reduce the vulnerability of migrants, refugees and displaced persons in Algeria.

The agreement with the Egyptian Red Crescent focuses on providing comprehensive and structured support to children on the move and the community by establishing community schools and ensuring access to basic humanitarian services.

“This example of collaboration and coordination with other Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies would not have been possible without the support of the Italian Red Cross, which played a crucial role in facilitating the establishment of these three agreements,” Anzolini added.

Rania Ahmed, IFRC’s deputy regional director in the MENA, said: “The IFRC’s attempts to make a difference in the migration and displacement crises in the Middle East and North Africa are at a critical juncture. Until long-term sustainable solutions are in place, we ensure that people on the move have access to health services and psychosocial support, and offer protection to children and victims of violence, as well as livelihood support and cash assistance.”

Ahmed added that as the link between climate change and the displacement of the most vulnerable is becoming more obvious by the day.