Help Families Fleeing Crisis Rebuild Their Lives

by International Rescue Committee
Help Families Fleeing Crisis Rebuild Their Lives
Help Families Fleeing Crisis Rebuild Their Lives
Help Families Fleeing Crisis Rebuild Their Lives
Help Families Fleeing Crisis Rebuild Their Lives
Help Families Fleeing Crisis Rebuild Their Lives
Help Families Fleeing Crisis Rebuild Their Lives
Help Families Fleeing Crisis Rebuild Their Lives
Help Families Fleeing Crisis Rebuild Their Lives
Ukrainian refugees trying to keep warm
Ukrainian refugees trying to keep warm

More than10 million people have been uprooted from their homes in Ukraine and are need of humanitarian assistance, in what has become the largest and fastest displacement crisis since World War II. Of these, over 4 million have fled to neighboring countries as refugees. A further 12 million people are estimated to be stranded or are unable to leave Ukraine due to increasing violence, destruction of bridges and roads, as well as lack of resources or information on where to find safety and accommodation.

This crisis threatens to have far-reaching implications across Europe and the globe. It could destabilize the continent, strain the resources of Ukraine’s neighbors, and impact food supplies and costs for countries like Yemen, Libya and Lebanon - already facing acute levels of food insecurity.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is on the ground in Ukraine, Poland and in the broader region, mobilizing resources with partners to provide lifesaving support, including critical information services, medical supplies, and other essentials to civilians forced to flee their homes amid growing violence.

In Ukraine we are supporting partners with local knowledge and experience offering legal and protection assistance through information hotlines and personalized assistance, such as child protection, psychosocial support, and medical referrals for survivors of violence. We are also helping to procure and provide urgent essentials, which can include, food, medical supplies, blankets, warm clothing, dignity kits for women and girls, and emergency cash assistance to empower families to meet their needs in local markets, where safe and possible.

In Poland we are increasing access to medical equipment to rescue teams delivering urgent medical assistance, and supporting the provision of beds and materials including sleeping bags and blankets for reception centers for new arrivals along border areas, in Lublin, Podkarpackie, and in Warsaw. We are also supporting partner staff, including psychologists, social workers, and translators offering specialized services, and providing lifesaving information services to ensure that the information provided is accurate, coordinated, and responsive to meet inclusive needs. 

“We’re extremely concerned about the rising humanitarian needs in the country. In displacement contexts, women and girls are always the most adversely affected and bear the brunt of crises. The situation in Ukraine is no different. Women and girls, especially those traveling alone, could be at risk of exploitation and abuse.” - Lani Fortier, IRC Senior Director of Emergencies

Backed by nearly 90 years of disaster response expertise, the IRC has responded to humanitarian crises in Europe since 2015, including in Ukraine, and provided emergency aid, health and sanitation, and psychosocial support to refugees and migrants in Greece and in Serbia. Since then, the IRC has supported families on the move in Germany, Italy, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and worked to integrate refugees into the fabric of their host communities in the UK.

We are providing lifesaving support to a record number of children, women and men uprooted by crisis in Ukraine and around the world. Please join us.

A mother feeding her daughter at the Medyka border
A mother feeding her daughter at the Medyka border


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Ali's family in their new home in Virginia
Ali's family in their new home in Virginia

An unprecedented number of Afghan people are fleeing home in search of safety—as escalating violence is putting record numbers of civilians in danger. Many Afghans say they fear for their lives, concerned that marked gains in their safety and wellbeing will be lost. Afghanistan has already produced the second-largest displaced population in the world. Recent deaths at the Kabul airport provide just one example of how escalating migration and displacement are accompanied by violence.Many men, women and children face physical violence, sexual abuse and forced labor as they attempt to flee from home in search of security and stability.

“The IRC is committed to staying and delivering urgent humanitarian aid. Without immediate action, 2021 will be the deadliest year of conflict for Afghans in over a decade.” Bob Kitchen, IRC Vice President for Emergencies

The IRC remains unwavering in our commitment to serve Afghans and help them find safety and stability in their new homes and communities.

In the United States (U.S.), the IRC has been providing a myriad of services, including staffing all U.S. bases charged with welcoming Afghan evacuees. Since August 2021, we have completed registrations for 68,778 Afghans arriving in the U.S. Our 24 resettlement offices provide Afghan families with housing access, education, cash assistance, medical care, school supplies, transportation costs, employment training and legal case management to help them acclimate to their new communities.

In Mexico, the UK, and other third countries, we provide housing, health care, legal support, and social and emotional wellbeing services for children. Over the next 12 months, the IRC and its partners will provide legal information, counseling and representation to Afghan nationals seeking legal pathways to protection—especially in the U.S., Canada, the UK and the European Union. The IRC will also be providing educational support in the UK—training and professional development to educators, provide assessment tools and curricular resources, and interim programs.

Without help and assistance from the IRC, I wouldn’t have been able to come to the U.S. They provided so many opportunities and also helped us financially for the initial four months.” Ehsanullah—a father of two—was resettled with this family in 2019.

Our response is nothing short of a lifeline in a country where half the population requires life-saving aid and faces a dangerous and uncertain future. We are not only helping to save lives but also improving their quality and dignity. Your support empowers us to address the rapidly changing needs of Afghans across the arc of the crisis—including those who are resettling abroad.

We believe that Afghans can continue to make incredible contributions to their communities. Their safety is critical. We can help them achieve a brighter future. Thank you for being part of the solution.

IRC staff welcome Afghan arrivals in Mexico
IRC staff welcome Afghan arrivals in Mexico
Families like Abdul's had to leave children behind
Families like Abdul's had to leave children behind


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A Nigerian mother gives her child fortified food.
A Nigerian mother gives her child fortified food.

The Impact of Your Support: A path to ending malnutrition

Malnutrition contributes to the deaths of approximately 3 million children under the age of five each year. Experts anticipate a rise in the number of malnourished children as a result of COVID-19. Now, a historic locust outbreak threatens millions with starvation.

As countries already affected by conflict and crisis face the added challenges of COVID-19 and the worst plague of locusts in generations, the IRC is supporting the health of children and families with your support.

A groundbreaking approach to treatment

After four years of research and successful studies in Kenya and South Sudan in concert with partner organizations, we’ve developed a game-changing approach to combat acute malnutrition.

We bring treatment straight to children in their homes and communities, adapting our programs to safely provide continuous care during the coronavirus crisis. We’ve already seen success with this approach in training local health workers to treat diseases like pneumonia or malaria.

We’ve also created simple and intuitive tools that community health workers can use to diagnose acute malnutrition. One example is a color-coded armband that anyone can use to measure upper-arm circumference.

With IRC training and tools, community health workers placed at health posts across Ethiopia have helped to reduce child mortality by two-thirds.

Thanks to your support, families fighting malnutrition right now are helped by the IRC with:

  • Food and medicine delivered with heightened COVID-19 safety measures; 
  • Medical support from mobile health teams for families in hard-to-access places; 
  • Malnutrition tests, a simplified treatment process, and timely follow-up;
  • Nutritious, therapeutic foods like Plumpy’ Nut, a vitamin-packed, protein-rich paste that does not require preparation or medical supervision;
  • Economic support in locust-affected regions to mitigate further damage and reduce the risk of widespread famine;
  • Direct assistance to farmers and livestock herders impacted by locusts, and special support for the most vulnerable facing a hunger crisis.

Thank you for being part of the solution.

IRC delivering safe, in-home health treatments.
IRC delivering safe, in-home health treatments.
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Countering misinformation in Congo
Countering misinformation in Congo

Seven ways the IRC is fighting COVID-19, one year in 

One year into the pandemic, COVID-19 has taken the lives of nearly 3 million people and continues to jeopardize the health and wellbeing of millions more. People uprooted by conflict and crisis are among those most at risk. 

As the world struggles to deal with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the needs of the most vulnerable must not be neglected or forgotten. Thanks to generous support from you and other donors, the IRC is responding in over 40 countries, including the United States. 

Nearly 90% of the world’s refugeeslive in lower-income nations that find it challenging to provide basic services, let alone stanch the spread of a highly contagious virus. That’s why the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and our partners have been helping to protect families and communities from the most devastating impacts of COVID-19. 

IRC staff on the frontlines have adapted our health services for social distancing, expanded access to clean water, provided remote education to children, and offered cash relief and job opportunities to help families meet basic needs. 

In the coming months, we will play a vital role in training and supporting local health workers to help ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. As we know, no one is safe until everyone around the world is protected. 

Innovating all the way 

Here are seven examples of how, through their ingenuity and dedication, IRC teams are helping to ensure the people we serve can survive the global pandemic and rebuild their lives. 

1. Colombia: Delivering telemedicine 

Some 1.3 million Venezuelans affected by economic crisis have sought safety in Colombia, with more than 35,000 reaching official crossing points every day to seek work, buy food, and receive medical assistance. 

The IRC moved our health services, including COVID-19 testing, closer to the border, and ramped up telemedicine to provide vital primary and reproductive care during the country’s pandemic lockdown. 

2. Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria: Strengthening families 

Our partnership with Sesame WorkshopAhlan Simsim, piloted WhatsApp and other digital tools to provide young children uprooted by the war in Syria with the support they need to learn at home, manage stress, and protect themselves from COVID-19. 

Using multimedia content in local languages and dialects, families have been able to teach their children the alphabet, talk about emotions, and pass on the skills they need to heal and thrive. 

3. Yemen: Delivering cash relief 

The coronavirus pandemic arrived in Yemen after more than five years of conflict that has displaced over 3.6 million people and placed the country on the brink of famine. 

The IRC stepped up our emergency cash support as disruptions related to the pandemic sent the cost of food and other essentials skyrocketing. While wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely deliver cash relief, IRC staff also educated people about COVID-19 prevention. 

4. Democratic Republic of Congo: Fighting a double epidemic 

In April 2020–one month after the outbreak of COVID-19 was deemed a global threat—a second outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus was declared in Congo. The country has spent decades in the grip of violent conflict, and 15.7 million people require urgent humanitarian aid. 

IRC teams were able to draw on the expertise, resources and local networks they had developed while combating Ebola to fight misinformation about COVID-19, build trust, and protect communities at risk. 

5. Cameroon: Finding creative solutions 

Half of people the IRC surveyed in northern Cameroon—a country where violence has left approximately 6.2 million in need of aid—lack access to soap and clean water during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Among other creative solutions, we designed and built, using local materials, 50 public hand-washing stations that can be operated by a foot pedal. People can now sanitize their hands without physically touching a water tap or soap dispensers. 

6. Pakistan: Teaching children to read remotely 

School closures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 have had a dire impact on education in a country already finding it challenging to keep children in classrooms. Some 79% of children in Pakistan will not learn to read by age 10. 

The IRC trained teachers through webinars and devised ways to ensure thousands of children could build their reading skills (in any of seven languages) at home, even without a computer or smartphone. 

7. Uganda: Supporting survivors of violence 

Every year, more than 1 million women experience violence in Uganda. A nationwide coronavirus lockdown has left survivors confined at home with their abusers, often unable to seek help. 

The IRC has adapted our programs to deliver psychological, medical and legal support to survivors remotely. We’ve also bolstered community-based services and coached social workers to provide code words women can use to indicate it’s not safe for them to talk on the phone. 

The way forward 

While thecomingmonths are critical tosaving livesand keeping refugee families afloat economically,we know that COVID-19 will continue to have long-lasting effects worldwide. 

From training community health workers todelivervaccines, to expanding ourglobal digital information platformSignpost, to developing remotely-delivered education, job-training, and protection programs,the IRC is already identifying and investing in the services the hardest-hit communities will need to get back on their feet.

Mobile health clinic in Colombia
Mobile health clinic in Colombia
Bushra, 27, Reproductive Health Officer in Yemen
Bushra, 27, Reproductive Health Officer in Yemen


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Hygiene training and demonstration in Afghanistan
Hygiene training and demonstration in Afghanistan

As the world struggles to deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the needs of refugee and displaced populations must not be neglected or forgotten. COVID-19 has overwhelmed health systems around the globe and threatens greater devastation as it spreads to fragile and crisis-affected countries. The pandemic is a global threat requiring a global response, but the International Rescue Committee (IRC) understands that the steps to contain it need to be designed locally to mitigate suffering globally.

A one-size-fits-all model does not work in the global pandemic response. This is especially true in humanitarian settings, which face a “double emergency”: the direct health impact from COVID-19 and its secondary devastation to fragile economic, security and political environments.

In humanitarian contexts, living conditions in developing countries make social distancing nearly impossible. Most people cannot work from home, and governments are unable to provide sufficient relief packages or social safety nets. International and domestic restrictions have slowed the transportation of COVID-19 equipment, halted vaccination campaigns, disrupted supply chains of treatment for malnourished children, and prevented medical staff from being deployed in countries with weaker health systems

Many families in crisis areas are living in crowded camps and finding social distancing impossible. The IRC is working inform communities on how to stay safe, where to get support for basic needs, and how to stop the spread of misinformation. For instance, in Jordan, the IRC provided COVID awareness sessions to nearly 2,282 community members and sent nearly 80,000 outreach messages to patients and clients.

Meet Rana and her family

Rana* is one of more than 650,000 registered refugees in Jordan who are trying to recover and rebuild their lives. Some 80% of them are living outside of camps. With its growing national population and high number of refugees, Jordan struggles to ensure that everyone can access quality health care. Limited finances make it difficult for Syrian refugees to access essential health services.

Together with her mother, father, two younger sisters and brother, 24-year old Rana, came to Jordan eight years ago. “We left Dara’a when things started to get really ugly. There was nowhere safe to go,” she says. The family sold their belongings to pay for the trip and fled to Jordan. After a month in a tent in Zaatari refugee camp, the family moved to Ramtha, a town some five kilometers from the Syrian border. “After almost a year things got easier and we got used to the situation here in Jordan especially because we were feeling safer and more secure, and were no longer thinking about the possibilities of death and arrest,” says Rana, who was newly married when she first arrived.

In 2018, Rana heard about the IRC health clinic in Ramtha and registered herself. “I started going to the clinic to take thyroid medication and whenever I’m sick.

”After five years of marriage, Rana became pregnant, “I was so happy when I found out about the pregnancy, words can’t express my feelings. I was in shock and did not believe it at first especially because doctors gave us no hope for pregnancy earlier, but I can only say I was very happy, excited and thankful,” she says.

The little money that her family had was not enough to cover the cost of the delivery. Rana was worried because this pregnancy came five years after getting married. She registered for the IRC’s reproductive health and maternity consultations and started going for her check-ups. That’s when she learned that she was pregnant with twins. “I started getting afraid not because of the twins but because of the costs that come with them, especially as neither I nor my husband are working and we have rent to pay and food to cover along with everything else,” says Rana.

In March of this year, as COVID-19 cases spiked around the world and Jordan put in place strict lockdown measures, Rana was in her ninth month. Through the final weeks, she managed to speak with the IRC health team and secure a referral to a hospital where she gave birth to two beautiful baby boys, Ahmad* and Hasan*. The twins had to be placed in a neonatal intensive care unit, which was covered with support from the IRC.

The IRC helps families like Rana’s in more than 40 countries around the world to respond to the challenges caused by displacement amidst the pandemic.

*Names changed and identities hidden for protection reasons.

IRC midwife conducts client checkup in Bangladesh
IRC midwife conducts client checkup in Bangladesh


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Organization Information

International Rescue Committee

Location: New York, NY - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @RESCUEorg
Project Leader:
Alix Samuel
New York, NY United States
$7,721 raised of $20,000 goal
102 donations
$12,279 to go
Donate Now
Emergency Care for a Child | $23 can provide a malnourished child with emergency care, including antibiotics, IV fluids and glucose, as well as supplies to keep a child healthy after recovery.
Safe Passage | $36 can provide refugees with critical information on how to access medical care, asylum services, and what to do in case their family is separated.
English Classes for Refugees | Learning English is a critical step for refugees as they begin their new life, apply for jobs and integrate into their communities.
Year of School | $58 can supply the tuition, books and other supplies a girl needs to attend school for a year.
Reuniting a Refugee Family | Our teams work tirelessly in some of the toughest conditions in the world to locate the child's family, get in contact with them and bring them together once again.
Community Health Worker Training | IRC-trained local health workers treat patients in their own communities for everything from eye infections to malaria, saving thousands of lives.
Mobile Medical Clinics | Our teams navigate rocky terrain, mudslides and other treacherous conditions to reach children and treat them for malnutrition, cholera, and other life-threatening illnesses.
Emergency Classroom | These emergency classrooms, provide a safe space for children to learn, express themselves and bond with other children, many of whom have lost friends and family members.
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