By: Lailuma Noori
24th of Mizan coinciding with 16th of October is the start of particular Afghan Red Crescent Society Week. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a global humanitarian network that helps those facing disaster, conflict and health and social problems. It consists of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the 191 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence.
It takes action in response to emergencies and at the same time promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours, in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.
Afghanistan is a disaster prone country and is affected by a number of hazards such as earthquakes, floods, landslides, drought, etc. Thousands of people have been affected every year due to impact of disasters resulting in lack of access to basic needs, displacement of communities, drinking water and hygiene problems, livelihood, shelter, etc., and these problems are compounded by the internal conflict.
Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) has been uniquely placed to provide disaster response support in the country as an auxiliary to the government of Afghanistan. The established neutrality of ARCS has been well recognized across the country, which has access to the conflict prone areas.
Although ARCS has been at the forefront of response operations in the country, the conflict situation increases its vulnerability to several risks. The situation is compounded by the current ranking 175 out of 187 countries on the human development index, Afghanistan’s over 35 million people face enormous humanitarian challenges due to recurrent and protracted conflicts spanning over three decades, recurring natural disasters, profound gender and social inequities, underdeveloped livelihood systems and shattered social and physical infrastructure.
Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) receives a significant portion of its support from the National Societies of several developed nations, including those from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Japan, with support channeled through the International Federation. The ARCS also maintains bilateral relations with the National Societies of Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Based on its wide-ranging humanitarian work throughout Afghanistan, the ARCS claims the ability to work with all ethnic groups through its services. The primary activities of the organization have been focused primarily on disaster response, health care, and youth.
It is worth mentioning that during the ARC special week, beginning on 16 October 2019, the country celebrates the work of the national Red Crescent Society (ARCS) to raise awareness of its activities and much needed funds – small but important steps towards rebuilding its future.