Red Cross appeals for €100m to fill funding gap for victims of world conflicts

The body says there has been a "disturbing slide into intractability" by new conflicts

Red Cross appeals for €100m to fill funding gap for victims of world conflicts

Image: ICRC

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is appealing for millions of extra funding for 2016.

The humanitarian agency says it needs US$115m (€102m) to deal with the humanitarian consequences of conflicts around the world.

Director of operations Dominik Stillhart says there was a "disturbing slide into intractability by many newer conflicts and a devastating failure to resolve old ones".

Almost 70% of the ICRC's humanitarian spending - some US$1.1bn - now goes to help people engulfed in protracted conflicts.

It says these are characterized by their length, intractability and complexity.

"These conflicts keep countries at constant breaking point year-on-year, ruining support systems vital to the lives of the general public", Mr Stillhart said as he launched the call to donors for additional cash

Seven of the organisation's 10 most underfunded operations - including Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Iraq, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia and Somalia - are mired in crises lasting decades or more.

"Challenges are particularly acute in cities, where essential services take a battering from years of war.

"People see water and electricity systems, schools and hospitals destroyed or badly damaged by years of fighting.

"That damage can happen quickly, like in Fallujah, or over a longer period, like in Mogadishu, where cumulative damage and neglect undermine these systems until they can no longer cope.

"The result is the same, either way: we are there to prop up these systems for decades at a time, to stop people from plunging further into poverty and vulnerability."

Mr Stillhart also said money should be distributed in a more predictable fashion, as multi-year funding packages, and free of strings tying its use to a specific country.

The ICRC says this would allow it to respond with emergency relief, as well as to long-term needs.

The call coincides with the launch of a new ICRC report on protracted conflicts, which gives insights into humanitarian work in some of today's most devastating and intractable conflicts, based on examples drawn from the ICRC’s long operational experience.