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25 November 2021, 12:08

International Red Cross ready to expand refugee support

MINSK, 25 November (BelTA) – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is ready to expand humanitarian effort in Belarus, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Francesco Rocca told reporters, BelTA has learned.

“The purpose of the visit [to Belarus] is to show our support, the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to the Belarus Red Cross. We want to show how we appreciate the work the Belarus Red Cross is doing and to reaffirm our commitment to continue providing support and, if necessary, to ramp it up,” Francesco Rocca said.

Secretary General of the Belarus Red Cross Dmitry Shevtsov noted: the arrival of Francesco Rocca means a lot for the Belarus Red Cross and Belarus as a whole. According to him, this organization has been helping refugees from the very beginning. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies got involved as soon as the first refugees were spotted at the Belarus-Poland border.

“We maintain very close cooperation, we have a regional office in Moscow that coordinates our activities and helps us not only with human resources,” Dmitry Shevtsov said.

He went on saying that the federation allocated funds that arrived a day before. “This is a fairly large amount of money. In addition to that, the IFRC has launched an emergency appeal. When there is an emergency in a country, an emergency appeal is declared, and all national societies join the effort to help the country in need. Five regional societies have already responded. So I think there's going to be a lot of help here as well."

According to him, the refugees need a variety of assistance now. In the early days it was about the provision of water, meals and warm accommodation. When the cold weather set in, the people were relocated to the logistics center with relatively normal conditions. "We provided them with warm clothes, mattresses, blankets, hot meals, three meals a day, and portable toilets. Two bath houses have been operating since yesterday. This looks like quite good conditions, but we must understand that these people are still in forced conditions in a country that is absolutely alien to them in terms of religion, mentality, and language. Many people don't speak English," said Dmitry Shevtsov.

There are also pregnant women. "We, doctors, understand that they require observation, special care and attitude. There are a large number of children there. We give them toys, sweets, fruits, coloring books with pencils, markers. We create conditions for them to have a childhood even in such conditions," Dmitry Shevtsov noted.

According to him, the refugee assistance architecture has been built in cooperation with all stakeholders, including the authorities and public organizations. "If there had been no participation of the authorities, there would have been no architecture at all. This suggests that Belarusians are an open kindhearted nation, who always comes to the aid of all those in need," Dmitry Shevtsov concluded.

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