IFRC to open zone office in SA

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pretoria - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is to open a zone office in South Africa.

The Johannesburg office will be responsible for 10 countries in Southern Africa.

"Its presence in South Africa will allow the IFRC zone office with an opportunity to better interact and coordinate with other international humanitarian organisations already situated in South Africa," said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on Monday.

The IFRC already has two other zonal offices in Africa situated in Dakar, responsible for West Africa and Nairobi, responsible for the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa.

The zonal office in South Africa will give the IFRC the ability to scale up its assistance to vulnerable communities in the Southern African region, as immediate access by air to Southern African countries would be made easier.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Alasan Senghore, IFRC Director for Africa, will be signing a host agreement in this regard in Pretoria later today.

The IFRC, founded in 1919, is a membership organisation comprised of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. These national societies, present in almost every country in the world, are the world's largest humanitarian network.

Its mission include, among others, to improve the situation of the world's most vulnerable people by providing humanitarian assistance and relief to people affected by man-made and natural disasters and to also provide development assistance in order to empower vulnerable people to become more self-sufficient and resilient.

In South Africa, the IFRC has been supporting the South African Red Cross Society in various programmes and projects, including in disaster management, health and care and integrated HIV and AIDS interventions.