Ali bin Hassan Al-Hammadi, Secretary-General of Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS), delivered yesterday a lecture on Components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to the master’s students at Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), as part of their academic program for the year 2020-2021.
The lecture covered the history and evolution of the Movement, its environment of work, fundamental principles, and funding of humanitarian action.
Mr. Al-Hammadi listed the major challenges recently facing humanitarian work, including the complex nature of humanitarian crises, international politics, the field risks for aid workers, violations of the international humanitarian law (IHL), and shrinking sources of funding amid international economic challenges.
Explaining the concept of post-disaster and postwar reconstruction, Mr. Al-Hammadi said, “Typically, any relief intervention is divided into three stages: (1) immediate response to the disaster, by deploying relief teams to assess the needs and start on the spot to distribute urgent aid to the most affected people; (2) early recovery, which involves repairing the direct damage caused by the disaster, while continuing to provide aid for more victims; and (3) long-term recovery, where plans are developed to help the local community to restore its normal life and reopening and operation of damaged utilities and infrastructure”.
He highlighted the concept of preparedness: “We do not wait for the occurrence of a disaster to take action; rather, we work at ordinary times to rehabilitate and empower society, build the capacity of its organizations, and strengthen its utilities and infrastructure to be resilient in the face of disasters sand minimize casualties and damage. There are many universally approved guidelines and references for humanitarian action, such as the Sphere Project, the Guide to Rights of Relief Workers on the Field, and the Geneva Conventions”.
Mr. Al-Hammadi gave the students some suggestions to enhance humanitarian action, including legal and humanitarian compliance, training and proficiency, resource mobilization, use of modern technology, and governance and transparency.
A large part of the lecture was dedicated to the concept of humanitarian diplomacy, as a complement to traditional diplomacy that enables humanitarian action by removing the hurdles of politics and international government relations, towards the ultimate goal of delivering relief and development aid to those in need.
In relation to QRCS, an overview was given on its establishment, relief and development activities in and out of Qatar, and local and international partnerships. Over the three years of blockade, the value of humanitarian aid provided under QRCS’s programs and interventions was QR 1.3 billion, reaching out to over 30 million people around the world.
After that, Mr. Al-Hammadi talked about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) control efforts as a model of success, through cooperation with the ministries of health, interior, labor, and municipality, under the supervision of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management.
From the response, there were many impressive aspects to highlight, as shown below:
- Higher committees supervising the response greatly facilitated the organization, planning, and implementation of work.
- All the available human and material resources were employed in the response. Further financial and logistic resources were secured as needed.
- Hiring skilled medical workers and volunteers helped to deliver the necessary effective and professional performance to deal with the crisis.
- QRCS capitalized on previous experience in many foreign relief operations, including but not limited to the operation of health facilities, construction of emergency shelter camps, distribution of food and nonfood aid, etc.
- By active participation on the ground, QRCS leaders gave good example, motivation, and power to all the field workers to work even harder.
- Once announced in the media, the Volunteer for Qatar campaign attracted unprecedented numbers of applicants, both nationals and residents, driven by a sense of responsibility to stand together in the face of calamity.
- All QRCS departments worked together in perfect harmony to attain the planned goals.
- There was good coordination among QRCS and government authorities, mainly the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management, MOPH, Ministry of Interior (MOI), MME, HMC, and PHCC.
- Many partners and contributors supported QRCS, realizing its important role in combating the virus, including 40 charities, private-sector companies, and sports federations.
- QRCS’s humanitarian interventions to help many countries to control the pandemic represented the organization’s international humanitarian reputation and emphasized Qatar’s bright humanitarian image globally.
The lecture was concluded with a list of reference works and valuable literature as suggested readings. The moderator, Dr. Mostafa Othman Al-Amin, thanked Mr. Al-Hammadi for this valuable lecture, which informed the students a lot about the Movement and QRCS, as well as their role in protecting the vulnerable communities affected by conflict and disasters.