In a nutshell

Location Switzerland
Sustainable Development Goal Good Health and Well-Being

Project timeline 

"Project is 100% completed "

The Challenge

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic brings normal life to a standstill in many parts of the world, armed conflict and other violence continue to exact a heavy toll on some communities. To people already living under volatile security conditions, the spread of this disease poses an additional threat.

As conflict-affected people contend with daily and immediate threats to their safety and struggle to meet their basic needs, they may find it difficult to prioritise taking preventive measures against sickness. Health facilities already overwhelmed by cases of people injured in clashes likely won’t be able to accommodate influxes of virus-infected patients.

The Swiss Re Foundation decided to support ICRC's COVID-19 response due its success in delivering humanitarian aid and tackling risk in complex settings and our long-time membership in the ICRC Corporate Support Group.

The Approach

The ICRC’s response to COVID-19 will focus on activities where it brings the most benefit:

Supporting vital health infrastructure. In the most critical hospitals and health centres it supports, the ICRC is increasing stocks of essential supplies and ensuring the capacity to detect, prevent and control the spread of the virus. It also continues to help people with other health needs who might otherwise be neglected.

Preventing the spread of disease in places of detention. The ICRC works to mitigate the spread of the virus not only inside prisons but also to the wider society, from ensuring proper sanitation and ventilation to providing hygiene promotion sessions for detainees.

Serving vulnerable communities together with Red Cross and Red Crescent. The ICRC is scaling up its ongoing initiatives with these partners, focusing on densely populated areas where the virus is most likely to spread rapidly. Infection prevention is being integrated as a key element in hygiene promotion and water supply projects.

Advising on outbreak prevention and management. The ICRC is helping ensure that its Red Cross and Red Crescent partners, local authorities and non-state armed groups are well informed about how to prevent and manage outbreaks and the spread of COVID-19 and are providing equal treatment to all.


The ICRC will use the Swiss Re Foundation’s grant to provide humanitarian relief in emerging and developing countries and use the funds for the activities described above. It will continue to work closely with health ministries, National Societies, the WHO and other organisations to ensure its response is aligned with national measures and focused on where it can add the most value, particularly in hard-to-reach geographies.


The copyright for all images displayed lies with the International Committee of the Red Cross

Our partner

The ICRC, established in 1863, works worldwide to provide humanitarian help for people affected by conflict and armed violence and to promote the laws that protect victims of war. An independent and neutral organization, its mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

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