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Coping with crisis, Newsletter No. IV, 2009

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In a new decade, humanitarian actors are facing immense challenges. The number of people affected by climate disasters will continue to rise, having a huge impact on migration and livelihoods of millions of people, as was reported in our latest issue of Coping with Crisis.

Furthermore, as of 2008, 16 major armed conflicts were active in 15 locations around the world, an increase from the year earlier. The Red Cross Red Crescent will be called upon to meet the challenges of a new decade, and in our efforts lie an opportunity for improved humanitarian action.

Therefore, it is of great pride that psychosocial support is high on the agenda in Strategy 2020, recently adopted at the General Assembly of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies. In this issue of Coping with Crisis, we invite you to read more about the strategy and how psychosocial support is intertwined into it, as a crosscutting issue in the strategy's three strategic aims. This is a great step forward and bears witness to the increasing recognition of the humanitarian benefits of psychosocial support as a tool to promote human wellbeing.

Physical activity can have an enormous positive influence on one's wellbeing and it is likely to build bridges between individuals, communities and cultures. Sport can be an important tool to promote child and youth development since the space and time for play is one of the first things to disappear in conflict and disaster settings. That is why the Psychosocial Centre of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies has partnered with the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education.

The collaboration will hopefully result in new programme components and practical tools to include sports in psychosocial responses in disaster and recovery operations.

Moreover, this issue brings you stories of psychosocial support from different corners of the world and poses some challenging questions. How up-to-date is the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies in its psychosocial responses with regards to recent research findings? To answer that question we dig down in the latest guidelines and literature in the field of psychosocial support. What were the psychosocial responses of the Spanish Red Cross when confronted with a plane crash that claimed more than 150 lives in 2008? How did survivors move on, after the most destructive hurricane season ever in the Atlantic, during the summer of 2005? And what were the biggest obstacles psychosocial experts of the Turkish Red Crescent had to overcome when assisting victims of floods in the summer of 2009? I hope you enjoy the read, whether you are many of our new readers, or someone who has followed the work of the International Federation Psychosocial Centre for quite some time.

Yours sincerely,

Nana, Wiedemann,

Head, Psychosocial Centre of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies