This Week in Restoring Family Links: 1/10/17- 1/11/17

Sophia Fredericks, Social Engagement Intern, National Headquarters Washington, D.C. 

Filipino Devotees carrying image of Black Nazarene. Photo Credit: AP FILE

Filipino Devotees carrying image of Black Nazarene. Photo Credit: AP FILE

Philippines: The Philippine Red Cross is preparing to provide assistance following Traslacion or the Black Nazarene procession. Black Nazarene is an icon and many Filipinos believe in its ability to cure disease just by touching it. Every year it attracts many people with this year having millions of expected people. Traslacion is the largest procession and attracts many devotees. It can last as long as twenty hours.

Due to the procession, all hospitals in Metro Manila must be placed on code blue alert in order keep the millions of people attending the procession as safe as possible. The Department of Health may even be calling for a code red alert soon. This means that one hundred percent of hospital staff must be on duty in order to provide medical assistance. Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said “Depending on NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) meeting, we might call code red alert soon.”

The Philippine Red Cross will be working to provide aid as well. It is preparing to help any who are in need by providing 58 ambulances as well as seven aid stations, rescues boats, rescue trucks, motorcycles, a firetruck, a military truck, a humvee and an amphibian. 2000 volunteers are also prepared to help if needed and 400 personnel are currently on the ground. The first aid stations set up by the Philippine Red Cross will be able to provide various types of support such as medical, psychosocial or restoring family links support.

Belgrade: Asylum seekers in Belgrade are facing very poor conditions. As many as 2000 asylum seekers are currently sleeping outside of Hungary’s transit zones in very poor conditions. Temperatures have significantly dropped and asylum seekers are hoping to get by and survive in these freezing conditions.

Asylum seekers residing in abandoned warehouses behind train station in Belgrade. Photo credit: © 2016 Lydia Gall/Human Rights Watch

Asylum seekers residing in abandoned warehouses behind train station in Belgrade. Photo credit: © 2016 Lydia Gall/Human Rights Watch

The authorities are doing very little to improve and provide humane conditions for these asylum seekers. The Serbian government has gone as far as prohibiting those in aid organizations from providing assistance. They have ignored requests for aid groups to build camps for asylum seekers to withstand the winter. Hungary’s government is making life much harder for these asylum seekers when in december they closed the largest refugee camp without reasoning which caused  asylum seekers to spread out to various other camps with poor conditions.


Asylum seekers residing in transit zones are in need of assistance. The conditions they are living in are poor and all they have to protect themselves from the cold are insulated foil and blankets. They remain in need of assistance and the EU as well as its member countries have a duty to provide it.