Delivering aid on donkeys, canoes and bicycles

    A volunteer for the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Democratic Republic of Congo uses a bicycle to collect and distribute messages in the suburbs of Moba, Katanga Province. Photo by: W. Lembryk / ICRC

    In this age of smartphones and bullet trains, canoes and donkeys can still be valuable tools to deliver aid in many parts of the world.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross has used many modes of transportation in its more than a century of existence – from camels during the Russian famine in the 1920s to ambulances made of wood.

    Some of these are no longer in use; large ships, planes and trucks that can carry loads of humanitarian supplies have replaced them. But ICRC spokesperson Marie-Servane Desjonqueres told Devex the organization continues to deliver aid the old-fashioned way in some of the most remote and hard-to-reach areas around the world.

    In Nepal, for instance, they still use donkeys. Bicycles are also being used in certain parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Desjonqueres however noted: “We do not use camels anymore in current ICRC operations.”

    The goal, the ICRC argues, has always been to ensure that aid reaches those in need.

    How about you? How does your organization deliver aid to the most remote parts of the world? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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