Emergency relief

Factors such as natural disasters and the growing complexity of certain conflicts have caused an increase in the number of people affected by humanitarian crises worldwide. Inditex promotes emergency relief as one of the fundamental pillars of its investment in the community. In 2014, Inditex allocated some 25% of its investment in social programmes focusing on protecting the lives of vulnerable people.

India Programme

Fight against child malnutrition

Since 2011, Inditex has supported the Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) project to combat child malnutrition in the district of Bihar, a state in north-east India on the border with Nepal. Since then, more than 13,000 children have received treatment, with more than 90% of cases dealt with successfully: the most effective treatment applied in India to date.

MSF’s efforts are currently targeted at achieving the inclusion of these practices in the public primary health care system in Bihar and the extension of this ambulatory treatment model to the rest of the country. The MSF team working on this programme is currently made up of 125 people (109 national workers and 16 international workers).

The main achievements of the programme during 2014 include the expansion of the community model of managing severe malnutrition to other districts, the increase in health centres supported by MSF to 12 centres, and the independent development by the Ministry of Health of the programme’s activities in five of the 12 health centres. Also in 2014, an intensive care unit was established to treat the most severe malnutrition cases with complications.

Inditex supported this project with an investment of €600,000 in 2014.

The fight against kala azar

Visceral leishmaniasis or kala azar is an illness transmitted by sandflies, which is fatal when not addressed with timely treatment. It symptoms include inflammation of the liver and spleen accompanied by severe abdominal distension, deteriorating body condition, malnutrition and anaemia. It mainly affects the most disadvantaged social groups. The Indian state of Bihar, located in north-east India on the border with Nepal, experiences a high percentage of the world’s cases of kala azar.

MSF is carrying out intense efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat this illness in the Vaishali district of Bihar, as well as fighting to ensure that this treatment is free to everyone.

Inditex has collaborated with MSF on the fight against kala azar in Vaishali, India since 2010. In September 2014, the government announced a change in their protocol concerning kala azar treatment, which involved a change in national policy on first-line care to treat this illness. Thanks to this achievement, thousands of people will have access to a simpler and more effective treatment, providing an example to follow for other countries with a high prevalence of kala azar.

Turkey Programme

Assistance for Syrian refugees

This joint project with MSF has focused its efforts on improving living conditions for refugees located in Kilis on the Syrian border, where there are more than 40,000 displaced people. Apart from primary medical care, MSF also provides psychological support for people who have been forced to face up to a new life, without means and away from their home country. During 2014, regular deliveries of humanitarian aid were organized, while hospital transport for patients travelling from hospitals in Aleppo, Syria was also guaranteed.

Inditex supported this project with an investment of €500,000 in 2014.

Emergency programmes

Support for the MSF Emergency Unit

MSF is constantly adapting its resources to respond to unforeseen needs. The organization’s Emergency Unit ensures the availability of all the material and human resources required to dispatch teams in less than 48 hours in the case of any humanitarian crisis. Inditex has provided ongoing support to this unit since 2011, with annual donations of €300,000. This strategic support is key to guaranteeing the immediate response of the humanitarian organization to the needs of the most vulnerable people affected by emergency situations.

This decentralized emergency structure is managed by a permanent unit in Barcelona, which coordinates the deployment of the specific MSF teams which are trained and available at all times to embark on emergency trips to respond to any emergency. The Emergency Unit also coordinate the logistics centres that issue medical supplies and humanitarian aid to any location across the globe. While the teams dispatched on the ground are mainly made up of medical staff, the supply centres – located in Brussels, Belgium; Bordeaux, France; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates – are managed by logistics experts.

During the course of 2014, the MSF Emergency Unit sent teams to Syria and South Sudan. As of March, the unit was also responsible for organizing the coordination and monitoring of the intervention to stop the spread of Ebola in Senegal, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The organization is currently embarking on a project to provide access to health care in Sierra Leone to mitigate the collapse of the national health care system.

Moreover, part of the support provided by Inditex has been used to strengthen the specific emergency team deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The RUSK team was specifically brought together with Congolese staff members to provide an immediate response in one of the countries whose population suffers directly from intermittent emergency events.

Thanks to the support provided by RUSK, MSF has been able to respond to various emergencies, such as to provide care for cholera patients, implement three measles vaccination campaigns and provide care to malaria sufferers. Moreover, this emergency team has undertaken various fact-finding missions to assess the state of health of the population living in one of the most vulnerable areas of the country, the region of South Kivu.

During 2014, Inditex renewed its commitment to this project for the period 2014-2016.

Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is one of the main countries affected by the biggest outbreak of Ebola in the history of western Africa. Scarce resources and the collapse of health services within the country have made it necessary for MSF to intervene in order to contain the outbreak and treat sick people with no access to health care due to the neglect of health structures, a lack of supplies and the impact of the virus on national health staff.

Inditex’s contribution of €1 million serves to provide immediate support to combat the epidemic in Médecins Sans Frontières intervention centres in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to respond to an urgent need for aid.