Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up!

Welcome to the Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up, in which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...

PHILIPPINES: Last week tropical storm Washi swept through entire villages in several areas of the Philippines, causing the deaths of an estimated nearly 1,000 people and massive damage to infrastructure, including the water system. The ICRC, led by it’s local partner the Philippine Red Cross, distributed food packs, essential household items and hygiene kits for 18,000 people in three of the areas hardest hit within the first 48 hours. With more than 270,000 people now lacking access to clean drinking water, ICRC water and habitat engineers are devising ways to bring water from the undamaged water sources and of storing it for use by the survivors.

HAITI: The Haiti Red Cross Society is working to recycle rubble from the earthquake in 2010 to prepare for future disasters. So far they have been able to take 25,000 cubic meters of rubble and have local residents process it into concrete blocks, paving slabs or walls which will stop the ground from slipping away during Haiti’s next heavy rains or in case of another earthquake. The rubble recycling is just one part of the Haiti Red Cross Society’s neighborhood development support that assists in providing shelters, access to water and sanitation, and job opportunities along with training and technical support.

SOMALIA: Torrential rains that started in the southern provinces of Somalia in early October were welcomed in the drought stricken nation, however most roads were turned into rivers that have slowed down transport and delivery of food aid. Together with the Somali Red Crescent Society, the ICRC has distributed beans, rice and oil to over 917,000 people in southern and central Somalia. This will help farmers bridge the gap until January, when they will be able to harvest from seed the ICRC has also distributed.

NORTH KOREA: In North Korea, meager crops were severely damaged after being struck by a typhoon and flooding in July and August. Now, with the arrival of the first snow, people in the area are busy preparing for what they expect to be a severe winter. The Red Cross Society of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, supported by the IFRC, has so far distributed 288 metric tons of yellow maize to 6,051 of the most vulnerable families (24,827 people) who were severely affected by floods and subsequent food shortages in three target counties in South Hwanghae province.


ICRC = International Committee of the Red Cross
IFRC = International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies