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18-02-2013 | Latest News , Europe

Europe-wide campaign to highlight the world?s silent disasters

ENG

Geneva/Brussels - 18 February 2013 - The official launch of the Silent Disasters Campaign took place at the European Parliament in Brussels today at 12h30, with participation from the European Parliament, European Commission, European governments, humanitarian organizations and journalists.


The vast majority of global disasters and humanitarian emergencies are at risk of being underreported, unsupported or simply forgotten, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned today. Growing concern about many of the world's ‘silent disasters' comes as the IFRC and the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) launch a campaign to raise awareness about these emergencies - events which are never silent to the individuals and families affected by them.


"The importance of this campaign is that we are paying attention to people that are living in disaster prone areas and don't get attention neither the resources because the information about their suffering is not in the media" said IFRC Under Secretary General for Programmes Services, Walter Cotte.


As part of the 4-week long awareness campaign, the IFRC, ECHO and the Red Cross in 11 European countries will draw public attention to various silent disasters around the world. Disasters such as widespread hunger in Southern Africa, a devastating earthquake in Tajikistan, and multiple disease outbreaks in Uganda will be highlighted and illustrated in a 50-second film spot in European cinemas and on television as well as on websites, social media and in print.


Research indicates by 2015 more than 375 million people per year are likely to be affected by climate-related disasters.


"Today, more than 90% of disasters that affect dramatically communities around the world are left unnoticed that means that not enough resources go where they should and because tomorrow there will be more people that are hit by forces of nature or by cruelty of men and for them help must be available" said EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Ms Kristalina Georgieva.
A recent study shows that some disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy, made it to the top three news stories of the year 2012, right after Barack Obama's re-election news and before London Olympic Games. Unfortunately, other disasters remain silent. The study led by Influence Communication outlines that the passage of Hurricane Sandy in the United States received 89.40 per cent of the combined traditional media coverage of all the selected natural disasters in 200 countries and territories.


Altogether, the 12 silent disasters, including the passage of Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean, received 10.60 per cent of the combined media coverage. When excluding Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean from the selected 12 silent disasters, the remaining 11 received only 3.83 per cent of the combined coverage of these events.


Mr. Christopher Cummins, Senior Journalist/Producer, euronews, who has a long experience reporting on Silent Disasters said "Silent Disasters" lack the crash, bang, literally, of a major earthquake, Tsunami or mudslide, which guarantees the involvement of global media and boosts donations to aid agencies".


Dr. Bildard Baguma, Under Secretary General, Programs and Projects, Uganda Red Cross Society gave an overview of Uganda Red Cross field activities and added "I believe strongly that we are facing two kind of silent disasters, the first ones are those disasters which never at all make it to the news, to TV or radio, or newspapers, and those form the majority of disasters that affect people around this world".
For further information about the campaign, visit www.ifrc.org/silentdisasters.


For Red Cross enquiries, please contact:
Virginie Louis, Red Cross EU Office Media Relations, Brussels, +32 495 51 15 77
Jessica Sallabank, IFRC Media Relations in Geneva, +41 79 948 1148


For Commissionner Kristalina Georgieva, please contact:
David Sharrock, Spokesperson, European Commission, +32 2 296 89 09


Shotlist:
00:00 European Parliament entrance - various shots
00:25 Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, European Commission meeting with Walter Cotte, Under Secretary General, Program Services, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
00:40 INTERVIEW Walter Cotte, Under Secretary General, Program Services, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
"The importance of this campaign is that we are paying attention to people that are living in disaster prone areas and don't get attention neither the resources because the information about their suffering is not in the media".
01:09 Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, European Commission, being interviewed
01:15 Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva being interviewed.
01:22 Ms. Michèle Striffler, 1st Vice-Chair of the Development Committee and Permanent Rapporteur for Humanitarian Aid, European Parliament
01:32 INTERVIEW Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, European Commission
"Today, more than 90% of disasters that affect dramatically communities around the world are left unnoticed that means that not enough resources go where they should and because tomorrow there will be more people that are hit by forces of nature or by cruelty of men and for them help must be available".
02:07 Mr. Christopher Cummins, Senior Journalist/Producer, euronews, moderating the panel
SOUND "Silent Disasters" lack the crash, bang, literally, of a major earthquake, Tsunami or mudslide, which guarantees the involvement of global media and boosts donations to aid agencies, as long as.......in the case of TV news, the images remain dramatic enough to maintain its spot on the news agenda".

02:40 Ms. Michèle Striffler, 1st Vice-Chair of the Development Committee and Permanent Rapporteur for Humanitarian Aid, European Parliament.
SOUND People, Citizens tell us, why don't we hear about it?
02:48 Dr. Bildard Baguma, Under Secretary General, Programs and Projects, Uganda Red Cross Society. SOUND
"I believe strongly that we are facing two kind of silent disasters, the first ones are those disasters which never at all make it to the news, to TV or radio, or newspapers, and those form the majority of disasters that affect people around this world. The second type is disasters that make news for the first 24h/48h and there after the attention of media shift further on more sexy things".
03:26 Panel discussions various shots.
03:55 European Parliament entrance - various shots


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