Turning up the volume on silent disasters

Guest post by Shauna Quinn, Red Cross communications intern

“Silent disasters” are emergencies that go unnoticed and unreported. They are also known as neglected crisis. You don’t hear about them because they don’t make headlines in most parts of the world. In fact, about 91 per cent of disasters worldwide are classified as silent.

Around the world, the Red Cross Red responds to “silent disasters” on a regular basis. Often, they are small or medium-scale natural disasters, health emergencies, slow onset disasters or disasters overshadowed by another larger disaster. For example, in 2010, the Haiti earthquake received nine times more media coverage than dengue fever over the same period. The Haiti earthquake affected 2.3 million people. Dengue affects 390 million people annually.

So this year, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is turning up the volume on the impact of dengue fever, a disease leading the cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. Over 40 per cent of the world’s population is at risk, yet it has received little attention.

The Canadian Red Cross, with support from the Canadian government, contributed $105,000 to the response of the 2013 dengue outbreak in the Americas, deployed a delegate to support the response in Colombia and supported a regional evaluation of the response.

You can support these efforts by donating to the International Disaster Relief Fund.

This video illustrates the work of the Red Cross in response to the dengue outbreak in Guatemala.

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