What is a silent disaster?

What does it mean when we say we are responding to a silent disaster?

Thanks to social media and 24-hour news it’s pretty easy to stay informed. But despite all this media coverage around the world there are events that happen every day that are not reported, or are underreported. Some of these events are serious, like famine and outbreaks of disease. We call an event like this a silent disaster.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, including the Canadian Red Cross, are responding to silent disasters around the world. Often these disasters include small or medium-scale natural disasters, health emergencies, ongoing effects of a larger disaster, slow onset disasters, or disasters that get overshadowed in the news by larger ones.

While things like a food crisis in Zimbabwe don’t always get great media coverage, the Red Cross and Red Crescent is there to help the most vulnerable. 

Drought in Somliland
Ongoing severe drought continues to devastate Somaliland Photo:IFRC
Burundian refugee crisis
Thousands of Burundians have fled their country after pre-electoral violence broke out. Photo: IFRC
Severe drought in Mozambique
This picture shows what was previously a lake in Mozambique. Dried up water sources like this one result in failed crops and dead livestock which leads to food insecurity. Photo: IFRC
South Sudan
Since 2011, the Canadian Red Cross has been supporting South Sudan as they recover from unrest, natural disaster, health emergencies. Photo: Canadian Red Cross

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