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Five years on: The European economic crisis leaves a legacy of poverty

October 11, 2013 Comments off

Five years on: The European economic crisis leaves a legacy of poverty
Source: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

“Europe is facing its worst humanitarian crisis in six decades,” says IFRC Secretary General Bekele Geleta. “People’s lives have been thrown into turmoil and there seems to be a gradual degradation, with millions existing on a day-to-day basis, with no savings and no buffer to withstand any unforeseen expenses.”

This gradual economic degradation has been noted by many National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Europe, who carried out a mapping exercise in early 2013 to evaluate National Societies’ responses to the crisis. They report an increasing number of ‘working poor’ – people who have some income, but struggle to make ends meet. People who are left with no choice but to ask for support to pay their bills, to avoid having their utilities cut off, or worse, to avoid being evicted because they cannot pay their rent or mortgage. At the same time, those who were already poor have found that with increasing poverty, the way back into mainstream society has become more difficult.

The new report documents that this is not only happening in the countries typically associated with the crisis, but in many others too. In France, for example, an additional 350,000 people have fallen below the poverty line since 2009, a trend mirrored in many other countries.

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Europe have responded by increasing their domestic relief assistance and social programmes. During 2012, food aid was distributed to approximately 3.5 million Europeans by 22 National Societies – an increase of 75 per cent compared to 2009. Hundreds of thousands more are being assisted with advice, financial or material help, or psychosocial support.

The effects of the crisis will be felt for decades, even if there is an economic upturn. In Latvia, the Red Cross is now distributing food to more than 140,000 people, many years after the country officially came out of the crisis. Furthermore, indiscriminate cuts in healthcare budgets can lead to weakened health systems, reduced investment in prevention measures and less confidence in the system. This is a story that is played out across many European countries.

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World Disasters Report 2011- Focus on hunger and malnutrition

October 24, 2011 Comments off

World Disasters Report 2011- Focus on hunger and malnutrition
Source: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

This year’s World Disasters Report focuses on the growing crisis of hunger and malnutrition. Smallholder farmers who produce half the world’s food are among the almost 1 billion people who go to bed hungry every night. Millions of children suffer the irreversible effects of undernutrition. Increasing food insecurity weakens people’s resilience to disasters and disease, and people everywhere are experiencing the increasing volatility of food prices.

This year’s World Disasters Report focuses on the growing crisis of hunger and malnutrition. Smallholder farmers who produce half the world’s food are among the almost 1 billion people who go to bed hungry every night. Millions of children suffer the irreversible effects of undernutrition. Increasing food insecurity weakens people’s resilience to disasters and disease, and people everywhere are experiencing the increasing volatility of food prices.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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