Global Disaster Preparedness Center Launch

Contact: Public Affairs

Phone: (202) 303-5551

media@redcross.org

Washington, October 11, 2012 - The American Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) announced today the launch of the Global Disaster Preparedness Center. The center is a globally focused reference resource to support learning and knowledge sharing for disaster preparedness practitioners in the Red Cross and Red Crescent network as well as the wider humanitarian community.

The center will offer a range of services and initiatives in the next year, including development of an interactive website to foster learning, exchange of knowledge through a practitioner conference, and a research program to study topics such as the value of social media in public awareness and cost benefit analyses of disaster preparedness interventions.

The center will provide practical, timely and technologically savvy services to support on-the-ground disaster preparedness practitioners. For example, a platform for smartphone app customization will enable Red Cross and Red Crescent partners around the world to adapt, translate and promote preparedness apps in their own countries, like the ones developed by the American and British Red Cross societies.

Disaster preparedness and risk reduction activities are part of the ongoing programming that the Red Cross conducts around the world. Increases in the frequency and intensity of disasters, coupled with rapid urbanization and climate change have increased vulnerability for many people. However, by taking relatively simple preparedness steps, individuals and communities can mitigate the potentially harmful effects of these trends to save lives, assets and property.

By launching the Global Disaster Preparedness Center, the American Red Cross and the IFRC are deepening their commitments to expanding this important work around the world, in both rural and urban areas.

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About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.