The fight against Zika

As the Zika virus spread rapidly through the Americas earlier this year, teams of Red Cross volunteers hit the streets, getting the message out about how to interrupt the spread of this mosquito-borne disease, which has been linked to an increase in the birth of babies with microcephaly and to Guillain-Barré syndrome. Zika is transmitted by the same Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries dengue and chikungunya, so the way to stop transmission from these daytime-biting mosquitoes to humans is to reduce the number of places with standing water, where mosquitoes breed, and to wear insect repellent consistently throughout the day, among other measures. “In the battle against Zika, knowledge is power,” says Julie Lyn Hall, the IFRC’s director of health.

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What happens when machines can decide who to kill?

It’s the stuff of science fiction: machines that make decisions about who and when to kill. Referred to as “autonomous weapons”, they’re already in use to some degree. But as more sophisticated systems are being developed we wanted to an expert in the field about whether such systems comply with international humanitarian law and what it means for humanity to give machines the power over human life and death.

‘Wildfire diaries’ and radical change in communications

In this episode, we talk with humanitarian communicator Kathy Mueller who produced our first magazine podcast series, The Wildfire Diaries, about massive wildfires in Northern Canada in 2017. We talk about that series, her many international missions, and the big changes in humanitarian communications since she began with the Canadian Red Cross almost 20 years ago.

The power of storytelling

In this episode, we talk about the power of storytelling to inform and inspire. “Storytelling is a fundamental aspect of human communication,” says our guest Prodip, a volunteer and multi-media storyteller for the Bangladesh Red Crescent. “It inspires us to be a hero of our own community.” We also speak with one such community hero, Dalal al-Taji, a longtime volunteer and advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities in emergencies response. “In disasters. persons with disabilities sometimes get forgotten.”

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