El Niño sweeps southern Africa

As El Niño-related drought conditions swept across southern Africa, some 49 million people will likely be struggling to get adequate food by the end of the year, according to the IFRC. Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe all declared states of emergency, as have seven of South Africa’s nine provinces. Mozambique declared a ‘red alert’ in its central and southern provinces. In response, the IFRC has announced a US$ 110 million, four-year initiative to support the response of National Red Cross Societies in drought-affected countries in southern Africa. In addition to relief efforts, including emergency distributions of cash, the initiative will help at-risk communities expand traditional livelihoods. In one project, the Malawi Red Cross Society provides families with goats to breed and sell for income. The families then return some livestock to help other families.

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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.

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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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