some of us, it is something we do every day. For others it
is a sign of new wealth and development. But getting in your
car and driving is a norm in any modern society. What few
of us think about is how dangerous this everyday activity
The International Federation’s 1998 World Disasters
Report, published in 1999, first raised the alarm about safety
on the world’s roads, particularly in developing countries.
And last year, the World Health Organization released a pioneering
report with alarming data. It estimated that worldwide, some
1.2 million people are killed in road crashes each year and
as many as 50 million are injured, often resulting in disability.
About 90 per cent of road accidents happen in developing countries,
most of them among pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists
and passengers of public transport. The report projected that
death and injury on the road will increase by about 65 per
cent over the next 20 years.
Despite the terrifying facts and figures, most people fail
to recognize this very real global public health hazard. But
much can and is being done to reverse this mindset. This issue
of Red Cross Red Crescent highlights the crucial role the
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement plays in
raising road safety standards at the local, national, regional
and global levels. The next step is to ratchet up these efforts
so that every National Society sounds the alarm about road
This issue also features extended coverage of the latest
developments following the Asian tsunami. As the humanitarian
situation has stabilized in the affected countries, governmental
authorities and aid agencies have shifted focus to recovery,
rehabilitation and reconstruction. The Movement is working
in a coordinated manner, with the strengthening of the capacity
of National Societies in tsunami-hit countries a crucial part
of its reconstruction effort.
This extended coverage provides insight into Red Cross and
Red Crescent operations. With the world watching the reconstruction
progress, we need to ensure that assistance to the victims
meets their needs, and that the millions of people who donated
money and material assistance are informed of the obstacles
and achievements on the path to recovery.