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Your future, your move

PREDICTING THE FUTURE is a precarious business. But thinking about and preparing for what is likely — or possible — can greatly reduce risks and save lives. Recent wars and disasters, from the ongoing conflict in Mali to floods in Mozambique, show the importance of looking ahead, pre-positioning stocks, getting ready.

The same could be said for the long term.

What do we need to be doing now to prepare for the disasters and conflicts of the next 20, 50 or 150 years? What will the Movement look like in 50 years, at its 200th birthday? Is the world becoming a more humane place due to the growth of humanitarianism? Or are we becoming less humane — surrounded by technology that can improve life and yet can destroy it ever more efficiently?

What have we learned in the last century and a half?

With these questions in mind, we want to engage you, our  readers, in a call for submissions — short essays, works of art, letters, poems, comic strips, photographs — that address these questions. Submissions will be judged by the Red Cross Red Crescent editorial board and published in upcoming editions. Those selected will receive a gift pack of Movement memorabilia and souvenirs. Please visit our web site www.redcross.int for details.

Timeline

150 years of humanitarian action

January 2010: A major earthquake hits Haiti (below), destroying much of Port-au-Prince, killing more than 300,000 people and leaving more than 1 million people without homes. A major relief effort is launched and some US$ 4 billion pledged for reconstruction. Dubbed the first ‘digital disaster’, internet and mobile phone technology are used to recover victims and help target food, water and shelter relief. The IFRC and Haitian Red Cross team up with mobile phone providers to issue hurricane warnings and sanitation messages to thousands of people.

January 2011: A campaign of protest and civil disobedience, fuelled by social media, leads to the ouster of Tunisia’s president, sparking what becomes known as the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings that lead to revolution in Egypt and conflicts in Libya and Syria.

March 2011: An earthquake off the coast of Japan’s north-east Tohoku region creates a tsunami that wipes out several coastal cities and claims more than 15,000 lives. The tsunami breaches the Fukushima nuclear plant, leading to an explosion that causes the heaviest level of nuclear contamination since the Chernobyl disaster.

17 February 2013: The Movement celebrates the 150th anniversary of the creation of the ICRC and the official birth of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

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