Menus Subscribe Search

Follow us


Economics: Red Cross Getting Tired of Carrying Austerity Fallout

• January 31, 2013 • 9:10 AM

images-3

A tricky word, “developed.”

It’s hard to find much silver lining in Europe’s now-five-year-long economic collapse. But: at least could shift how what it means to be a “rich” or “poor” country. The trusty Voice of America reports today that the Red Cross, which first began as a stretcher-bearer’s service on European battlefields, is now having trouble answering all the requests for basic needs from austerity-wracked European populations. Including such notable trouble spots as…Copenhagen?

According to the Red Cross numbers, local chapters in Denmark, which tracked Christmas handouts since 2009, faced a 100 percent increase in people seeking assistance for basic needs like food and shelter. In Lithuania the number of people seeking services from the Red Cross rose more than threefold, from 30,000 people to 100,000. A Red Cross director in Spain noted that for the first time in the national chapter’s history, it wasn’t aiding poor people elsewhere, but Spaniards. Per VOA:

“It is the first time ever,” she said. “They normally collect money to send to Africa and to Asia or to vulnerable people elsewhere. For the first time, the crisis is so high in Spain that they decided to aim at their own country.”

The Italian Red Cross is claiming a wave of “new poor” among divorcees, notably men, who have jobs but can’t pay for new housing after leaving a spouse:

Divorce is a common cause of homelessness, with many men continuing to work, but sleeping in the Terminal of the Linate Airport. They arrive at night, well-dressed, with a suitcase containing their belongings. They sleep on the armchairs, keep warm in the lounges and have access to water for washing in the toilets. The morning after, they head into work as if nothing happened.

The same report said the local chapter of the charity distributes 50,000 meals per month in Milan, reaching only one in three of the 150,000 it believes require assistance.

Marc Herman
Marc Herman is a writer in Barcelona. He is the author of The Shores of Tripoli.

More From Marc Herman

Tags: , ,

If you would like to comment on this post, or anything else on Pacific Standard, visit our Facebook or Google+ page, or send us a message on Twitter. You can also follow our regular updates and other stories on both LinkedIn and Tumblr.

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Follow us


Subscribe Now

Quick Studies

Banning Chocolate Milk Was a Bad Choice

The costs of banning America's favorite kids drink from schools may outweigh the benefits, a new study suggests.

In Battle Against Climate Change, Cities Are Left All Alone

Cities must play a critical role in shifting the world to a fossil fuel-free future. So why won't anybody help them?

When a Romance Is Threatened, People Rebound With God

And when they feel God might reject them, they buddy up to their partner.

How Can We Protect Open Ocean That Does Not Yet Exist?

As global warming melts ice and ushers in a wave of commercial activity in the Arctic, scientists are thinking about how to protect environments of the future.

What Kind of Beat Makes You Want to Groove?

The science behind the rhythms that get you on the dance floor.

The Big One

One state—Pennsylvania—logs 52 percent of all sales, shipments, and receipts for the chocolate manufacturing industry. March/April 2014