News / Europe

Red Cross Struggling to Aid Europe's 'New Poor'

A homeless man holds a sign that reads "I am hungry" in the northern port town of Thessaloniki, Greece, Jan. 15, 2013.
A homeless man holds a sign that reads "I am hungry" in the northern port town of Thessaloniki, Greece, Jan. 15, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reports it is struggling to provide assistance to increasing numbers of new poor in Europe.
 
The latest statistics by the European Union show more than 26 million people are out of work across the 27 EU nations, which remain in the grip of an economic recession, with many more unemployed in the rest of Europe and Central Asia.
 
After surveying their 52 national societies (IFRC chapters) to determine how the crisis is affecting their activities and ability to cope with the increased needs, IFRC officials warn that millions are suffering from welfare cuts and lack of food aid and medical care, and that many face evictions and homelessness.
 
The French Red Cross is reporting a 14 percent increase since last year in the number of people asking for assistance. The Danish Red Cross says at Christmas it had a 100 percent increase in the number of people asking for aid since 2009. Lithuania reports that it has increased its food distribution from 30,000 people in 2006 to 100,000 people in 2012.
 
Europe Zone Red Cross Director Anitta Underlin says the growing number of people turning to the Red Cross for assistance shows the depth of the crisis.
 
“For the first time ever last year at the annual collection day, the Spanish Red Cross decided to collect money for the people in Spain. 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.”
 
Georg Habsburg, former president of the Hungarian Red Cross, says countries in Central Europe are reeling from the economic recession. In Hungary, he says, 31 percent of the population is affected by poverty and worsening living conditions.
 
“When you suddenly are confronted with a letter, people writing you, ‘Please, can you provide me with firewood because if I have to think about how to heat my apartment in winter times; I do not know how to buy food,' ... [you realize] this is a big quiet majority that is suffering very much," he said.
 
The Red Cross says it is unfortunate that government and donor support for Red Cross operations are decreasing at the same time the needs of people across Europe are increasing.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 31, 2013 2:52 PM
The US is a country, the EU is not. The sit of some of the countries in the EU is very dire; Spain, over 26% unemployment, Greece pushing 30%, Slovenia pushing over 22% etc. The UK now has over 500,000 Polish people in it and so on. These migrations will continue because there is a massive unbalance in the production capacity distribution in the EU. The economic policies of the EU (Union), opened the markets, but did not share the production capacities. The production capacities are an impacting issue in the efficiency and the optimization of products. The end result is that Germany, which has the largest production capacity in many, if not most, products greatly benefited from the opening of the markets. In many cases, the German production overcapacity is far greater than the combined production capacity, in the particular product, of all the total production capacity of the smaller nations in the E Union. Germany is the 3rd (or 4th) largest GDP/producer/exporter in the world. The Smaller EU nations can't possibly compete against the German producers; end result was that many of the producers in the smaller nations, that used to employ people and supply the internal makets, have been forced out of business. Employment prospects are not good at all in those small countries for good paying jobs. For the entire situation to improve, in the small EU countries, an economic change needs to occur, essentially a rebalance and distribution of the production side of the open markets needs to be addressed, or for ever more the smaller countries will not be able to provide meaningful employment for their citizens. Thus opening markets with out ensuring a production re- balance has been a tragedy for many of the small countries in the EU.


by: david from: us
January 31, 2013 12:03 PM
EU has 500 million people and 26 million are out of work,- that is 5%)
They are doing better then United States


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 30, 2013 5:09 PM
The terrible tight economic policies in the EU will destroy the fibre of many societies; as you reach 25%-30% unemployment; entire social groups will start falling appart. Such economic policies are a total recepe for social disaster. At the end of the day, Mrs. Merckel will regret pushing the rest of the EU into a a disastrous economic abbys. The disentegration of the social norms and classes, will create a massive number of economic migrants, most of which will end up in the countries with the best social/economic benefits. Such a migration will end up raising ugly nationalist and racist groups, that resent migrants. It is unfortunate, that the people of Greece, who normally are happy and easy going, are starting to experience the bad effects of terrible economic policies. Spain, a normally happy and easy going people, also are starting on a path, from which recovery will be difficult, if at all; centrifugal forces will drive Spain appart. France is also in a oneway situation, and it will be a very ugly outcome. There is a need to economically rebalance internal national markets and the national workforces. Down stream, protection of home markets,supply/demand, through tarriffs will not be avoided; these tarriffs can be eased as conditions improve. Economies can't recover without markets, and those markets start at home for home produced products. Worse case scenario is the spectrum of revolutions.


by: famullar from: Dar-Es-Salaam Tanzania
January 30, 2013 3:40 PM
Eurozone banks are continuing to tighten their lending rules even as their own access to funding is improving, the European Central Bank said on Wednesday. But demand for credit in the 17 countries that share the euro could soon be stabilising, adding to evidence of a calming in the financial markets, ECB data showed. In its latest quarterly Bank Lending Survey, which quizzed a sample of 131 banks in the euro area, the ECB said slightly more banks said they would tighten the criteria that businesses must meet to take out loans in the first quarter of the year. A net 15 percent of respondents indicated they would do so, after a net 13 percent of banks had already tightened their credit standards in the fourth quarter, the survey -- conducted between December 14 and January 10 -- showed. At the same time, the survey found that banks' access to retail and wholesale funding had improved in the fourth quarter of 2012 and would continue to do so in the first quarter of this year. On the demand side, overall demand for loans remained weak but could soon be showing the first signs of stabilisation, the survey said. While euro area banks "continued to report a pronounced net decline in demand for loans to enterprises in the fourth quarter of 2012," there was a less pronounced decline in demand for loans to households for house purchase and for consumer credit, it said. Looking ahead to the current quarter, "banks expect a less pronounced net decline in demand for loans to enterprises," the ECB added. Earlier this week, separate ECB data showed that demand for credit remains weak, with Eurozone bank loans to the private sector declining by 0.7 percent in December compared with the same month in 2011 after already shrinking by 0.8 percent in November. Nevertheless, analysts believed the financial markets are slowly on the mend. I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid