Two sisters reconnect through Red Cross program
Wars, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and poverty — having plagued humanity for centuries — sadly continue to be part of our heritage today. The terms are synonymous with death, destruction, and the displacement of millions. But in spite of everything, there is still HOPE, manifest in the work of a humanitarian organization that lights the way amid the darkness.
By Samar M. Salma
Tamara is holding a cherished photo of herself, her late husband Oleg, and their daughter, Natalie. (Photo: Samar M. Salma)
From 1941 to 1944, the Germans subjected Leningrad, the former capital of Russia known today as “Saint Petersburg,” to one of the longest and most destructive chapters of World War II. Historians believe that the Siege of Leningrad — occurring over a nearly 900-day period — resulted in the deaths of up to 1.5 million soldiers and civilians and the evacuation of another 1.4 million people, mostly women and children. Read more
These maps have already helped save lives following disasters in Nepal, Haiti, Ecuador, West Africa, and Madagascar.
Each year, disasters around the world kill nearly 100,000 and affect or displace 200 million people. Many of the places where these disasters occur are literally ‘missing’ from any map, and first responders lack the information to make valuable decisions regarding relief efforts. “Missing Maps” is a collaborative project in which organizations, companies, and individuals are helping to map areas where humanitarian organizations are trying to meet the local needs.
The American Red Cross is a key partner in this effort.
In our Red Cross region, a team is being assembled under the auspices of our Corporate Engagement team. Volunteers are needed to take part in this effort, which includes engagement in activities like “Mapathons.”
Mapathons are easy and quick. In one to two hours, we help people to map vulnerable communities around the world. Teams gather in a shared space with computers and a trained internal champion leads the effort. Here’s how it works:
- On a special website, your members see satellite images of remote places.
- With a mouse, they trace the roads and add details like buildings.
- Their work is sent to volunteers with knowledge of the local area, who add details like street names and evacuation centers.
- These new maps are available to everyone online and are heavily used by organizations like the Red Cross to prepare communities and help save lives.
If you are interested in volunteering for this important activity, please email John Chung, a Red Cross volunteer in our region who will be coordinating this training.
For more information about this effort, please visit the Missing Maps web site and/or view this video.
Our Service Delivery Reports provide a roundup of the Northern California Coastal Region’s many activities in each line of service. Here is the most recent report: Read more