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"War on terror" diverting aid from huge natural, industrial disasters: Red Cross

Major donors are diverting funds to Iraq and Afghanistan, away from crises which have a lower political and media profile but which affect many more people, the Red Cross said. “While countries targeted in the ‘war against terror’ have attracted unprecedented levels of humanitarian and reconstruction aid, other — arguably more pressing — crises languish in the shadows,” Abbas Gullet, disaster management director for the Federation of International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told a news briefing on Wednesday. Natural and industrial disasters affected 600 million people in 2002 — three times more on average than in any of the previous 10 years, according to the Red Cross’ 2003 World Disasters Report, published on Thursday. A total 24,500 people lost their lives. The report covers industrial disasters, transport accidents and natural catastrophes like hurricanes, earthquakes, avalanches, volcanic eruptions, storms, floods and drought. Severe drought in India affected 300 million people in 2002, it said. Full Story

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