Former French Minister
President of the Red Helmets Foundation
Not a month goes by without a hurricane, a storm or an earthquake striking our planet. 2011 was not spared. On the 11th of March, Japan experienced its worst earthquake ever, followed by a violent tsunami. Because of them, more than 15,000 people have died or disappeared.
Forced to face this huge disaster, the Japanese government waited for a few days before allowing NGOs and foreign rescue teams on their soil. Well-prepared and trained, Japanese people met the challenges raised by this crisis, but the dealing with disappeared people was much more difficult. 200 on the first day, 1,000 within a week and 10,000 in less than a month.
To help all the people victims of global environmental change, the Red Helmets Foundation designs innovative solutions, aimed to back up the action of field humanitarian workers. MISSING.NET has thus been launched right after the Japanese disaster, just as our satellite container Emergesat had been dispatched in Haiti, a few hours after the major earthquake, to re-establish a local communication network.
As far as the Red Helmets Foundation staff is concerned, 2011 has been a year of commitment. Our main mission is the following: humanitarian action is for the many, not the few. With this in mind, the second edition of Humani’BOOK, the humanitarian book fair, offered a great opportunity to the public, i.e meeting more than thirty-five committed writers who shared their experience. The third edition of the « Challenge Humanitech », student contest of humanitarian invention, took place in this perspective as well. Young people showed perfectly their will to build a fair and sustainable world.
Natural disasters are not likely to decrease. On the contrary and according to prevision, 375 millions of people might be victims of global warming by 2015. Together, we have to create a new humanitarian governance. We have to continue our fight, to create Red Helmets at the UN.