Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Strong Undercurrent

Today, the communications team at the Chapter partnered with the media to explain the Red Cross's response to the earthquake in Chile and the tsunami warnings throughout the Pacific.

After a relentless and devastating month+ of sharing the story of Haiti's earthquake, the drill felt routine; we'd posted news on our website, talked with you in social media, responded to the media and public's questions... Red Cross business as usual.

The business of sharing information about disaster, though, is always emotional for our team. It's personal. Today, as we reported on the earthquake, we anticipated the waves, and we were very, very uneasy to say the least. We also knew that, here in Chicago, we're still in the risky fire season -- a time when locals, too, lose everything and turn to us for comfort and relief. We respond to several fires on most days. Weekends, sadly, are busier.

Hurricane season beckons near Haiti, and, despite many relief agencies' efforts, the shelter situation on the ground worries us. Today's flooding in Haiti felt foreboding.

People ask me all the time, "Isn't it difficult to talk about disaster every day?" Difficult, yes, but it is work that never lacks meaning. And while talking about disaster is hard, nothing compares to the strong undercurrent of anxiety we feel as we anticipate the next one.

The waves seem to be settling, but still, tonight, I am uneasy.

-- By Jackie Mitchell, Director of Marketing and Communications and "Superfan," American Red Cross of Greater Chicago: @your_mssunshine

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