Global PR industry can aid disaster relief

A report on the role of PR in the Asian tsunami tragedy has called for the creation of a global structure to handle communications for the prevention and relief of natural disasters.

Based on a survey of PR professionals in affected and donor countries, the report – prepared for the Global Alliance of Public Relations and Communications Management - reviews the response of the communications industry to the Tsuami disaster.

'Disaster Communication: Lessons from the Asian Tsunami Tragedy' stresses the importance of PR in creating and promoting fundraising events, encouraging business to be generous with cash and support and handling pro-bono activities for relief organisations. It reminds organisations that genuine corporate assistance can transform connections with local communities, however, warns against using disaster as an opportunity for self-promotion.

Michael Morley, deputy chairman at Edelman, presented ten specific recommendations at the 2nd World PR Festival in Trieste last week. They include adopting the 'Power of Two '– a partnership between the American Red Cross and the PRSA arising from 9/11 – on a global scale. The initiative, which should be managed by the Global Alliance and the International Red Cross, would see the recruitment and training of volunteer PR professionals to handle wide-scale emergencies. Other suggestions include national association members encouraging corporations to train PR executives to work with relief agencies during emergencies, and creating guidelines for the revival of tourism.

The full paper will be published on GA and IPRA organisation and member sites.

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