NGO watch: US hurricanes keep Red Cross in media spotlight

After a busy August, the Red Cross gained even more column inches in September after hurricanes Katrina and Rita tragically ripped through the southern US.

The subsequent clean-up operation in New Orleans, in which the Red Cross asked for '40,000 extra volunteers', increased an already high profile following July's London bombings.

Perhaps because of the hurricanes dominating headlines it was a relatively slow month for charity coverage in general. Oxfam garnered some media space by highlighting emerging humanitarian disasters in Malawi and Zimbabwe. It also latched onto the 'bra wars' row between China and Europe. Oxfam claimed demand for cut-price clothes was detrimental to workers in supplier countries.

Meanwhile, Age Concern campaigned to improve benefits uptake among pensioners. It said up to £2.9bn of state benefits went unclaimed each year.

The British Heart Foundation found itself back in the NGO Watch top ten after a study revealed overweight children were at greater risk of heart disease in later life.

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