Photo by Daniele Alioisi / Croce Rossa Milano
Photo by Daniele Alioisi / Croce Rossa Milano

Customer Stories

How the Red Cross supports Italy during this time of crisis


Published on May 13, 2020

There’ve been many frightening days over the last few months, but March 11 stands out as one of most.

On that day, Italy reported over 200 deaths from COVID-19, the highest daily count for a country in 2020 at the time (China suffered worse in 2019). The NBA suspended its season, one of the first major cultural acknowledgements of the threat the virus posed to the United States. The same day, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Fast forward to today, and Italy has been through one of the most harrowing couple months in its history. Almost 220,000 cases have led to over a staggering 30,000 deaths.

Over 100,000 people in Italy have also recovered from the virus. And on May 4, things finally started to look up as the nation announced easing of some of its lockdown restrictions. This recovery was only possible because of the work of so many healthcare workers and organizations across the nation, including the Italian Red Cross.

From March 1 to April 30, with Italian hospitals operating beyond their capacity, the Red Cross and its 25,000 volunteers mobilized 6,000 active ambulances, conducting 1,227 outpatient services, and making 10,549 supermarket deliveries to vulnerable people in quarantine.

"Sharing accurate information is critical in stopping the spread of this virus." —Alberto Salvaneschi

“We so grateful for our volunteers and staff,” say Alberto Salvaneschi, Head of Organizational Development for the Italian Red Cross Lombardy region. “It is a very sad time, but we’re also seeing great spirit from our country.”

As part of Dropbox’s NGO product donation program during COVID-19, we’re proud to have donated licenses for the whole Lombardy Red Cross operational team. While the team is just ramping up its usage, they’re already relying on Dropbox for the creation of educational content to keep people healthy. Whether it’s large video clips, infographics for social media, or a simple Word document of frequently asked questions, Dropbox has become the team’s hub for digital content. More so than ever, sharing information quickly is helping save lives.

“Sharing accurate information is critical in stopping the spread of this virus,” Salvaneschi says. “We’re trying to communicate as best as we can the most important news, from experts and teams who have studied this information. The information we spread is written by our medical team, composed by doctors, nurses, and specialized operators. We use Dropbox to share those among our team, and then on social media and our website. It’s all much simpler and faster now.”

Of course, Salvaneschi and his team have had to adjust to working remotely, with collaborators in Rome, Milan, and throughout Lombardy.

“At the beginning, it was very hard to not be all together and discuss face to face,” he says. “We’re trying to stay connected and productive with technology, so we don’t lose time. An instrument like Dropbox is a very important thing because it enables us to be connected to volunteers and people on the front lines. So it is not just a connection for things like documents, but about the connection between people.”

Over the next month, millions of people will come out of lockdown in Lombardy and across Italy. The Red Cross expects to share their information across the region to continue to support people in need, beyond the 100,000 they have already helped.  This will help play a critical role in public safety as life attempts to get back to normal.

To learn more about the Italian Red Cross, watch the video below or check out their website here.