Europe

Red Cross to make Spain appeal as economic crisis bites

People line up outside the Ave Maria charity food centre in Madrid, November 2011
Image caption More and more Spaniards rely on food hand-outs

The Red Cross is to make its first ever public appeal in Spain to help those affected by the economic crisis.

It will ask Spanish people to donate money to help 300,000 of the most vulnerable people.

Before the crisis, it mainly helped immigrants but, with one in four adults out of work, more and more Spanish families rely on food hand-outs.

A campaign video shows a family with an all but empty fridge receiving a box of groceries from the Red Cross.

On Wednesday, the organisation will announce its Dia de la Banderita (Little Flag Day) appeal in 30 of the country's provinces, El Pais newspaper reports.

The video shows a Spanish family - a father, son and daughter - sharing an omelette made from a single egg. Their mood lifts when the Red Cross box arrives.

The Spanish Red Cross is one of the country's most-recognised charities, previously best known for making public appeals for disaster-hit and poverty-stricken countries, the BBC's Madrid correspondent Tom Burridge reports.

It is warning of rising levels of inequality, which could lead to social unrest.

On Monday, the IMF forecast that Spain would miss its deficit targets in 2012 and 2013 due to a much bigger economic contraction than forecast by the Spanish government.

It predicted the economy would contract by 1.3% next year, compared to a government forecast of 0.5%.

It estimated that Spain's deficit would reach 7% of GDP in 2012 and 5.7% in 2013, compared with EU-agreed targets of 6.3% and 4.5%, respectively.

The country has the highest unemployment rate - 24.3% - in the EU, while 51.5% of young people are out of work.

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