An interactive game made by a schoolboy in his bedroom ‘studio’ has been launched by the Red Cross today, to highlight how preparing for a natural disaster can protect communities in crisis.
Fourteen-year-old Morgan Spence of Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, made the film Disaster Island, using Lego characters, a basic webcam and a laptop. The film is the centrepiece of a British Red Cross campaign to help people understand the importance of ‘resilience’ – the ability to prepare for, withstand and recover from disasters.
With typhoons, earthquakes and landslide lurking, the Disaster Island Challenge, uses Lego to depict scenarios for players to choose where they’d prefer to live – on a farm, in a bustling city or by the coast.
“The terrible flooding in parts of the UK at the moment shows that disasters don’t just happen on the other side of the world,” Morgan, a third year pupil at Johnstone High School, said.
“Making Disaster Island has taught me a lot about the Red Cross and the work they do at home and abroad. I understand how important resilience is – being properly prepared can save lives. If my film helps other people understand the importance of resilience and makes them think, then I’ll be very proud. It’s a film with a serious message but I had a lot of fun making it and I’m sure people will have fun playing the game,” the Scottish lad added.
In creating the animations, Morgan uses a technique called “stop-motion”, which is a sequence of photographs played very fast to form the illusion that an object or character is moving. Morgan takes a slow and meticulously process of taking single photos and moving the characters, then repeating the process until he achieves the desired shot.
Disaster Island shows how the Red Cross works with communities, through its local volunteers and staff, to find practical ways to be ready when crisis strikes, be it flooding, earthquakes, storms or illness.
The game will take people to the British Red Cross website, where people can see what we are doing to build resilience in local communities. This includes providing care and support to people with HIV/ Aids in Lesotho, improving health care for mothers and young children in Myanmar, helping people be prepared for natural disasters such as earthquakes in Nepal and providing health education in Sierra Leone.
Paul Jenkins, Red Cross head of partnership development, said: “Disaster Island highlights the importance of resilience in a simple way. It illustrates the need to work with communities to take action beforehand to make sure that the impact of disasters is drastically reduced.
“Our work to build resilience within communities has been guiding what we do for decades and is as important now as ever.”
Words by: Nic Jones