The Suriname Red Cross Society (SRCS), in collaboration with the Canadian Red Cross, hosted the Public Health in Emergency (PHiE) Training, on Monday 30th July, 2018. The training, which saw eighteen participants from all over the world, representing varied national societies, journey to Paramaibo in Suriname, was a week-long activity. It began with welcome remarks from Wbeimar Sanchez, the Public Health Delegate for the Americas Region. Thea Smith, Director General of the Suriname Red Cross Society also welcomed everyone to her country. Regional Director, Walter Cotte gave a brief address that focused on the importance of Health, describing it as “one of our DNA components.” He spoke to the four main factors; Health in Emergencies, Community Health, Health in Complex Settings and Healthy Lifestyles. He made sure to thank the facilitators and their Partner National Societies.

This PHiE training will equip the health officers with skills across a wide range of technical areas from water-borne diseases to sexual and reproductive health in emergencies and prepare them to join surge pools that support Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies to respond to the health issues faced in disasters and crises in the Americas and around the world. This training is particularly important for the Caribbean in the midst of its hurricane season which has often brought with it destructive winds, flooding, and landslides. The training was provided in English, however, is expected to adapt it to the Spanish in the near future in order to get coverage through the region.

The Suriname Red Cross Society also hosted a book launch at the SRCS headquarters on the evening on Monday 30th July. The book, entitled, Saving Lives, Changing Minds, covers seventy-five years of the history of the Surinamese Red Cross Society. It is divided into three periods of twenty-five years and begins in 1940. The launch featured addresses by notable persons including Chiara Wirht, a youth volunteer, the Medical Director of the Blood Bank, Maria Tjon A Loi, as well as Regional Director, Walter Cotte. President of the Suriname Red Cross Society, Marja Naarendorp, detailed the process of getting the project off the ground and Thea Smith, Director General, gave a sense of what the accomplishment means to the SRCS. The book was presented to specially invited guests and a toast. The evening ended with dinner and mingling of the attendees. The events were part of the celebrations for the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Suriname Red Cross Society.

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Author: Red Cross

Evacuation centres housing people forced to flee following last month’s devastating dam collapse have been cut off by more flooding.

Recent monsoon rains have caused a crucial bridge to collapse, leaving more than 3,700 people stranded in harsh conditions at existing camps in Sanamxay. Lao Red Cross volunteers are also stranded in the area.

Emergency supplies were being regularly brought in to the four camps, which are a coordination hub for the humanitarian response. But the latest flooding has caused more destruction and left families isolated in camps without enough supplies, sanitation and support – making a difficult situation even tougher for evacuees. The area is also where helicopters were able to stock up with aid and fly to remote villages inaccessible by road.

People were starting to return home after the flash flooding in Laos

On 23 July, the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam in south-eastern Laos failed, sending 5 billion cubic metres of water down a tributary of the Mekong River. At least 35 people were killed and 100 are missing. More than 13,000 people have been affected across 13 villages in the area.

Members of the Vietnamese Red Cross deliver relief supplies to the Lao Red Cross

Lao Red Cross teams are providing water, hygiene kits, health and hygiene training and psychosocial support for 7,500 people affected by the disaster as part of IFRC’s  2.9 million Swiss francs emergency.

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Author: Red Cross

Four people have been found alive by Italian Red Cross rescuers in Genoa after a busy motorway bridge collapsed.
Vehicles plunged 90 metres from the A10 highway bridge on 15 August when a section of the structure crumbled as traffic queued to cross.

At least 37 people are believed to have been killed, with more people missing. More than 70 rescuers are at the site as the search for survivors continues.

Food, water and psychological support is also being provided to 440 people. Italian Red Cross spokesperson Marcello De Angelis said: “The people we are supporting at the site are survivors, their families and those who were not able to get home.  We’re also providing support to emergency services’ staff who have been working throughout the night.’

Red Cross teams are expected to remain at the site for several days, with fresh teams from nearby branches on standby to deploy.

Photos: Italian Red Cross

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Author: Red Cross

By Husni, IFRC

Help is reaching villages cut off from the outside world more than two weeks after a series of damaging earthquakes struck the Indonesian island of Lombok.

People desperately need food, water and medical care, they told Indonesian Red Cross teams, who drove four hours and then were forced by landslides to walk two kilometres to reach Tangga, a village of 400 in mountainous North Lombok.

Through tears, Rute, 52, said “We have survived thanks to our plantations and the kind support of friends from outside Tangga who used motorbikes to bring us food and bottled water”.

Although the earthquakes and major aftershocks on 29 July, 5 August and 9 August destroyed houses, community centres and water systems in the village, no one was killed or seriously injured. Across Lombok, the official death toll is now more than 430, with 350,000 people displaced.

Still, spending weeks under canvas or plastic is taking its toll on people with underlying sickness, like Rute’s husband, 65.

“My husband, Karmadi, is ill and getting worse as we are camping in the open space. He has respiratory problems and it’s not good for him to be exposed to cold air at night under the tent since the quakes hit and forced their people to live in the open air.”

Also in tears, the head of the sub-village, Muhammad Abdul Aziz, 24, said Tangga relied on close friends’ support to survive.

“We desperately need safe water and food to stay alive.”

On reaching the village, Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia) disaster responders were able to provide first aid and assess immediate needs, arranging for bottled water and rice to be delivered by motorbike that afternoon. Other assistance is on its way.

The Red Cross is the first aid organisation to visit Tangga.

Remote villages are a top priority for the Indonesian Red Cross, which has already assessed many communities where it is providing medical care, food, water, shelter materials and other help.

The Head of Disaster Management for the Indonesian Red Cross, Arifin Muhammad Hadi, said, “We receive reports every day that there are many people who have not been reached with help. We are concerned that they have no place to shelter and have no food or clean water.”

Earthquakes and aftershocks have fractured roads, brought down tonnes of soil on them and damaged bridges, hampering efforts by Indonesian Red Cross teams to each people in need.

“Access to remote communities has been a major challenge for us,” said Arifin Muhammad Hadi.

Nevertheless, more than 400 Red Cross staff and volunteers from all over Indonesia, supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, continue to search for people still in need.

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Author: Red Cross

Abuja / Maiduguri, Nigeria. The World Food Programme (WFP), together with its partner INTERSOS, has distributed fuel-efficient stoves to 7,340 displaced families receiving WFP food assistance in the town of Banki, in Nigeria’s Borno state. The stoves distribution is an effort to improve people’s quality of life and reduce the protection risks faced by women and girls in particular, when they have to gather firewood from unsafe areas. 

Author: WFP

Dozens of Italian Red Cross workers have joined the search and rescue effort in Genoa after a busy motorway bridge collapsed.
Vehicles plunged 90 metres from the A10 highway bridge at 11.30am when a large section of the structure crumbled as traffic queued to cross.

Italian Red Cross spokesperson Marcello De Angelis said: “A massive response has been launched by the Red Cross. Emergency units, with special vehicles and technicians, have gathered from nearby regions as well as from Liguria territorial units.”

Italian Red Cross teams and sniffer dogs are using techniques usually seen in earthquake responses as they attempt to find survivors among the rubble.

Volunteers are also providing psychological support to survivors, witnesses and people affected by the disaster.

Photos: Italian Red Cross

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Author: Red Cross

JERUSALEM – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Palestine welcomed a contribution of €2.95 million (US$3.6 million) from the European Union to support critical food assistance to severely vulnerable Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 

Author: WFP