Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 27, 2017 (SKNIS): When disaster strikes, key institutions such as the Red Cross are called upon to aid in disaster response and recovery. Director General of the St. Kitts and Nevis Red Cross, Natalie Fough, explained the role of the Red Cross on the government’s weekly programme, “Working for You” on September 27, 2017.
“We play a supportive role to government and in that sense, our supportive role to government will be [through] NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency),” stated Mrs. Fough, as she explained that the Red Cross has two branches and six districts spread throughout the islands. The districts are located in Basseterre; Cayon; St. Pauls; Sandy Point; Verchilds; and Charlestown, Nevis.
Mrs. Fough said that the Red Cross currently has approximately 150 volunteers on call who they reach out to in time of disasters to aid it in its relief efforts. She explained that the Red Cross disaster management plan goes into effect when NEMA alerts the organization of impending disaster, which then leads to the mobilization of volunteers.
“When we do our assessments, we will indicate as to who will need what,” explained Mrs. Fough, while stating that the Red Cross offers supplies such as tarpaulin, blankets, kitchen sets, hygiene kits and other basic necessities, which are distributed to shelters for at least the first 72 hours prior to and after a natural disaster.
While the Red Cross is relied upon to provide first aid support, the organization also issues mental support after natural disasters for persons who are socially displaced as a result. Mrs. Fough explained that “psychosocial” support is often overlooked when it comes to disaster relief. “You have persons out there in the community that would need it [support], pre and after the hurricane,” she added.
She also noted that the Red Cross will be assisting in the dissemination of materials and funds to the islands devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. She announced that the Red Cross will be starting a fund and is asking the general public to donate whatever they can to aid those countries that were severely affected.
Mrs. Fough outlined that the Red Cross is not only responsible for first aid but also training, educating and tracing. She outlined that tracing is an important aspect of what the institution does, as it helps persons in the army who have lost loved ones to attend their funeral services and safely return to their bases without restrictions.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Red Cross is encouraging persons to join the organization’s humanitarian efforts by volunteering to be members.
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