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OCTOBER 2013 | NEWSLETTER

BRINGING SMILES TO THOSE AFFECTED BY CONFLICT

 Janet Askew bringing smiles to the local children at Gumbo health clinic, South Sudan.

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ased in Beirut, Lebanon, Janet Askew is amazed by the resilience of the people she meets and helps; people who have been displaced by the devastating conflict in Syria. One woman really stuck in Janet's mind. “She told me that the house she was in was hit by a shell and all her sisters, daughters, and friends that were with her were killed. Still, she manages to give me a big smile and converse each time I visit her".

“Amazing the resilience of some people.” As a part of her role, Janet is managing

a team of local nurses and starting up a surgical project in the Akkar Valley, east of Tripoli.

helping refugees and war wounded.

“The Syrian refugees have terrible injuries of all types – gunshot wounds, burns, fractures, large chunks of flesh missing from explosions, amputations, and head injuries. Some recover and are discharged, but sadly, many have died even in the short time I have been here.”

It is estimated that more than 665,000 people who have fled Syria since the start of the conflict are now in Lebanon, putting extreme pressure on the tiny country. It is the support of aid workers like Janet that is helping to alleviate the pain and suffering of the thousands who have fled their homes and crossed the border with virtually no possessions.

Janet’s first mission for New Zealand Red Cross was in 2003 when she helped administer vaccinations against polio and measles in South Sudan. She has also worked in Indonesia and Iraq. Her current mission in Lebanon is her sixth and she will be stationed there for six months,

It is with your support that essential items like food, hygiene kits, mattresses, blankets, cooking utensils and household equipment are distributed to people affected by such disasters. These items bring hope in tragic and heartbreaking times.


Melanie Ogle, Nairobi.

PROVIDING THE RESOURCES TO RESPOND

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ucklander Melanie Ogle has travelled widely, to places like Nairobi, Botswana, Malawi, Benin, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia. However, Melanie isn’t there to sightsee. She is helping communities respond to natural disasters, such as flooding, droughts, landslides, earthquakes, pestilence and storms.

As a disaster management aid worker based in Nairobi since mid-2012, Melanie has seen the troubles and tragedies that the vulnerable people of Africa face. “It

can be challenging to get things done quickly in Africa, but if we weren’t here I’m not sure the African national societies would have the resources to do this job,” she says.

"I definitely think that we make a difference." Melanie's main focus is in southern Africa where she helps other Red Cross national societies with their disaster response. “I definitely think that we make a difference” she says. Melanie is not only

changing lives but ensuring that when disaster strikes communities get the help they need as quickly as possible. Melanie’s work is very diverse – she has been involved in the Red Cross response to fires, cholera and malaria outbreaks, food insecurity, and the odd boat sinking or plane crash, so it is easy to see that she plays a critical role in improving the lives of the thousands of men, women and children, who turn to the Red Cross for help.

TYPES OF AID WORKER

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ed Cross aid workers are at the forefront of the work we do overseas. At any one time we have approximately 20 highly trained aid workers in the field who provide crucial assistance in a range of technical areas, helping vulnerable communities plan, prepare and respond to conflicts and disasters, and alleviating the suffering of people across the globe. These are some of the specialist roles:

NEW ZEALAND RED CROSS

Water and Sanitation

Health

Water & sanitation aid workers are specialists in ensuring a clean water supply is available and ensuring hygiene and sanitation processes are in place, including after a disaster. In the Pacific where cyclones and drought are common, New Zealand Red Cross has helped provide and oversee the operation of desalination units that turn abundant sea-water into clean, drinkable water.

Health aid workers cover a range of roles in the humanitarian field, including community-health practitioners, physiotherapists, ward nurses, and surgeons. They help to establish and support existing health authorities, and provide expertise in a range of settings and situations. This may include treating weapon wounded patients during a conflict, visiting detention centres, or supporting programmes to manage the spread of communicable diseases such as cholera during an emergency.


Cate Keville training local Kiribati Red Cross instructors in first aid.

AID WORKER PROFILE Name: Cate Keville Specialty: Pacific first aid instructor Missions: Kiribati and Fiji Current mission: Fiji Why did you become a Red Cross aid worker? For the challenge and satisfaction of upskilling and training people so they can go into their communities and teach first aid, which in turn saves lives.

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ate Keville never dreamed she would end up as a New Zealand Red Cross aid worker, but now she’s in the job she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

IT and Telecommunication IT and telecommunications specialists help establish and maintain a communication infrastructure as part of preparedness for, and response to, an emergency or disaster. Efficient and reliable communications are critical during a humanitarian response, especially when meeting the needs of vulnerable communities that are already remote, or communication is further impacted by the impact of a disaster.

Asked why she became an aid worker Cate says, “for the challenge and satisfaction of upskilling and training people so they can go into their communities and teach first aid – which in turn saves lives”. As a trained primary school teacher, Cate has always been confident in front of a class. After four years teaching first aid for Red Cross in Wellington, she started travelling to the Pacific to teach others her first aid skills, so they too could support vulnerable people. During her time in the Pacific, Cate has worked closely with the Kiribati Red Cross and has trained several new first aid instructors. This has doubled its total number of instructors, providing lifesaving support and advice to isolated communities. Kiribati is a small Pacific nation prone to cyclones and drought, so it is critical that Cate can help build

community resilience by training the people who will help during disasters. Cate says her work is already showing its worth. “One instructor went into a village called Bonriki and gave a first aid demonstration. The very next day a man who had attended saved his young neighbour from drowning,” she says. “Another instructor taught first aid in the village of Betio, and a grandmother she taught has since saved her baby granddaughter from choking twice, and treated many other people in the village for injuries like burns. It’s great to see them passing on the skills I’ve taught them, and it makes me feel like I’m making a real difference.” Cate can only give communities first aid knowledge with you support. Thank you for allowing Cate to share her skills and help thousands of individuals with first aid care.

Security Security is an increasingly critical component of any humanitarian activity, and security aid workers assist in keeping staff, facilities, and resources safe and secure. This is done by ensuring all Red Cross staff stick to security rules and regulations and adhere to health and safety policy. While security and safety is the responsibility of all aid workers in the field, the role of a security aid worker may require the monitoring of developing situations in the field, such as during developing conflicts or civil unrest, and limit staff activities as a response.

To get an insight on our aid workers and their heroic day-to-day stories, visit their blog at: www.redcross.org.nz/blog

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NATIONAL OFFICE PO Box 12140, Wellington 69 Molesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington 6144 Phone: 0800 697 277 Email: projectpartners@redcross.org.nz Website: www.redcross.org.nz @NZRedCross

ANA ZARKOVIC MAKING A DIFFERENCE extreme water shortages. In 2011, Ana headed to Pakistan as a Red Cross aid worker, specialising in water sanitation and habitat work. For eleven months she initiated and implemented water supply programmes within vulnerable communities.  Ana, providing clean drinking water for locals in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

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he term ‘making a difference’ could almost be the tagline for humanitarian work. Certain experiences trigger the desire to support others. For Ana, it was travelling through Peru, Thailand and Brazil. “While travelling you see the challenging conditions people live in. This gave me the desire to make a difference,” says Ana. Her background in engineering, and experience on various water and sanitation projects, makes Ana the ideal candidate to improve the living conditions of those struggling with

Ana’s next two missions saw her responding to severe droughts that had struck the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The lack of safe drinking water had caused health problems like diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, and influenza, and killed breadfruit trees and banana plants, two fruit bearing crops relied upon by locals. “When we arrived the situation was reaching crisis point. The locals were incredibly resourceful and resilient but were running out of resources,” says Ana. Ana is now back in the Marshall Islands for six months, this time as an early recovery aid worker, focusing on establishing rainwater harvesting systems which will help the community prepare for and respond to future droughts.

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QUICK FACTS Since January 2013 Red Cross has been supporting people affected by the conflict in Syria by providing:

2 million 20 million 25,000 26 people with food.

people with drinking water.

refugees with first aid treatment.

facilities with first aid equipment and medical supplies.

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hospital staff with mass casualty training. *Source: ICRC

WINTER WARMER PACKS BRING WARMTH AND SMILES Even to this day people are struggling with the impact of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. To help those still affected to get out of the cold

this winter, New Zealand Red Cross distributed 8,250 ‘Winter Warmer Packs’. The packs, made up and distributed by volunteers, contained basic items like, blankets, hot chocolate,

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nnouncing the appointment of Tony Paine as the New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General. Tony comes to his new role with a real heart for human service and for organisations like Red Cross, which contribute to the wellbeing of individuals and the strength of communities.

 NZRC Secretary General Tony Paine.

"I enjoy living in a community where people are connected with each other and can participate in all the great things

soup, draught stoppers, gloves, a warm hat and vital information on how to stay warm and healthy.

New Zealand has to offer, where families and whanau are supported by a web of relationships and resources, where no-one is left behind or alone in times of trouble,” says Tony. “Together we will work to grow the resilience and ability of the organisation to achieve its mission of improving the lives of vulnerable people by harnessing the power of humanity.”


KindRed Newsletter October 2013