Today, we are celebrating World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. This day is dedicated to staff and volunteers of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement that are reaching and supporting people affected by COVID-19 lockdown, quarantine, isolation, loss of jobs, loss of lives, and other humanitarian crises – a commitment to local community action that is “unstoppable”, its leaders said today.
In St Lucia, alongside the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saint Lucia Red Cross staff and volunteers have been supporting communities with the supply of food-vouchers, and food-parcels to improve their food-security. The distribution of cash cards was the first such initiative where individuals received bank cards to make withdrawals of up to $350.00XCD. The training of teachers in the provision of Psychosocial First Aid enhanced their skills and knowledge to better be able to help their students, parents and colleagues deal with the emotions and stress of COVID-19.
Hubert Pierre, President of the Saint Lucia Red Cross said: “In this past year, COVID-19 has brought fear and disruption into the lives of people across St Lucia. This has changed the lives of people who were already affected by loss of income.
“But one thing has not changed: the support provided by Saint Lucia Red Cross volunteers. They have been in communities every day helping with reducing the impact of COVID-19 on families. Their commitment is unstoppable.”
The Movement is comprised of 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies with 160,000 local branches and around 14 million volunteers worldwide, the ICRC, and the IFRC.
It’s estimated that one in every 636 people in the world is a Red Cross or Red Crescent volunteer.
Together, the Red Cross and Red Crescent have reached 650 million people with health and hygiene promotion activities (one in every 12 people), 106 million people with water and sanitation work (1 in 72 people),has given food or in-kind assistance to some 79 million people (one in every 97 people), and more than one million people were connected with their families through phone or video calls, written or verbal messages.
Mr Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: “There are many serious global challenges to address, such as COVID-19, the climate crisis, and support for people on the move.
“But today we have some 14 million reasons to celebrate: our unstoppable volunteers. Every individual act of kindness and support matters – regardless of how small it may seem. This collective local action has a massive global impact every day.”
Mr Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said: “Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers are on the front line of every crisis, sometimes at risk to their own safety. They work relentlessly, with and for communities to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the worst of situations, in armed conflict, disasters and other humanitarian crises.
“World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is our opportunity to pay them tribute, they are making a difference all over the world every day and ensure no one is left behind.