The last six months have been marked by a number of small and large scale disasters in the Pacific region. The Red Cross Societies of Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Fiji have responded to the needs of communities affected by a devastating earthquake and tsunami, a sunken Ferry, a triple epidemic (cholera, dysentery and influenza), a volcano eruption, floods and a cyclone. Pre-positioned emergency relief items in each country meant that help was immediately at hand for affected communities.
Meteorological disasters are commonplace in the Pacific region and the latter half of 2009 has been no exception. The underlying theme across these disasters is the ability of the national societies and partners to quickly mobilize people, goods and equipment. This ability is partly borne out of an ongoing regional commitment to integrated training and capacity development across the broad range of disaster management disciplines.
The International Federation's International Disaster Response Laws, Rules and Principles (IDRL) Programme promoted legal preparedness in Red Cross and non Red Cross events over the reporting period and progress was made in Vanuatu and Kiribati towards establishing a technical assistance project and legal research.
As part of the International Federation's Global Alliance on HIV, four national societies (Cook Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia and Samoa) have continued, the implementation of HIV programmes with the support of the International Federation. In addition, community based first aid and H1N1 preparedness activities have been supported in these and a number of other national societies.
The International Federation has also provided tailor made organizational development support to the Red Cross Societies of Samoa, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Tonga, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea in the second half of 2009 in strategic and operational planning, volunteering development, financial management, constitutional reviews and the development of funding proposals.