Red Cross volunteers in collaboration with individuals from other agencies are conducting damage assessments and needs analysis. A special four-member team has also been sent from the National Headquarters to St. Thomas and Portland to assess the needs of people in shelters and damage caused to communities by Hurricane Dennis.
All 13 Red Cross branches, Jamaica Red Cross National Intervention and Community Disaster Response Teams (CDRT) were on alert prior to the hurricane and the society's Disaster Mental Health Unit is also prepared to visit badly affected communities to provide psychosocial support, an area that is sometimes neglected in disaster response. (See attached additional information on disaster related stress and how one can identify and deal with it).
For those who were in their homes during the disaster, and who have been adversely affected, assistance though urgently needed remains elusive for now due to the inaccessibility of some of these communities caused by deteriorated road conditions. In one area in St. Thomas for example, the road leading to Cedar Valley is cut in two, preventing passage to or from the community. In circumstances like these, the need for helicopters becomes urgent so the much needed relief items could be airlifted.
The Jamaica Red Cross had already pre-positioned items in some parishes such as St. Ann and St. Elizabeth and continue with the process of packaging and dispatching food items such as rice, flour, sugar, cooking oil, corned beef, mackerel, sardines and dried soup mix along with non-food items such as tarpaulins, blankets, mattresses, bleach, and disinfectant to the parishes most affected.
The society, which is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, continues to execute the mission of the Red Cross 'to improve the lives of the most vulnerable.'
Persons or organizations wishing to donate funds towards the relief operations may contact the Jamaica Red Cross National Headquarters at telephone 876-984-7860-2, fax 876-984-8272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.