Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago: Red Cross disaster preparedness and relief fund launched

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Taking a page from the book of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies with its long established Reserve Fund for Disaster Management, the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society has established a Disaster Preparedness and Relief Fund, to service its local constituents in the event of a disaster.
The fund was launched at the Society's Headquarters on Thursday 16th March 2006.

"The imperative of always being prepared," said Financial Director Ronald Harford, "mandates that the TTRCS increase its capacity in all areas of preparedness, and having a financial reserve will ensure that delays are few at a time when the needs are immediate."

In the past, the practice would be simply to launch an appeal for monetary assistance to support a specific emergency when the need arose.

On the international scene in 2005, the world was overwhelmed at the fallout from numerous natural disasters, as with the magnitude and cost of the rebuilding and restoration of lives and properties.

In our case in Trinidad and Tobago, the devastating flooding from Tropical Storm Emily and the storm surges that occurred along the north coast and other areas of Trinidad and Tobago during the last hurricane season, are only two examples of how seriously livelihoods can be affected: and there were many more instances as in the Rio Claro and Caparo communities not too long ago.

On December 22nd 1989, the United Nations General Assembly designated the second Wednesday of October as International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction.

In 2001 they took a decision to keep this day in focus permanently, to under-score its importance "as a vehicle to promote a global culture of natural disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness."

Preparedness includes not only having a stockpile of goods, and funds available for a disastrous event, but having the financial and human capacity to continually prepare communities to be ready and resilient.

This would include training, simulation interventions, developing learning tools that can remain with the communities as a part of their preparedness /emergency plans and much more.

The TTRCS is appealing to the public for on going contributions to be able to build up a fund that will be utilized locally to assist our own vulnerable communities.

The Trinidad and Tobago public's response to external disasters has traditionally been overwhelming; the national society is now trying to encourage a focusing of that humanitarian response to local needs.

The fund was launched with an opening figure of twenty seven thousand dollars ($27,000) from fund raising activities, and with the first corporate contribution coming from the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago, (Petrotrin).

To give to the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society's Disaster Preparedness and Relief Fund please send your contribution today to account # 180466501801at any branch of Republic Bank, or call 627-8215, or 8128 for information.