Vanuatu Red Cross prepares provincial branches for disaster response

Thirty-five volunteers from Tafea and Malampa Red Cross branches have been learning how to respond to disasters as part of an Emergency Response Training.

According to Vanuatu Red Cross Society, Disaster Management Coordinator, Augustin Garae, the objectives of the training are to build their human resource preparedness and response capacities to undertake and manage the basic requirements of the Red Cross’ response in times of disaster or emergency within their local communities.

However, in large-scale disasters where there is no Red Cross branch presence, they may be dispatched to respond outside of their own communities.

“We expect that Red Cross branch officers/managers and volunteers are well skilled and experience to be deployed within their communities or to other provinces. This training will enable them to work independently on the ground in times of disaster as frontline of Red Cross in the field to support the Society partners such as assisting the Provincial Government, Community Disaster climate Change Committees (CDCCC’s),” said Mr. Garae.

Distance, time and costs are acknowledged problems in disaster response in Vanuatu.

All too frequently disasters occur in remote islands or communities often difficult to access the locations.

Pacific islands National Societies’ are generally small and at the best have one or two dedicated Managers based in their national office.

Generally, there is a big gap of having experience disaster manager’s, especially at remote or local branches.

When a disaster does occur in a location away from the national office, the National Society is faced with a dilemma, either to send their disaster manager to the site (expensive even if accessible) which then creates a vacuum of disaster management expertise in the national office or to rely on inexperienced personnel at branch level.

The problem was identified with a proposed solution. A training was designed called Emergency Response Team training are composed of local Red Cross Volunteers based at the branches.

The ERT training was held according the mandate of Red Cross to respond to communities after a disaster.

Photo supplied. Caption: Training conducted for Red Cross volunteers in Malampa province.


Tensly Sumbe