रेड क्रॉस संवाद Indian Red Cross Society's E-newsletter | February 2019

From Secretary General's Desk

R K Jain, IAS (Rtd.), Secretary General IRCS, NHQ

I am happy to share the February edition of रेड क्रॉस संवाद, the Indian Red Cross Society’s monthly e-Newsletter. First of all, I would like to express gratitude for the encouraging response and feedback that we have received on the launch of the e-Newsletter.

In February, the Indian Red Cross Society volunteers swung into action as the state of Jammu and Kashmir was gripped by an intense winter and heavy snowing. Working alongside the government administration, the volunteers extended services such as food, water and First Aid to those in need.

We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the India Meteorological Department for sharing of data on weather forecasts and its dissemination to help communities build resilience towards disasters, including extreme weather conditions.

A lessons learnt workshop was held in Chennai on sharing experiences from Kerala Flood and Cyclone Gaja responses in 2018 by IRCS in which feedback of volunteers was shared.

We bid farewell to Jeremy England, the outgoing Head of Delegation of ICRC in New Delhi. He had a three-year stint during which, among other programmes, we reached marginalised communities with livelihood projects.

On 7th and 8th March 2018, the leadership from 26 State and UT Branches will meet for two days. We will be brining you the key updates in the March issue.

Thanks for your support. I urge you to keep this conversation alive through suggestions and encouragement.

R K Jain, IAS (Rtd.), Secretary General IRCS NHQ

04 March 2019 | New Delhi

National Headquarters Update

Farewell to Mr. Jeremy England

Mr. Jeremy England, the outgoing head of the regional delegation of the ICRC, New Delhi, was presented a Red Cross memento at his farewell held on 26 February at IRCS National Headquarters. Senior officers and staff from National Headquaters and the ICRC and IFRC delegations were present.

MoU with IMD on information sharing

Building resilience of vulnerable communities by disseminating information about extreme weather like heat wave, drought and excess rainfall will get a boost with IMD-IRCS partnership on data sharing.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) and IRCS will share weather forecast information that will help in making communities better prepared to respond to disasters and health hazards. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to this effect on 4 February 2019.

“IMD will collaborate with IRCS to raise awareness on weather monitoring and forecasting as part of a community-based preparedness programme of IRCS in the identified districts,” Dr. M Mohapatra, Head of Indian Meteorological Department, said.

“IRCS and IMD will work to make weather and forecast data easy to understand and actionable for the community,” said Shri R K Jain, Secretary General, Indian Red Cross Society, National Headquarters. “In addition to its central mandate of humanitarian response during emergencies and disasters, Indian Red Cross Society is also involved in creating community resilience. This partnership will allow both the organisations to create informed and resilient communities,” Shri Jain added.

Lessons learnt workshop on Kerala floods and Cyclone Gaja

A lessons learnt workshop in Chennai highlighted the areas of challenge as well good practices.

The Kerala floods and Cyclone Gaja were two of the major disasters that Indian Red Cross Society responded to last year. In Kerala the focus has shifted from recovery and rehabilitation.

In order to capture some of the key learnings and sharing views of the volunteers all those directly involved, i.e the National Headquarters, two State Branches, IFRC and ICRC participated in a two-day lessons learnt workshop on 20 and 21st February in Chennai.

The Blood Bank at IRCS NHQ has been serving people in need of blood transfusions, while actively promoting voluntary blood donation at the national level.

Updates from Branches

IRCS response to heavy snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir

Indian Red Cross volunteers in Jammu and Kashmir worked relentlessly to extend support to people who braved a bitter winter and disruptions in eveyday life.

With heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures, the state of Jammu and Kashmir experienced a harsh winter this year. The life in the valley and parts of the Jammu region came to a standstill with the disruption of supply of power, drinking water and public transport.

Working with the state authorities and security force personnel, the Indian Red Cross Society volunteers provided help to people in need as roads and railway tracks were blocked due to heavy snow build-up and avalanches. Participating in rescue, relief and medical care being extended in their respective districts, the Red Cross volunteers worked alongside police, civil defence and State Disaster Relief Force.

Tamil Nadu: IRCS extends relief to Gaja cyclone affected communities

The digital platform of Open Data Kit (ODK) was used by IRCS to meticulously collect details of beneficiaries and track distribution. Forty volunteers from four districts were trained in ODK use for efficient and online management of beneficiary listing and relief tracking.

Indian Red Cross Society distributed relief materials to the families affected by Cyclone Gaja that hit Tamil Nadu last year on 16th November 2018. The relief distribution was in continuation of the response initiated by the Tamil Nadu State and District branches since the cyclone wreaked havoc with wind speeds reaching up to 120 km per hour. The cyclonic storm had left at least 45 people dead. About 250,000 people were evacuated and housed in 493 shelters. Over 55,000 houses were completely destroyed with half of them being thatched structures.

The current distribution of relief material is part of the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support 3,500 families based on a need assessment done earlier by the State Branch and IRCS National Headquarters.

Odisha: Red Cross 'winning hearts'

"Red Cross is rendering yeomen’s service all over the world & winning hearts," said Hon’ble Governor & President of Indian Red Cross Society, Odisha State Branch while presiding over the Executive Committee Meeting on 13 February 2019.

West Bengal: New website launched

The Indian Red Cross Society West Bengal State Branch has launched a new website. The Hon'ble Governor of West Bengal, who is also President of the State Branch, Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi, unvield the portal.

Partners for Resilience workshops

A series of training of trainers and capacity building workshops were held in Uttarakhand, Assam and Gujarat this month for Indian Red Cross volunteers under the Partners for Resilience programme which seeks to build resilient communities by influencing the local elected representatives and other stakeholders. These workshops saw participation of state-level officials from India Meteorological Department as well. The volunteers will continue working with the communities through the integrated risk management framework.

Training of Trainers in Uttarakhand on integrated risk management under Partners for Resilience programme.
Training of Trainers in Assam on integrated risk management under Partners for Resilience programme.
Training of Trainers in Gujarat on integrated risk management under Partners for Resilience programme.

Bihar: Donations for Bharat Ke Veer

IRCS Katihar District Branch in Bihar has donated Rs 75000 to Bharat Ke Veer Corpus. Bharat Ke Veer is a fundraising initiative by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India on behalf of members of the Indian Armed Forces.

Manipur: WASH and Mockdrill

WASH and disaster response mockdrill programmes were held at Manipur's Bishnupur District by the State Branch. There was enthusastic participation by students, teacher and staff of Bishnupur Public school; Fire department, police and traffic police.
170 girl students from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya took part in in the WASH program conducted by IRCS Imphal East District Branch.

Telangana: State level training for SERV

IRCS Telangana held a three-day state-level training of trainers for SERV members from the state.

A three-day state-level training programme for Social and Emergency Response Volunteers (SERV) was held from 13 to 16 February. 34 participants from 17 districts of Telangana took part in the training that was inaugurated by Professor K. Sayanna, Vice Chancellor, Kakatiya University, Warangal.

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