As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” That is exactly what American Red Cross teams around the world are doing. Our staff and volunteers’ commitment to helping others in tough times shines through, especially now.
We are using creative solutions to support global Red Cross and Red Crescent teams amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Though you may not be able to see facial expressions behind a mask, our team’s love for the mission translates into action.
Delegated to Do Good
Here is a worldwide snapshot of how the American Red Cross is partnering alongside local Red Cross and Red Crescent teams to prevent and protect communities around the world:
Bangladesh: There is a strong need to shield a very vulnerable and dense population of displaced people in Cox’s Bazar—home to the world’s largest refugee camp. The American Red Cross is on the ground, alongside the Bangladesh Red Crescent, mobilizing and equipping volunteers. All Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers are involved with hygiene promotion in the camp, working to reduce contamination in a congested setting. More than 3,400 volunteers (who are all camp residents) are participating in a house-to-house awareness campaign to ensure their neighbors are aware of the risks and learn how to stay healthy. First-hand information is provided on how to identify symptoms and report suspected cases to local health facilities immediately. Public places where people used to gather have now been turned into hygiene hubs with extra handwashing facilities installed. In addition, pivoting to meet the current need, textile-related livelihoods activities are making facemasks to help prevent spread of the coronavirus.
Indonesia: The American Red Cross has been supporting the immense efforts of the Indonesian Red Cross (locally known as Palang Merah Indonesia)—which has mobilized about 1,600 staff and volunteers to reach over 700,000 people through handwashing campaigns, mask distribution and disinfectant spraying.
Myanmar: Across townships in Myanmar, the American Red Cross is working alongside the Myanmar Red Cross to spread awareness about the symptoms, precaution, and prevention measures related to COVID-19. Together, we are reaching communities using print materials to spread the word faster with more than 8,000 posters and 20,000 stickers, and have provided as many as 4,900 services at community quarantine facilities. The Myanmar Red Cross has implemented temperature screening checkpoints across communities in Myanmar. Teams are offering mental health support to families dealing with effects of the virus and stress of the pandemic. Relief efforts are also targeting a particularly vulnerable population: migrant workers along the Myanmar/China border. Red Cross volunteers share prevention information and emotional support with returning migrant workers at public parks/spaces, markets, highway junctions and at their homes.
El Salvador: We are working with the Salvadorean Red Cross to promote hygiene and sanitation. Staff and volunteers are educating families about how to stay safe from the coronavirus and other respiratory diseases—as well as how to avoid spreading it to neighbors and family members. The Red Cross is delivering meals to people across the country that have no income as a result of the pandemic. Volunteers are also delivering water and food packages containing rice, beans, oil, sugar and more. Red Cross teams are using creative methods to reach the general public by delivering material on how to prevent COVID-19 through games, coloring books and other activities with the aim to minimize the impact of stress and anxiety.
Colombia: The American Red Cross is collaborating with the Colombian Red Cross volunteers on health promotion and disease prevention activities such as hand-washing education, the installation of antibacterial gel dispensers and establishing hygiene and sanitation best practices within communities. The Colombian Red Cross is helping Venezuelan migrants and host communities by assisting at basic medical care facilities in areas such as: pediatrics, gynecology, psychiatry, general medicine and pregnancy consultations. Friendly spaces have been created in Riohacha and Arauca to help children and adults overcome stress, anxiety and trauma during this trying time.
Mexico: The Mexican Red Cross and the American Red Cross launched a podcast to help keep the public safe from spread of the virus. Red Cross teams are promoting hygiene and sanitation practices to combat the spread of this pandemic.
Panama: Due to the huge demand and shortage of personal protection equipment, the American Red Cross provided the Panamian Red Cross with 300 N95 masks. Virtual sessions aimed at mental health support are being provided,with the help of psychologists and medical specialists.
Haiti: The American Red Cross is supporting the Haitian Red Cross COVID-19 response plan by promoting behavioral changes and encouraging hygiene practices. In two main regions of the country, the South and North West, the Red Cross is promoting hygiene and helping stop the spread of misinformation on COVID-19. During these activities, trained volunteers with protective equipment demonstrate hand washing techniques and distribute prevention kits filled with masks, gloves and hand sanitizers. More than 1,000 volunteers and as many as 50 Red Crossers are working to reach over 35,000 families throughout the country.
Bahamas: The Bahamas Red Cross has continued working through this pandemic by making needed adjustments. Its meal delivery program—aimed at older adults—operates with contactless delivery and workers are outfitted with gowns, masks and gloves. Volunteer caseworkers have shifted appointments to video chats and phone calls. At all Red Cross buildings, more handwashing stations were installed, and increased cleaning measures are being taken to disinfect and sanitize every surface. Mental health support is also available to residents dealing with the stress of the pandemic, often compounded by continued stress from the aftermath of the hurricane with volunteer caseworkers manning a 24-hour-hotline. Alongside the American Red Cross, the Bahamas Red Cross continues to provide clean water and hot meals to people impacted by Hurricane Dorian—a storm whose effects are still being felt throughout the islands.
Stop the Spread
The American Red Cross will continue to stay on mission and support local Red Cross and Red Crescent teams around the world. As the coronavirus continues to gain ground, we will maintain ours. Together, we can help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Become a Volunteer
In the face of disasters like COVID-19, the American Red Cross and global Red Cross Red Crescent network join together to ease people’s suffering. Find out how you can volunteer to help disaster victims at home and across the globe at redcross.org. For more information about American Red Cross’s work around the world, visit redcross.org/international.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.