Monday, December 3, 2007

SIRC farewells a disaster friend

Today afternoon the room was filled with local staff and volunteers said good bye to their seven months disaster operation friend, Mr. Steve Barton (International Federation of the Red Cross delegate) who will leave the country back to his families and loved ones in Australia for Christmas.
As a tradition of the local Red Cross to thank its 'helper friends', a small gather togehter freshment must be held to honor them. During the gatheirng of the staff and volunteers Ms Nancy Jolo, SIRC Deputy Secretary General assured Mr. Steve that it was not the last for him with the local humanitarian organization. But the SIRC team looked forward for his return sometimes to help the Solomon Islanders in his technical field of shelter.
Mr. Charles Kelly (SIRC Secretary General) told those people attended that Mr. Barton is a professional who performed and assisted to build the skills of the local Red Cross personnel and affected communities about how to deal with shelter in disaster affected communities.
From shelter assessments done by him on tsunami affected communities, Mr. Kelly commended, has been well received by stakeholders. It was impartial and neutral to follow in building recovery phase.
And Kelly thank him on behalf of the SIRC, its staff and volunteers, and the affected people of the tsunami hitted areas for his tireless efforts and professionalism.
In reply, Mr. Barton said, "I have wonderful experiences from the friendly people of this country which sunk me down to love the Solomon Islands and its people.
"I have learnt alot of new things from the SI Red Cross. I learnt to accept the locals opinions and skills when came to local approach for help and resources like timber. And they helped me alot as a particular person with a huge task on his shoulders".
Mr. Steve further registered his appreciation and thanks to Mr. Sipuru Rove (Gizo Red Cross Branch field officer) and his committed volunteers for their support and wonderful contributions in the shelter recovery operation.
"Sipuru knows more about the local environmental setting. It's one of the best thing I experienced, that is to accept such local knowledge", he said.
Mr. Steve has been in the country as the Shelter delegation of the IFRC for the last seven months.