Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Most of SIRC Head office staff members will travel out

This part of the month will be another busy moment for the SI Red Cross staff especially from the National Headquarters.
Ms Nancy Jolo (local Red Cross Deputy Secretary General) Mr. Lorima Tuke,disaster manager is already in Vanuatu. Julie Webb (Technical adviser), John Adifaka (Governing Board Chairman), and Charles Kelly (Secretary General of SIRC) will travel to Vanuatu as well to attend a Partnership Meeting on Thursday 27th March 2008.
Nancy will go to Australia next week to attend the 365 Days Learning Event hosted by the Australian Red Cross in Melbourne.
And domestic trips will be done by Niniu Oligao (Dissemination officer) to the Western Solomons and the Health Awareness Program team to Maluu in the northern end of Malaita.
Though the office will be empty but it will not affect our normal office work. And if public want to see any of those program staff mentioned above, there other staff to see in their absence concerning their programs.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

World Water Day: overcrowding in prisons poses global water and sanitation challenges

Feature: 17/03/08

The rising number of detainees and prisoners in many conflict-affected countries is putting a major strain on the coping capacity of detention centres to meet inmates' water, sanitation and overall public health needs. In many societies, prisons are forgotten or neglected, causing them to become breeding grounds for disease due to a lack of clean water, limited access to latrines, inadequate waste management, poor hygiene and overcrowded living quarters.

The ICRC annually visits more than 2,500 places of detention, which hold about half a million people, in around 70 countries worldwide. Its assessment of water, health and sanitation needs is based on these visits, which aim to improve conditions and treatment of detainees where needed.

Fundamental rights

"Existing infrastructures can't deal with rising prison populations, and the problem is getting worse across the board… not just in developing countries," says Robert Mardini, head of the ICRC's Water and Habitat Unit.

"Too often, communities turn a blind eye to what goes on inside their prisons, but everyone has a fundamental right to use a proper toilet, clean themselves regularly, eat healthy food and drink safe water, including people behind bars," he adds. "Ensuring adequate living conditions is also one of the best ways to prevent illnesses, such as cholera, scabies and hepatitis from spreading among inmates, as well as to the outside population."

Mardini's comments come ahead of World Water Day 2008, which will be observed on 20 March and will highlight global sanitation challenges.

The ICRC works with the authorities in charge of detention centres to encourage and support improvements to the living situation of inmates and detainees. This support comes in various forms, including monitoring, expertise in identifying problems and solutions, materials and project implementation.

"For the ICRC, sanitation, water, health and protection issues go hand-in-hand", says Mardini. "That's why we look at the situation as a whole and try to help prison officials in finding appropriate, sustainable and inventive solutions."

In Rwanda, the ICRC has come up with an innovative alternative to septic tanks, thanks to a biogas system, which turns gas collected from wastewater and sewage into an additional source of energy that can be used to heat the stoves in prison kitchens, thus reducing costs.

"This is a great illustration of how waste can be treated in a safe and environmentally friendly manner, and transformed into a useful by-product," says Mardini. "The problem of detention overcrowding isn't going to go away anytime soon so we have to start coming up with more solutions like this, which meet multiple needs and challenges."

©ICRC/P. Yazdi/so-e-00092
Somalia, Bakool region, Bara Brio. The ICRC distributes water.
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Somalia, Bakool region, Bara Brio. The ICRC distributes water.
©ICRC/P. Yazdi/so-e-00092

Water scarcity

The ICRC's water and habitat programme isn't limited to detention centres only. Its activities also meet the water and sanitation needs of more than 14 million people in over 40 countries every year.

Insecurity and displacement are often exacerbated by prolonged drought or poor infrastructure. When water is scarce and hostilities are high, the combination can increase competition among communities, generate tensions and spur people to leave their homes.

For example, some areas of Somalia, which has seen a recent increase in fighting in the capital of Mogadishu, have experienced very little rainfall for more than two years. In places where water is already in short supply, an influx of people displaced by violence can prove devastating.

"With very limited water and pastures which are beyond reach, the population can't do much more than hope for rain," says Julian Jones, the ICRC's water and habitat coordinator for Somalia.

The ICRC is working to support these vulnerable populations by providing two million litres of water to around 350,000 people per day in Somalia's Mudug, northern Bakool, eastern Bay and Galgadud regions.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Women with missing relatives: recognizing the plight of those left behind

ICRC News release 08/38

For hundreds of thousands of women one of the worst consequences of armed conflict is the long and agonizing wait for news about their missing relatives
Since the vast majority of those who are killed or disappear are men, the burden of trying to find out what happened to them usually falls to the women in their family. On International Women's Day (8 March), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) highlights its commitment to easing the plight of these women.

Ashwak, an Iraqi refugee now living in Jordan, has lost track of her husband. "We looked everywhere. We went to all the prisons and the forensic institute. We searched for more than four months," she says. "We looked in all the places we could think of, but we always received the same answer - that he was not there. Yet we still have hope."

For those who are left behind like Ashwak, not knowing the fate of a relative is emotionally devastating. No matter how difficult it is to mourn the loss of a loved one, it is even more distressing not to be able to mourn at all. Many women spend years and their life’s savings on a fruitless search. For those trying to trace a missing child, husband or father, peace in their country does not automatically bring peace of mind, because abandoning their quest would seem like a betrayal.

The missing person is often the family’s breadwinner or the sole owner of property. Women who lack skills and training are therefore left destitute and are often poorly prepared to take his place. In addition, the undefined legal status of a missing person's spouse or descendants can have an effect on property rights, guardianship of children, inheritance and the possibility of remarriage.

"On International Women's Day this year we want to draw attention to the particular plight of women whose male relatives have gone missing", says Florence Tercier, who heads the ICRC's programme to help women in war. "Everything possible must be done to prevent disappearances and to provide the women left behind with the support they need."
All too often the parties to an armed conflict make little effort to shed light on the fate of missing persons. The ICRC, acting on behalf of the victims and their family, endeavours to remind the relevant authorities of their duty in this respect. Together with the National Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies it accepts tracing requests from families who have had no news from their relatives during armed conflicts and tries to locate these persons by all possible means. The ICRC issues attestations to wives of the missing to enable them to claim welfare assistance and compensation. Depending on the needs and situation of the women and girls left behind, it also offers material support and psychosocial counselling.
Women prove to be resourceful and courageous in contending with the challenges they face when a loved one goes missing. They found associations many of which are supported by the ICRC and fight to obtain information. In many countries, the mothers, wives, grandmothers, sisters and daughters of the disappeared continue to exert pressure on the authorities long after a conflict has ended. For example, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina organized demonstrations for many years to demand answers from the government about the fate of their missing children.

For further information, please contact:
Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel +41 22 730 2271 or +41 79 217 3217

It is a good common cause why we are here for Red Cross

Solomon Islands Red Cross is a non profitable humanitarian organization different from non governmental organizations established by the Solomon Islands National Parliament in 1983 as an auxiliary to public authorities in humanitarian assistances.
SI Red Cross as one of the 186 Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies (National Societies) has things in common with other National Societies: Observe the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement (Movement) 7 Fundamental Principles, Code of Conduct in disaster response, Observe the Movement’s Constitution, and carrying out voluntary service to all corners of its territory without any consideration nationality, sex, race, political or religious beliefs. While on Voluntary activities there are four core activities (Promotion of International Humanitarian Law and Fundamental Principles, Health and Care in the communities, Disaster Preparedness, and Disaster response) you can find anywhere in the Red Cross/Red Crescent family.
As Red Cross people we are ought to observe the Fundamental Principles of Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity, and Universality. Prior to those, the action principles of Impartiality (no regard is given according to race, sex, nationality, political or religious beliefs. Help is given priority to the level of need only). We are expected to be neutral and be independent from any action or behaviors which can jeopardize the hope and confidence the needy people have on the Red Cross.

Naturally to follow those action principles especially in circumstance directly affecting us is difficult. But please look up to your principles as the working tools to reduce human suffering- as stated in the Principle of Humanity.

Weather it be a health promotion in our communities, promotion of disaster risk reduction from Climate Change, campaign for blood donors to give blood to those need it to see another sunrise, someone saved by our knowledge sharing about the rules of war to those fighting, efforts we put to raise funds to support those lost all their belongings in fires, or actively involving the vulnerable communities in our disaster preparedness, this is another expression of our caring and love to humanity.

This inner fire is what Red Cross asks from us.

This is an address given by Niniu Oligao (SIRC Dissemination & Information officer) to the two new SIRC staff during their dissemination briefing today.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Business Development & Fundraising officer met with Fund raising committee

Aloysius Erobaea (new Business Development & Fundraising officer) called some of his new fund raising team members today lunch hour. Those new committee members are part of the existing SI Red Cross fund raising committee.
In his address Erobaea said the aims of the meet were to firstly, introduce his action plan for the first half of 2008. These include annual fund raising events and major special fund raising activities like Dine & Dance Cruise to Ngella. Second, to set up a Fund raising activities taskforce to spear head the fund raising activities.

"For long this fund raising program did not have a taskforce to effectively implement the activities. So there is a need for that", he said.
Since just a week when he took up the office he said confirmation of his palnned activities will be circulated to his committee members soon.

Iraq: Millions struggle to cope with the impact of five years of war

ICRC News Release No. 08/46
19 March 2008

Geneva (ICRC)- Five years after the out break of the war in Iraq, the humanitarian situation in most of the country is among the most critical in the world, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a report issued today. Because of the conflict, millions of Iraqis have insufficient access to clean water, sanitation and health care. The current crisis is exacerbated by the lasting effects of previous armed conflicts and years of sanctions.
“Better security in some parts of Iraq must not distract attention from the continuing plight of millions of people who have essentially been left to their own devices,” said Béatrice Mégevand Roggo, the ICRC’s head of operations for the Middle East and North Africa. “Among them are displaced and refugee families, and those who have returned to their homes, children, elderly people, disabled people, households headed by women and families of detainees.”
Although security has improved in some parts of the country, Iraqis continue to be killed or injured on a daily basis in fighting and attacks. Civilians are often deliberately targeted, in complete disregard for the rules of international humanitarian law. In many families there is at least one person who is sick, injured, missing or detained, or who has been forced to flee from home and live far away.
Health care, water and sanitation services and electricity supplies remain largely inadequate. Hospitals lack qualified staff and basic drugs, and therefore struggle to provide suitable care for the injured. Many health-care facilities have not been properly maintained, and the care they provide is often too expensive for ordinary Iraqis.
The water supply has continued to deteriorate over the past year. Millions of people have been forced to rely on insufficient supplies of poor-qualitywater as water and sewage systems suffer from a lack of maintenance and a shortage of engineers.
The ICRC regularly provides medical assistance and drugs for hospitals and carries out important repairs to water and sanitation systems. However, this is far from sufficient to ensure that all Iraqis have adequate access to these basic services.
“To avert an even worse crisis, more attention must be paid to the everyday needs of Iraqis,” said Ms Mégevand Roggo. “Everyone should have regular access to health care, electricity, clean water and sanitation.” The ICRC also called on those involved in the conflict and those who can influence them to do everything possible to ensure that civilians, medical staff and medical facilities are not harmed. This is an obligation underinternational humanitarian law that applies to all parties to an armed conflict – both States and non-State actors.

For further information, please contact: Serge Marmy, ICRC Suva, tel. +330 21 56 or +992 1151 or visit our website: www.icrc.org

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

SI Red Cross recruited two new staff

Solomon Islands Red Cross (SIRC) has taken in Aloyius Erobaea and Mrs. Masia Vaieke after their interviews a week before.

Mr. Erobaea is a former active SIRC volunteer for Disaster Risk Reduction/Climate Change. He was employed by a local Insurance firm before joining the SI Red Cross team last week as Business Development & Fundraising officer. He will concentrate on how to raise funds to support the operational costs of the SIRC. Mr. Erobaea is expected to work with the local Red Cross Clothing shop and soon the organization's cafeteria as part of his initiative to get money.
Mrs. Vaieke also started her work as the Red Cross Health Promotion officer on Moday 10th March 2008. With her backgorund as a community health promoter, Vaieke is expected by her employer to travel to Weathercoast (Guadalcanal) and Maluu (North Malaita) to do her health awareness to the surrounding communities about community hygiene and how to reduce the risk of catching malaria.
According to Solomon Islands Red Cross policy those two new staff will under go three (3) months probation. If satisfactory after their probation period then they will become full time staff who will sign twelve months contract with the SIRC.
Solomon Islands Red Cross welcomes Erobaea and Vaieke to join its team.

Monday, March 17, 2008

NDRT Training completed on March 14, 2008

Seventeen participants from the SI Red Cross & other Pacific sister societies attended a National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) training in Honiara Red Cross office.
Training facilitator, Mr. Douglas Clark from the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies (Federation) said the aim of the training was to train the Pacific Red Cross personnel to be professionals in coordinating & managing disaster responses.
He was glad with the performances & interest shown by the participants of the sister red cross societies (Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, & Solomon Islands) over the five days of training.
At the closing of the workshop Mr. Clark told the participants the level they were at could enabled them to be fore runners in disasters.
The regional Red Cross should be grateful with the efforts Mr. Martin Blackgrove (Regional Disaster Management coordinator) to bring them together for the training.

SIRC General Assembly will be held on May 8, 2008

Date for the Solomon Islands Red Cross General Assembly (the highest conference of the Local Red Cross) has been announced by an extra ordinary meeting of the SIRC Governing Board to be held on May 8, 2008.
The Governing Board has the power to confirm or change the General Assembly date as covered under Articles 11. 2, 11. 3 & 11.4 of the SI Red Cross Constitution.
According to Charles Kelly, the SIRC Secretary General of the Solomon Islands Red Cross will hold the General Assembly on the day the organization will celebrate the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Day with its annual public appeal.
“Also we are looking forward to launch our invitations to donor partners and friends to attend that highest meeting”, he said.
So our regional partners like the Australian Red Cross, ICRC, IFRC, and government agencies should look at your plan trips to Honiara in early May 2008.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dissemination trainer volunteers completed training

Nine new dissemination trainers completed a five days training at the Solomon Islands Red Cross head quarters on March7, 2008.
According to Niniu Oligao (SIRC Dissemination officer) the training aims at equipping the dissemination trainers volunteers with dissemination tools in return will train and give awareness to both external and internal audiences (volunteers, Branch Governing Board, and members) on the Humanitarian Values and Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement Fundamental Principles.
The trainers learnt about the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement Fundamental Principles, International Humanitarian Law, and how safer the Red Cross could access to affected people during armed conflict, whether to apply First Aid, relief distributions, or giving medical attention to those who no longer or not fighting but suffering.
“The trainers were privilege to have various presentations from SIRC personnel who under went diverse experiences in disaster responses”, he said.
In regard to dissemination materials, the participants discussed with him on appropriate materials like posters and brochures which could still be used in their talks in the absence of electricity.
On the fourth day they had a fieldtrip to the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation studio to record a 15 minutes programme for SI Red Cross.
The challenge he left with the new trainers now is their turn to work closely with him through a network had been formulated during the training to effectively spread of the red cross by speaking on behalf of those silently suffering that make sure their physical and psych-emotional integrity is respected during disasters.
All the participants assured their confidence to do their new task when they admitted their gratitude at the end of the workshop.
And Niniu thanked the Australian Red Cross to financially support that Trainers training. He said such help was really a noble gift to humanity to discourage their suffering.