The training will be conducted by Cook Islands Red Cross disaster management coordinator Mata Hetland who has been visiting local high schools to introduce and promote the training to students.
The goal is to train students to understand the contents of a disaster assessment form and register them as volunteers in readiness for a natural disaster.
Disaster assessment is a crucial data collection process that kicks into action immediately after a natural disaster.
Information collected during the disaster assessment process is used by emergency response teams to priorities the needs of the affected community and to reach them quickly with emergency goods.
Mata Hetland, along with Cook Islands Red Cross secretary general Fine Tuitupou-Arnold, was in Fiji over six weeks ago when the island nation was devastated by cyclone Winston.
There the pair witnessed first-hand the destruction of a cyclone and the emergency operations afterwards.
They were both part of the volunteer disaster assessment and distribution team that were sent out to remote villages in Fiji to gather crucial information for emergency teams.
At a Disaster Assessment and Distribution promotional visit to Nukutere College, Mata Hetland explained to the school students that while the number of Red Cross volunteers in Fiji was impressive, they realised that many were not trained in disaster assessments and the information they returned with from assessments were of no use for the emergency response team.
It was at this point that Hetland and Tuitupou-Arnold decided that they would make disaster assessment a priority on their return home.
Hetland will run a Disaster Assessment and Distribution training course at the Cook Islands Red Cross Society headquarters in Tupapa during the school holidays on Tuesday April 19 and Wednesday 20.
The interactive training course will run from 8.45am to 3pm and will include morning and afternoon tea for the trainees.
Students keen to take part and become Red Cross volunteers are encouraged to register their interest with their schools.
After the training course at the Red Cross headquarters, students will be registered as Red Cross Volunteers and be entered into the volunteer’s database. They will be contacted after a natural disaster to efficiently and effectively collect vital data to guide the emergency response.
Mata Hetland says that senior college students have been identified as the best group of people of this kind of work as they are young and fit and can quickly gather the necessary information.
Disaster Assessment and Distribution training will be held every year and has been delivered to the Pa Enua branches in past years.
- Mana Media