Red Cross teams up with Covid-19 health workers

Tuesday May 12, 2020 Written by Published in Local
Red Cross Cook Islands celebrates health workers. Mii Estall, left, Tai Connal, Tiata Tupou, Zebediah Revake, Patience Vainerere, Dr Tupou Faireka, Dr Tereapii Uka, Secretary General Cook Islands Red Cross Fine Tu’itupou Arnold and Claire McErlane. 20050816 Red Cross Cook Islands celebrates health workers. Mii Estall, left, Tai Connal, Tiata Tupou, Zebediah Revake, Patience Vainerere, Dr Tupou Faireka, Dr Tereapii Uka, Secretary General Cook Islands Red Cross Fine Tu’itupou Arnold and Claire McErlane. 20050816

Mii Estall was living on the island of Aitutaki in February 2010 when, at 3am, the most powerful cyclone to hit Aitutaki in living history swept over the island.

Cyclone Pat, a Category 3 storm, wreaked havoc and destroyed homes. Government declared Aitutaki a disaster zone.

Seeing the devastation, Estall volunteered to help out with the Cook Islands Red Cross Society, as it was known then, for the first time.

The agency played a critical role in meeting the needs of people  affected by the emergency.

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Ten years later, Estall is still part of the team and took part in the World Red Cross Day celebrations.

“I enjoy helping out the community in whatever way I can, it’s a good team to be part of and it’s good to give assistance in whatever way I can,” said Estall.

Red Cross Cook Islands marked the day in unique circumstances, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Secretary-General Fine Tu’itupou-Arnold said the movement chose to honour healthcare workers, volunteers and essential workers and acknowledge the millions who had taken up arms in the fight against Covid-19.

“We salute the dedication and sacrifice of front-line health workers. Their courage has been universal; some, tragically, have lost their own lives while working to save the lives of others,” she said.

“For all healthcare workers, this battle will continue until either a cure or a vaccine is found.”

The agency delivered food platters to health ministry Te Marae Ora and to each of the 10 puna on Rarotonga.

Tu’itupou-Arnold noted that older people were vulnerable to the virus, so they relied on young people the world over to lead the response.

“In the Pacific as elsewhere, we have looked to our younger volunteers to step up. Here in the Cook Islands, it’s been great to see our young volunteers in action. 

“As a woman, I have looked on as lockdown has thrown families into close domestic environments for weeks at a time. Although women are often seen as homemakers, sadly, across countries and societies, we have seen rising levels of domestic violence, affecting women and children in particular,” said Tu’itupou-Arnold.

She considers that the events of the past four months, “have brought life and real meaning to the movement’s fundamental principle of “humanity”.

“Covid-19 respects no borders, it kills the rich and the poor alike, and has generated a global humanitarian response. This is a war, to be sure, but one we will win – and with victory will come, I believe, for all of us a new appreciation of that shared humanity.

“For now, keep safe, keep up that social distancing, and stay strong,”

ANZ Bank presented a donation of Au$30,000 ($NZ$32,000) to the society to support relief efforts among Cook Islands families in need, and to support and educate volunteers around Covid-19 hygiene practices and social distancing.

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