The purpose of the appeal is to keep the emergency satellite phones for the outer islands open during the disaster months of November 2013 to April 2014.
These phones have been available on each of the outer islands for the last six years and were funded by the New Zealand Red Cross for rental and usage until July 15 2013.
This phone is looked after by the president of each Red Cross branch on each island and only activated for emergency purposes. While the only number this phone will ring is that of the Cook Islands Red Cross headquarters, it is being closely monitored each time it is activated by Wrights Satellite Connections of New Zealand.
During Cyclone Percy that struck Pukapuka in 2007, this phone was the only communication tool available after the telecommunications network went down. When Cyclone Pat struck Aitutaki in 2010 the same breakdown of communication happened.
According to Red Cross advocacy and policy advisor Fine-Tuitupou Arnold, “As a result of these two experiences, there is no doubt that this is a life-saving tool that will keep us connected to our people and families in the pa enua during times of emergency.”
The appeal needs all the help it can get from the public says Tuitupou.
“We seek your help through this gold coin door knock appeal to keep us connected with our people and families in the pa enua for at least the disaster months of November to April.”
Red Cross board members, staff and volunteers around Rarotonga will be responsible for this event and if you’re willing to volunteer or need further information, please call the Red Cross office on 22598.