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Red Cross an ever-present help

Saturday 7 May 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Red Cross an ever-present help
Red Cross delivered food platters to the health clinics as recognition for their work during the Covid outbreak. Pictured is Fine Tu'itupou-Arnold, the Secretary General at Cook Islands Red Cross Society (left). Photo: Supplied/22050623

The Red Cross, which has operated in Rarotonga for many years, was born out of the simple, but vital, humanitarian idea of helping those wounded in battle, The founder, Henri Dunant, was deeply moved by the suffering he encountered on and around a battlefield in 1859.

By 1863, the first Red Cross organisation was established in Switzerland as a Swiss organisation, but open for membership from other countries. The organisation’s focus was in war zones. However, after World War One – which people of that time called “the war to end all wars” - the organisation broadened its focus to become engaged in humanitarian relief in natural disaster.

Today the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, has three components, all providing humanitarian services - the International Committee of the Red Cross. This remains a Swiss public company with a focus on war, and has mandates under the Geneva Conventions to work in war zones around the world. The Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies of individual countries all around the world.

These work both in the area of conflict and the area of natural and man-made disaster; the National Societies enjoy the support and assistance of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent’s Societies (IFRC) whose focus is on disaster, rather than war.

The Cook Islands Red Cross Society, is a member of the IFRC, which was initially established in 1989 as an incorporated society. In 2002, the National Society was formally established by an Act of Parliament – “The Cook Islands Red Cross Act 2002” – as an auxiliary organisation to the public authorities in humanitarian services.

Secretary General at Cook Islands Red Cross Society is Fine Tu'itupou-Arnold (second left) and staff celebrate World Red Cross day. Photo: Supplied/22050624

Today, the National Society has several branches across the outer islands and Rarotonga, and has its headquarters in Tupapa. The National Society engages in a variety of programmes – First Aid, Disaster Management, International Humanitarian Law, Blood Donor Recruitment, Community Based Health, Youth and recently the Covid-19.

This year’s World Red Cross Day’s theme is ‘We are all Humankind’, believe in the power of kindness.

“The past months have been marked by multiple crises that have spared no-one and have hit the most vulnerable the hardest - from COVID-19 pandemic, to the climate crisis, humanitarian emergencies and escalating conflicts. In this complex time we need more than ever to ground ourselves and return to the root and meaning of our founding humanitarian principle of humanity,” says Fine Tu'itupou-Arnold, the Secretary General at Cook Islands Red Cross Society.

“This is why for this year's World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, we would like to celebrate acts of kindness, whether small or big, that can make a huge difference in people’s lives.”

Over the past two years, the National Society has focused its operations in supporting the Ministry of Health in Covid-19 response. It has supported the Ministry and the Puna in the areas of contact tracing, vaccination, distribution of welfare packs for people in isolation and in general communications. At the same time it has continued its ongoing activities in other areas, including First Aid training, disaster management and blood donor recruitment and will continue to do so into the future.

To celebrate World Red Cross Day this year, the CIRC is offering for a limited period, free CPR and AED trainings to anyone.

Registration for this training is open now and will close on Wednesday May 11. Contact Rose Winters on 77598 or wrose@redcross.org.ck for your registration.