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Jun 20, 2016

Red Cross Hosts Regional Exchange Meeting

Matthew Marek

For the next four days, the Belize Red Cross Society will be hosting the sixth annual Regional Exchange Meeting at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. It is an opportunity for Red Cross Societies from Belize, Bahamas, Guyana and Jamaica to come together to share experiences on implementing RITA, Resilience In The Americas. The multimillion dollar project is focused on building strength in communities in times of disasters.

 

Matthew Marek, Caribbean Regional Rep., American Red Cross

“The benefits that come from projects like this have to do with involving the communities and allowing the communities to identify what their priorities are and then partnering with the Red Cross societies to address those priorities. So in particular they are focused on health interventions, vector borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya, zika or disaster preparedness or disaster response, which is certainly part of the mandate of the Red Cross globally. We’ve got a number of panels that focus on community support groups, leadership, partnership—external as well as internal—resilience and what actually resilience is and how that can support communities. We have activities going on in the field, in the communities; so we will be out in the city and we will be out working and engaging with community members. We will also have a number of team building activities; we’ve got some guest speakers that will be talking about the importance of social cohesion as well as preparations for the upcoming air in the actual project implementation. The Red Cross is always at the forefront of response to disasters. The first responders are those that are impacted: the neighbors, the community that impacted, but right behind them is the Red Cross. And I think that’s extremely important to keep in mind because disasters are on the rise, communities are continuously at risk. A number of communities are facing a number of growing vulnerabilities and they can rely on the Red Cross Societies to respond in times of disaster.”

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