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Jun 30, 2010

Red Cross tests the SPHERE of its disaster readiness

Tropical Storm Alex tested Belize’s preparedness for the 2010 hurricane season. The Belize Red Cross is the organization that we mostly depend on in times of disaster, which is why they are continuously training volunteers. Today one such training concluded and twenty persons from the Red Cross, government, Care Belize, UNICEF, and other organizations were certified in “Disaster Management and SPHERE Guidelines”. The course was funded by European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office and was facilitated by the Norwegian, Guyanese and Belizean Red Cross branches. News Five found out more about the SPHERE standards and purpose of the training.

Suparna Bera, Water & Sanitation Project, Guyana Red Cross

suparna bera

“SPHERE basically stands for the humanitarian charter—it’s not an acronym—but it encompasses the humanitarian charter and the minimum standards in disaster response. It’s not specifically only for disaster response but for any stage of project planning and programs that any humanitarian organization would like to adopt. And the minimum standards are really in water supply, shelters, there’s also a standard for health as well as food and nutrition and so on.”

marylee ellis

Marylee Ellis, Health Program Manager, CRRO, IFRC

“It’s a tool that allows the Red Cross, along with partner organizations to plan for disaster response in specific areas using very standard, minimum requirements that ensure that the response to persons impacted by disasters is addressing all their needs taking into consideration their dignity and ensuring that the standards are high enough that their dignity is maintained. We all know that this is going to be a busy hurricane season, we all know that the potential for being impacted is extremely high and we all know that we need to be prepared. And this is part of the process of preparedness for the Belize Red Cross along with the rest of the Caribbean; sharing experiences with each other throughout the Caribbean.”

The Red Cross also announced its new president, Tracy Taegar.

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