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A message from New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General, Sarah Stuart-Black
Every day we are seeing and hearing more about the enormous scale of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Many organisations are working to support people affected, and this includes thousands of volunteers and staff within the Red Cross Movement.
Many New Zealanders may not realise that the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a global humanitarian network of 80 million people that helps those facing disaster, conflict and health and social problems. It consists of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC or Federation as it’s sometimes referred to), which supports the 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies — one of which is New Zealand Red Cross.
The ICRC’s humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.
The ICRC is an independent, neutral organisation ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence. As a neutral and impartial organisation, another important role of the ICRC is to speak with representatives from both sides of the conflict to remind them of their obligations under international law, or the laws of war. These laws aim to reduce suffering for those who are not or no longer fighting, like civilians. Diplomatic meetings with both sides are anchored in international humanitarian law and passionate advocacy for the best interests of civilians trapped in conflict.
The Federation facilitates and promotes all humanitarian activities carried out by its member National Societies on behalf of the most vulnerable people.
National Societies like New Zealand Red Cross a provide a range of services including disaster relief, and health and social programmes. In wartime they may assist the civilian population and support the medical services of the armed forces.
People from across the Movement — including international delegates from New Zealand — are on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries, supporting people in need. This includes those internally displaced or who have evacuated to neighbouring countries, and people who may have no medical supplies, water, food and who are in distress.
Red Cross has delivered hundreds of tonnes of essential goods to people caught up in the conflict and is providing support to health facilities. The need is huge and in addition to basics like food, water and hygiene supplies, other relief items are being distributed like tarpaulins, candles, medical supplies, and even fuel to keep ambulances running. Red Cross is providing first aid to injured people and teaching first aid and psychosocial support within shelters so people are prepared to help themselves and each other if needed. Red Cross is also doing all it can to open up humanitarian corridors so relief items can reach those in need and people who wish to leave can do so safely.
New Zealand Red Cross (NZRC) has deployed John Dyer, one of our International Delegates who is a security expert, to Ukraine. He’s working for the Federation to ensure the safety of Red Cross people involved in the response effort and the people being supported. In early April we sent a second New Zealand Red Cross International Delegate Natalie Gyles — an information systems expert who is supporting the cash voucher programme that provides funds to displaced people for living expenses.
I want to thank people from Otago, Southland and beyond who have already supported this work through giving so generously to our appeal. Thanks also to Allied Press and the businesses that have supported this feature. New Zealanders have already donated more than three million dollars to our appeal, I want you to know your support is making a difference.
If you’d like to donate to support the people of Ukraine you can go to redcross.org.nz/donate
Thank you to all the businesses that have supported us so far:
MARKHAMS CLARKE CRAW LTD
PGG WRIGHTSON REAL ESTATE
POLSON HIGGS AND CO
FLEX FITNESS GREEN ISLAND
HARROW MOTOR BODY WORKS
WILKINSON RODGERS LAW
BEDS R US DUNEDIN
OTAGO VALUATIONS LTD
AYERS SHOE REPAIRS
GOLDEN CENTRE HOLDINGS LTD
REGENT THEATRE TRUST OF OTAGO
MORNINGTON HEALTH CENTRE LTD
STEVE MOWAT BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION
GALLERY DE NOVO
THE FIREPLACE DUNEDIN