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Bourke Street attack, Remembrance Day + NASA Space Apps Challenge

13 November 2018

Hi everyone,

Last Friday we witnessed yet another grim incident on Bourke Street. A vehicle was set alight and members of the public and police officers were attacked, and sadly one person was killed. It was a difficult and emotional time for many. Our thoughts go to the family of Sisto Malaspina, a well-known Melbourne cafe owner, and to all those impacted by this tragedy.

Our volunteers spent a lot of time in the area, saying g’day to people, chatting, offering psychological support and giving teddies. Just being around for the public, friends and family provides enormous relief for a grieving community. It is also important that you look after yourselves and your loved ones after such a traumatic event. If you need counselling or support, please contact Converge International, our Employee Assistance Program.

11/11 – A centenary of remembrance

The Klickity Klack ladies with their Remembrance Day Display 2018 - Honour their Spirit. From left: Margaret Brewster, Yvonne Greenfield, Gaile Bobrige, Pat Matthews, Dulcie Davis and Marlene Williams.

In 1918, at 11am of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns fell silent on the Western Front, marking the end of World War I.

This year marks 100 years since that day. It remains a powerful reminder of the cost of war and many of us took a moment to reflect and remember those who served and sacrificed.

In Manila, where I am at the moment, I took a minute to remember those who lost their lives in war and those left behind to grieve. And to wish for peace and compassion for all beings.

In Port Lincoln, Red Cross members of the Klickity Klack knitting group knitted and crocheted a number of poppies for their window display to mark Remembrance Day. The window features Sister Rachael Pratt representing the service of women in the defence force over the past century. She served with the Australian Army Nursing Service at Gallipoli and was awarded a Military Medal for bravery whilst under fire in France.

Hello from Manila

I’m in Manila at the 10th IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Conference. I’m part of the Australian Red Cross delegation led by Ross Pinney (our President). The delegation also includes Lyndal Herbert (our Deputy President), Wendy Prowse (Board member) and Georgia Hagias (bringing the voice of youth), Peter Walton and Noel Clement.

Our Board members and Georgia are generously donating their heart, soul and time to this important event. There are long days and critical work. I’ll do a full section in my blog next week but in the meantime thought I’d send you through a few quotes that I found interesting.

“Most of the time the voices of others dominate the climate change debate. The voice of the community needs to be stronger. Who will respond to the impacts of climate change – only our own local communities. It is up to us to walk along them to prepare and to advocate on their behalf.” Tautala Mauala, Secretary General, Samoa Red Cross

"In the most difficult of life and death circumstances and complex environments, the only reason we can help is because of our neutrality and impartiality. From the bottom to the top of our organisation we repeat to each other every day – stay principled, stay independent, stay neutral, stay impartial.”Dr Nilab Mobarez, Secretary General, Afghanistan Red Crescent

Midpoint review of Strategy 2020

We’ve just released our 2018 Annual Report, looking back over the last year. In the past few months, at just over halfway through our strategy, we also took stock of the past 2.5 years, since Strategy 2020 commenced. Take a look at what we found here.

NASA Space Apps Challenge

Here's a quick update on the NASA Space Apps Challenge, a two-day data hackathon held in cities around the world. Thanks to a generous donation by former SA DAB Chair Sue Vardon, Red Cross was the Bronze Sponsor of the Adelaide challenge, held over the weekend. Red Cross provided the First, Second and People's Choice prizes and Keith Wilson who is also a SA DAB member was on the judging panel.

The challenges bring together participants from various fields to present solutions to global challenges, using NASA's open data.
Teams selected one of the problems posed by NASA and spent the weekend coming up with an innovative solution, using the free data NASA provides to the public. The solutions were then presented to the judges.

A total of eight projects came out of the Adelaide challenge. Here are a few projects which had a strong focus on Red Cross work:

  • Development of an app that would inform and instruct people what to do in the event of a disaster - with the app working offline to mitigate the risk of not having phone or internet coverage
  • Mapping of climate change data to map and plan for mass migration, like in the case of a population shift due to the drought in Africa
  • An app for crowdsourcing real time information to inform the public when there is a disaster or emergency.

Talk to you next week.