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Supporting our neighbours in Sulawesi + How technology is changing our world

2 October 2018

Hi everyone,

On Friday 28 September, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Central Sulawesi, followed by more than 76 aftershocks. The earthquake triggered a powerful tsunami wave that hit Palu, Donggala and Mamuju. The full impact is still unknown: well over 800 people are confirmed dead so far, with the toll expected to rise, and more than 30,000 people have been affected. This tragic event follows a series of earthquakes and aftershocks that rocked Lombok in July and August 2018.

Our Indonesian Red Cross colleagues are working with public authorities to remove bodies and help survivors. They are providing first aid and medical transport, distributing tarpaulins and sleeping mats for shelter, and conducting assessments. Medical, surgical and sanitation teams are on their way with other colleagues from the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement supporting them. 

We will assist with funds and specialist aid workers as needed. We have launched an emergency appeal to help people affected by a series of earthquakes and a tsunami in Indonesia.

Thanks to all those who worked so hard over the weekend to work out how we can best help and launch the appeal.

How technology is changing our world

‘Humanitech’ is a concept we’ve been working on. It’s the title we give to understanding the intersection of technology and humanity, so humanity can leverage new and emerging technologies to solve complex social and humanitarian issues and create new futures and possibilities.

We see this as critical to being able to fulfil our mandate - to support and empower people and communities in times of vulnerability – because the pace at which technology is changing our world compels us to ensure that the change serves humanity. Our work over the past few months on Humanitech has been included in the Maurice Blackburn Oration on ‘The Humanitarian Impact of War’ and the Global Ideas Forum on ‘The Future of Work’.  

This week we will also be lodging our submission to the Human Rights and Technology Project.

In the submission, we are bringing our unique humanitarian perspective, with an emphasis on values and principles as well as opportunities to ensure technology serves humanity, and especially the most vulnerable.

Congratulations to Ivana, Amanda and Penny for developing such a good submission. Thanks also to the Executive Team and Board members for great inputs.

Eliminating Nuclear Weapons – a plea for humanity in New York last week

I mentioned last week the important sessions in New York and the involvement of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in advancing the ratification of the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons. Here is the speech from Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross - Why States Must Ratify the Treaty - A Plea for Humanity

From left: Mike Hales (Partner, MinterEllison), Professor Stephen Smith (former Minister for Foreign Affairs and for Defence), Emily Camins (Chair, WA IHL Advisory Committee, Australian Red Cross), Leonard Blazeby (Head of the ICRC Mission in Australia), Dianne Buckles (WA Divisional Advisory Board, Australian Red Cross), Linda Crumlin (WA State Director, Australian Red Cross) and Craig Boyle (Partner, MinterEllison).

IHL Adviser Helen Stamp shared with me the seminar that took place in WA last week on Protecting humanity from nuclear weapons: developments in international law and policy. Leonard Blazeby, Head of the ICRC Mission in Australia and Professor Stephen Smith, former Minister for Foreign Affairs and for Defence spoke at the event. Also, keep an eye out for Jody’s presentation at the nuclear issues symposium at the National Museum of Australia exhibition ‘Black Mist Burnt Country’ on 17 October 2018.

Skipping in heels?

Remember last year I broke my foot when I tripped skipping along the path?  I did it just before the Board meeting and because I was travelling for Red Cross for the Board meeting, it became a work health and safety issue. Even though I love skipping along paths, reflecting back I was being a bit silly in my heels and I now feel a little bashful at being silly. So the theme for the National Safe Work Month ‘A moment is all it takes’ really resonates with me. In hindsight I should have thought a bit more about the risks!

Another example was yesterday at the opening of our new community centre in Galiwin’ku when there was a strong gust of wind which blew over the well-placed shade tents and they were quite difficult and heavy to fix. We all rushed to help – as we always do. In that moment I wondered whether we all took a moment to check on how we needed to tackle this and avoid injury.

A moment is all it takes!

We have a number of work health and safety initiatives in play at the moment with our SAFE and Healthy Bodies programs, aimed at raising awareness of our risks and how we can stay healthy. 

SBS Go Back to Where You Came From Live

From today till 4 October, SBS Television is screening Go Back to Where You Came From Live.

The series shines a light on global humanitarian crises and includes participants with diverse views on migration, refugees and border protection.

Red Cross is not an official partner in Go Back Live, but we have provided content to SBS including:

  • speakers for a supporting online video series
  • content for online educational resources
  • connections to Red Cross Movement partners

In its fourth instalment, one thing to note that is different this year is that the series will be mainly live; whereas in previous years it has been pre-recorded. I encourage you to watch the program for a snapshot of the global refugee crisis by following refugee stories as they unfold in real time.

That’s all for the week.



PS: I loved this tweet from us last week: What does a baby at the UN, a dad who gives away food and a generous Brisbane dentist have in common? They’re all stars in our #FeelGoodFriday stories this week.