Hello from our Red Cross office in North Melbourne where all Melbourne-based teams are now located. The Melbourne Move and wellbeing teams have done really well, welcoming all of us with fun facts about the Villiers Street premises and a guide on the best cafes and eating places nearby.
Help Aussie Farmers Appeal
In my last blog, I talked about our Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal to help farmers and the farming communities affected by the drought. We are going strong in our fundraising efforts. So far, we have raised over $2.4 million including contribution by the Commonwealth Bank. I encourage you to spread the message to support our Aussie farmers and lift the morale among the farming families who are battling the drought.
Earthquake in Lombok
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Lombok, Indonesia, in the early evening of Sunday. It was felt in neighboring provinces of Bali and Surabaya, followed by more than 130 aftershocks. This follows another significant earthquake of 6.4 magnitude and hundreds of aftershocks that struck Lombok one week earlier on 29 July.
The community is apprehensive about returning to their homes and many people have been sleeping in the open outside their homes or on the roadsides. Indonesian Red Cross has been quick to respond, evacuating people from coastal areas (to avoid a possible tsunami) and from damaged houses (due to risk of aftershocks). The teams are providing first aid, helping transport the injured to various hospitals, and distributing relief items such as tarpaulins, blankets and hygiene kits. They are also providing psychological first aid to reduce the mental trauma caused by the quake, including loss of loved ones. In total, 250 staff and volunteers are part of the effort.
We’re talking with the IFRC and other partners to understand how we can best support needs on the ground.
22nd Maurice Blackburn Oration
On Thursday last week, I had the honour of presenting the 22nd Maurice Blackburn Oration on the Humanitarian Impact of War. The event pays tribute to the lives and work of two political and human rights activists, Maurice and Doris Blackburn, and is funded by their generous trust fund.
In my keynote speech, I spoke about the critical challenges that we are facing right now as well as the need to turn our minds to what new humanitarian issues are likely to arise as the nature of war changes in the coming years and decades. I also spoke about the interconnected nature of many of these challenges and the cumulative stress it places on people caught up in war and the humanitarian system.
There are many ways to alleviate the impacts of war but I focused on three key areas. First and foremost, we can start by seeking greater adherence to the laws of war. The laws of war protect people who are not, or are no longer, taking part in the conflict and they place limits on the ways in which wars are fought. Red Cross of course has an integral part to play in promoting understanding and respect for these laws in Australia and all around the world.
We can also work on ensuring that technology is harnessed as a force for good in a range of humanitarian settings including in times of conflict. Lastly, we can stop and think about how we engage with the growing diversity of actors in conflict zones through partnerships, to help to create more positive humanitarian outcomes.
You can view the video here.
Screen grab from the ABC program, Back Roads.
Tiwi Red Cross on ABC Back Roads
A couple of weeks back, two Red Cross workers were featured on the ABC program, Back Roads. Tiwi men Greg Orstow and Bernard Tipiloura were giving weekly classes about respect and culture to kids and coaching the new local team.
These are just a few examples of the excellent work happening in Tiwi Islands.
Red Cross works closely with the communities, Elders, service providers, government agencies and peak bodies, coordinating support services for young families and children and supporting participation and decision-making.
If you haven’t had the chance to catch it, here’s the link to the program.