Volunteer Spotlight: Kelly Turner in Calgary

Kelly Turner Volunteer

Kelly Turner started volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross two and a half years ago after assisting in an online group to help the victims of a flood in North Dakota. Since then, she has been deployed to disasters across the country to help provide relief. In addition to a fire in Timmins, flooding in Thunder Bay, and the mall collapse in Elliott Lake, Kelly has been in volunteering in Calgary since June 25th to help respond to the damage caused by flooding. Since arriving there she was worked with the operations team in Mission (one of the hardest hit areas), at a call centre during early recovery efforts, and is now working as a recovery case worker in High River. Kelly is happy to be able to stay in Alberta to see the transition from relief into recovery and shares one of the more memorable moments in her time in High River:

In High River I met a stoic 6 year old child. Her mother said she had not spoken since all of her stuffed animals drowned in the flood. I took a bear off the red Cross table and approached her with the bear whispering in my ear. “This one?” I asked the bear. She looked at me strangely. I bent down to her level and said “Excuse me, are you 6?” She nodded. “This bear lost his family in the flood and he wants to know if he can live with you?” Her eyes filled with tears as she took him from my arms and hugged him. As I walked away she was telling him “I know exactly how you feel, I lost my family too.” It made me realize that every flood victim is a 6 year old child seeking the one thing that allows them comfort, no matter what that may be. I am grateful for the opportunity to have met this family. They did far more for me than I could ever have done for them!

More than 1,000 volunteers from across Canada have been mobilized to help respond to the flooding in Alberta. As winter weather has arrived, Red Cross volunteers are working to help provide furnaces, hot water tanks, and other essential items for heating for homeowners impacted by the June flooding through the Winter Emergency Heat Program.

Photo of the Day: Red Cross Volunteers Show What Voluntary Service Looks Like

Red Cross Red Crescent

Photo Credit: IFRC

Today, December 5, we celebrate International Volunteer Day with a heartfelt thank you to all our volunteers!  We wanted to share this photo that symbolizes this tremendous volunteer commitment.Over 800 Australian Red Cross volunteers recently gathered outside the Sydney Opera House in a giant formation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems as a representation of the Fundamental Principles of Humanity and Voluntary Service. The act marked the opening of the bi-annual statutory meetings of delegates from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to discuss humanitarian issues and the future direction of the Red Cross Red Crescent. You can find more information about these meetings on ifrc.org.

Photo of the Day: Supporting Children Affected by Disaster

ERU-BHC-Surgical_OrmocPhilippines_TyphoonHaiyan_26Nov2013_GSinghCdnRedCross (8)

A disaster or emergency can be especially stressful for children who are forced to cope with the loss of routine, home, schools, or loved ones. Following typhoon Haiyan, the Red Cross is working with children affected by the typhoon to help them adjust to life after the storm. This includes activities and opportunities to play. Two delegates with the Canadian Red Cross team are specifically focusing their efforts on providing psycho-social support and violence prevention in the impacted communities. This includes training local volunteers who will continue to provide outreach in affected communities.

For more information on the psycho-social support being provided in the Philippines visit, visit TorontoStar.ca.

Photo of the Day: Updates from the Field Hospital

Ormoc Field Hospital

The Canadian Red Cross field hospital has delivered more than 50 babies and performed 24 surgeries, including several caesarian sections, since it opened last week. Pictured above, Mark Joseph Nuez, 21, visits with his wife Phoebe, also 21, and his son Mark Nathan. At only a few minutes old in the photo, Mark Nathan was the 21st baby born in the ERU’s delivery tent in Ormoc, Leyte Island.

The Government of Canada has extended the deadline to match all donations made by individuals to registered charities for typhoon Haiyan relief until December 23, 2013. The Canadian Red Cross is accepting donations to the Typhoon Haiyan fund to help support relief efforts in the Philippines.

Photo of the Day: Canadian Red Cross Field Hospital Treating Patients in Ormoc

The Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Unit (ERU) in Ormoc, Philippines opened to treat its first patients last week. The field hospital has been set up in front of the local hospital which suffered extensive damage as a result of the typhoon and will help the local community by providing health services including surgery, maternal and child health, immunization, and pediatric care. Canadian Red Cross delegates continue to work closely with the local hospital and community to provide health services and relief and have already provided great relief to the local hospital staff who were working hard to help those in need of medical services following the storm. You can find some photos of the field hospital construction in this photo blog

You can support Red Cross relief efforts by donating to the Typhoon Haiyan fund.

Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Unit leaves for Philippines

Red Cross ERU Delegates

Today, delegates from the Canadian Red Cross were deployed with the Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Unit (ERU) to provide health care to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. The team of twelve Canadian medical and support staff will join delegates from the Norwegian Red Cross and Hong Kong Red Cross to set up and run the field hospital, which can support the health needs of over 100,000 people through inpatient and out-patient services. The field hospital has previously provided health services in Haiti, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and Mozambique.

Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Unit Philippines

Thanks to the support from the Government of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross is able to deploy trained medical and support professionals with the ERU during disasters and humanitarian crises.

The Canadian Red Cross is appealing for funds to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Donations made by individual Canadians between November 8 and December 9, 2013 will be matched by the Government of Canada. Donations can be made online or by texting REDCROSS or ROUGE to 30333 to make an automatic $5 donation.

Photo of the Day: How the Red Cross Responds to Disasters

Philippine Red Cross volunteers mobilizing in Northern Cebu. Photo: Philippine Red Cross

Philippine Red Cross volunteers mobilizing relief items in Northern Cebu. Photo: Philippine Red Cross

Nearly 10 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan according to the latest report from the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Over 618,000 people have been displaced by the disaster and 1,458 evacuation centres have been opened.

Following a disaster of this scale, the local Red Cross society relies on its teams of local volunteers to respond. The Philippine Red Cross has over 500,000 active volunteers across all provinces and major cities. These teams of local staff and volunteers are reaching some of the worst affected areas, although access is difficult. They are offering support to impacted people, including search and rescue, first aid, serving meals in shelters, family tracing and psychosocial support. A convoy of 25 Red Cross vehicles including ambulances and water trucks is on its way to Tacloban with relief supplies.

The Red Cross movement also has a large network of highly trained disaster response experts who can be mobilized to support relief efforts. This includes Emergency Response Units, such as the field hospital that is being deployed tomorrow to the Philippines by the Canadian Red Cross, with support from the Norwegian and Hong Kong Red Cross societies.

The Canadian Red Cross is preparing to deploy its field hospital to the Philippines. Photo shared on Twitter by @TomPodolec.

The Canadian Red Cross is preparing to deploy its field hospital to the Philippines. Photo shared on Twitter by @TomPodolec.

As with all disasters, the most effective way to provide help to the Philippines is through a financial donation. This ensures those affected receive the right materials as quickly as possible without having to worry about the time or costs associated with shipping hard goods. The Canadian government is currently matching donations made by individual Canadians between November 8 and December 9, 2013.

More information on how to support through a fundraising initiative can be found at redcross.ca.

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