Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pakistan Floods Deployment - First Day in Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan

It is the fist day in country, but actually the second day of the deployment really.

The first day of the mission actually started last week already, the moment we were told that an American ERU was going to join the relief operation and that we were on the list. From that moment on, we started to get briefed and educate and prepare ourselves on the disaster, on the country and its particularities. Those days are dedicated on getting our lives ready, personal and professional, including shots, vaccinations, following updates more closely, etc...It is also comforting to know that former friends and colleagues for previous deployments are waiting for us on the ground. Although I have never been in Pakistan yet, it is not terra incognita..

Yet, last Friday was spent in Washington at Headquarters for briefings, operational, security, logistics, equipment, gear, etc. Departure from Dulles Airport Friday night at 11:00pm and got us to Islamabad Snuday morning at 3:30 in the morning.

First hours to get ourselves situated and after a few hours of sleep, security and operational briefing with Federation operational leadership. As team leader, I am sensing the importance of representing the American Red Cross and of its role and expectations within the Movement.

The learning curve might steep already, but will likely become steeper in the next few days (meeting with Pakistan Red Crescent leadership tomorrow).

For more information about the Pakistan National Red Crescent Society, follow this link:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Remembering Hurricane Katrina: You're Never Alone

Kay Wilkins, the CEO of American Red Cross in Southeast Louisiana Chapter, talks about what it was like when Hurricane Katrina struck.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Video: Remembering Hurricane Katrina Five Years Later

Hear from those on the frontlines with the Red Cross 5 years ago about how their lives have been changed by Hurricane Katrina and how this event was a "game changer" for the Red Cross.

Help the American Red Cross prepare for the nearly 70,000 disasters it responds to each year across the country, including almost 3,000 here in Greater New York by making a donation.

Monday, August 9, 2010

NY Red Cross Assists 28 after Fire on White Plains Road

After a 3-alarm fire tore through a row of stores on White Plains Road around 11 p.m. on August 8, the NY Red Cross was on the scene to provide humanitarian assistance to the people living above the stores who were displaced by the blaze. NY Chapter relief workers registered 20 adults and 8 children for Red Cross services and provided 4 households (17 adults and 8 children) with emergency housing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"I wanted to give our caseworker a hug."

When she smelled smoke in her fourth-floor Brooklyn apartment on the afternoon of July 6, Robin Lott called the fire department. “They came and checked the circuit breakers and felt the walls. They said the walls were cold, and left,” said Robin, who then decided to run out to the store. When she returned twenty minutes later her daughter said, “The walls are crackling!” The smell of smoke was stronger now, and Robin and her four children could see smoke rising through the rooms. After the returning firefighters discovered a fire in the incinerator shaft, Robin and her kids ran downstairs to safety. 

Robin, a seasonal worker for the NYC Parks and Recreation Department who had just been laid off, was distraught at losing the apartment where her family had lived for 15 years. “I’ve never experienced anything like this,” she said. “And I didn’t have anybody to walk me through it. Then the Red Cross came.” Red Cross relief workers arranged emergency housing for Robin and her family and gave them money for replacement food and clothing. “The Red Cross was so good to us,” said Robin. “They took good care of us—I wanted to give our caseworker a hug.”

Robin Lott from Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

“I didn’t know how much you do.”

It was four in the morning when a fire broke out in the four-family house on Staten Island where Shannon Barback rented an apartment with her three children. Shannon, the kids, and her boyfriend, Nick, were awakened by two teenage girls who saw smoke as they were passing by, banged on the door and yelled, “Fire! Get out, get out!” Nick opened the bathroom door, saw flames, slammed the door shut and ran to get Shannon and the kids, pulling them down the stairs and across the street.

“The Red Cross was there really quickly,” said Shannon. “They gave us water and coffee. We had no shoes; and they gave us shoes. They told us to come to headquarters for further services. I had no idea of all the services you provide.” At the office, the Red Cross gave the family emergency funds to buy food and clothing, MetroCards and referrals for housing and for counseling for the kids.

Shannon, who just graduated from nursing school, says that she and her kids will stay at her mom’s for now. Long term, she’s planning to take the State nursing boards, get a job, make some money and get back on her feet. And she’s very grateful to the Red Cross. “You guys do a lot,” she said. “I didn’t know how much you do. I appreciate everything; you’ve been very caring.”

Shannon Barback from Staten Island