Saturday, January 4, 2014

Another Red Cross Volunteer to Represent Greater NY in the Philippines

Christophe Lobry-Boulanger, along-side fellow Red Cross volunteers departing for the Philippines

Christophe P. Lobry-Boulanger, advisor to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' Delegation to the UN, and an eight-year Greater New York Red Cross volunteer, took off for the Philippines today for a four-week deployment to Tacloban.

Christophe will be a member of a five-person Red Cross Relief Emergency Response Unit, or ERU, and will help with the Typhoon Haiyan relief effort. He will overlap briefly with Raul Rivera Nuñez, Greater New York’s regional manager of mass care and logistics, whose has been working with the Philippine relief effort since December. We spoke with Christophe just before he left. 
Greater NY Red Cross (GNY).  You have deployed overseas many times with the Red Cross, correct?
Christophe Lobry-Boulanger (CLB).  Yes, this will be my fourth deployment. I deployed to Haiti early in 2010 after the earthquake; later that year I was in Pakistan after the massive 2010 floods. I also deployed to Kenya in 2009 after a flood in that country. 

GNY. What will your role be in the Philippines?
CLB. I will be part of a five-person team of American Red Cross workers from around the U.S. We are traveling to Washington, D.C. today [Jan. 3] and will be given our precise responsibilities in D.C. I do know I’ll be doing some work in communications. 

GNY:  Will you be working with Raul?
CLB. We’re going to be in same base camp as Raul and we’ll do a turnover of responsibilities. Raul is part of the second ERU rotation and we are the third rotation. 

GNY. Are you looking forward to this deployment?
CLB. I am proud to represent the American Red Cross and the Greater New York Red Cross. We represent an organization that helps everyone; this is for me the true representation of our saying that the Red Cross helps people “Down the street, across the country, and around the world.” 

I like that I’ll be providing assistance and support to the Filipino Red Cross as they assist their own population. They have a very strong national society. They have the wherewithal and volunteers and resilience; but in past three months they’ve had four major disasters, including an earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan. Their resources have been put to the limit and that’s where we come in.

GNY. How does your family feel about your work?
CLB. I have family in Germany and France. They support me; they are proud of me. They say I volunteer for them.  

GNY. Is there something you are especially looking forward to on this deployment?
. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the Red Crossers I’ve worked with before on other overseas deployments. And most important, this is chance to go into the field again. It ties into the work that I do at the UN, which is mostly policy work. I miss being in the field and meeting the volunteers who do the work.

You can follow Christophe on Twitter, @lobryboulanger.

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