|Tiara Youmans (R) coordinates with a team member from the
Austrian Red Cross at a site in the Greek town of Vagiochori.
Tiara Youmans first joined the American Red Cross in 2010 as a volunteer in Denver, Colorado. Over the last nine years she has traveled across the US and around the world in support of the Red Cross humanitarian mission. But her biggest challenge since joining the organization lies ahead: a two-month deployment to Northern Greece where she will help provide critical relief to refugees.
Youmans recently traveled to Europe with the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support a Cash Transfer Program that provides refugees with funds to give them a sense of autonomy and dignity as they seek to rebuild their lives. This program, implemented by the IFRC, was established by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHRC). Youmans is based in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, and travels regularly to sites in the mountains in the North of the country where of thousands of refugees from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa live.
“I’m really grateful to have the opportunity. I’ve been an International Delegate for the Red Cross since 2015 and I have only deployed once before to Haiti,” said Youmans. “This will be my first time working on a refugee and migrant situation rather than natural disasters.”
This crisis was spurred by the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees in Greece back in 2015 (20 times more than the previous year). Though these numbers have gone down since, significant arrivals by land and sea have continued since. The implementation of the UNHCR cash program is one component of the Global Red Cross Red Crescent response to this crisis.
Speaking about her work, Youmans explains: “While emergency supplies are still very important, especially in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, more and more, we are leaning to cash assistance so that the beneficiaries are able to make their own decisions on their recovery.”
Youmans is part of a small roster of highly-specialized and experienced American Red Cross disaster professionals, International Delegates as they are called, who deploy and provide aid during global crises alongside Red Cross and/or Red Crescent team members from the host country and from around the world. Youmans is one of four International Delegates from the Greater NY Region who are trained to deploy in this capacity. In 2016, she deployed to Haiti to serve as a relief delegate following Hurricane Matthew.
In her role at the American Red Cross in Greater NY, Tiara Youmans serves as the Regional Director of Client Services and Recovery.