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JIS News

The Jamaica Red Cross has so far provided assistance to over 400 families across the island  who were affected by the passage of Hurricane Sandy, on October 24.

"We have distributed already, enough food for 400 families and we do the packages, assuming it will be mother, father and three children. So, hopefully what we give them will last for four or five days,” Chairman, Emergency Services at the Jamaica Red Cross, Dormah Harrison, told JIS News in an interview.

He further informed that the relief agency has already put together an additional 500 packages of food, which will be distributed across the island today (October 27).

Mr. Harrison explained that it was easy for the Red Cross to assist with the relief efforts, due to small store rooms with relief supplies strategically located across the island.

“We know, sometimes, that when these things happen you cannot reach certain places from headquarters, so out in the parishes we have stores, where they can be self sufficient until we can get to them from headquarters. We are in the business of relief and as long as there is a need, we will have to provide it,” Mr. Harrison said.

“Part of what has happened, too, is that the Federation is a worldwide organisation and it has activated what we call an emergency disaster relief fund; and they flew in from Panama to help us with the assessment and will provide additional funds to allow us to support the people in terms of food, tarpaulins and  blankets, primarily for persons in the east. They will also provide us with funds to help them get back on their feet,” he added.

In the meantime, Mr. Harrison said small banana farmers and fisher folk  affected by the hurricane will also receive cash grants to assist them back on their feet.  Some of the items distributed to those in need include food, tarpaulins, bedding, sanitary products, such as soap, water and first aid kits.

Jamaica Red Cross is a part of the International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The mission of the Red Cross Movement is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilising the power of humanity.

The core areas that define the work of all Red Cross Societies, including Jamaica Red Cross, are disaster preparedness and response; health and care in the communities; and promotion of fundamental principles and humanitarian values. There is also a strong focus on youth development.