Red Cross restates commitment to serve humanity, seeks insurance for volunteers Newsdiaryonline


By Joan Odafe

The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), Lagos Branch, has reiterated its commitment to alleviate suffering and promote the well-being of those in need.

The Branch Chairman, Mrs Adebola Kolawole, gave the assurance during an event to mark the 2023 World Humanitarian Day (WHD) on Saturday in Lagos.

She said the event, with the theme: “No Matter What”, was organised by the Lagos branch to recognise and appreciate the services of its volunteers and other humanitarian organisations.

Kolawole said the theme was chosen to ensure the society’s resolve to serve humanity relentlessly.

She said the organisation’s 800,000 volunteers and staff had consistently demonstrated their commitment to alleviating suffering, supporting communities and saving lives, often at great personal risks.

She said: “Between 2016 and 2022, according to the Aid Worker Security Database, 41 workers have been killed in North-East Nigeria while 22 have been wounded and 28 kidnapped.

“Only three months ago, five aid workers were kidnapped in Apa, Benue State.”

She said that the Red Cross would not be discouraged by the number of workers killed or injured in the course of the humanitarian activities.

“No matter what we are facing financially; whether we have ambulances or not, you will still see us on the streets doing our job,” she said.

Kolawole also thanked donors and supporters for believing in Red Cross and helping them to carry out their humanitarian work.

She urged individuals and organisations to support the Red Cross “Project Hunger Crisis” to avert what she referred to as the looming hunger crisis.

Also, the Branch Secretary, Mr Olakunle Lasisi, said the Red Cross must always look for ways to reach people in need, no matter what the circumstances presented.

Lasisi, however, stressed the need for the protection of volunteers during emergency response.

He said the volunteers had undergone various trainings to help to reduce the impact of incidents of them being kidnapped, killed or maimed during interventions.

Lasisi said: “We have to protect ourselves before we can think of protecting others.

“If it is not safe for us to reach out, I don’t think it will be feasible for us to make a meaningful impact.

“What is most important is that there’s peace in the nation; if there’s peace and calm, it will be easier for other humanitarian activities to be done.”

The Training Director, NRCS, Lagos, Mr Ige Oladimeji, said it was rather pitiable that after much trainings and retraining, volunteers still die during emergency responses.

“We always do training and retraining on Safer Access so they know when to move in or not to assist the wounded and vulnerable.

“With all our Safer Access framework, disasters still occur and we lose some volunteers.

“We need organisations that can assist us, especially in the area of insurance to our members, so that when things happen, their families can have something to fall back on,” he said. (NAN)

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