Singapore Red Cross to support recovery of Aceh earthquake survivors

Singapore, 16 December - The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) is ready to send Allied Health professionals and psychological first aid practitioners to support the communities affected by the earthquake that struck Aceh Indonesia on 7 December.

Mr Benjamin William, Secretary-General for the Singapore Red Cross, said, “As expected, the SRC team deployed to Aceh found significant numbers of survivors with orthopedic injuries. The necessary immediate medical treatment, including surgery had been provided, with the Indonesian Red Cross surgeons alone having performed surgery for more than 20 patients. This large number of orthopaedic patients require follow up physiotherapy care to facilitate early recovery.

Another priority is to help affected children be ready to return to school when the new term starts in January. School life helps children regain a sense of normalcy after a disaster and is also critical for their emotional recovery. ”

SRC volunteer health professionals will work with the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) to support local health professionals and volunteers with a capacity building programme for physiotherapy care. This initiative will actually be an expansion of SRC’s ongoing project to build capacity for mass casualty management in Aceh. Where needed, the SRC volunteers will also provide physiotherapy care directly.

SRC’s psychological first-aid trained volunteers are also ready to participate in PMI’s programme to provide educational materials, stationery and school uniforms for children returning to school. They will also be able to support PMI’s ongoing psychosocial support activities for the affected children. SRC’s involvement is part of its SPLASH (School Promoting and Learning about Safety and Hygiene) project - an on-going collaborative project with PMI to build resilience amongst school children in Aceh.

Capacity Building Project in Mass Casualty Management

This SRC-PMI joint project to strengthen the mass casualty treatment capacity of the Cut Nyak Dien hospital (CNDH) in North Aceh was started in February 2016. Project initiatives include the procurement of equipment for the emergency department, developing guidelines and standard operating procedures for mass casualty management, training and simulation. 10 CNDH staff have attended training on mass casualty treatment, conducted by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore. SRC staff have also observed a CNDH simulation exercise during a learning field trip in November 2016.

The Singapore Red Cross and PMI have been working closely on disaster response and recovery efforts since the Asian tsunami in 2004, particularly in areas such as medical aid, relief distribution and water and sanitation. Today, there are still ongoing collaborative humanitarian efforts in Indonesia, and specifically Aceh.

Note: While SRC has not launched a public fundraising appeal at this point, it is receiving donations for Aceh relief efforts. Donations can be made at Red Cross House, 15 Penang Lane, Singapore 238486, during office hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm). Cheques can be made payable to ‘Singapore Red Cross Society’ and posted to the above address. Donations to overseas efforts are not tax deductible.