March 2010 | Issue 12
the long road
from the ashes
P2 the Humanitarian
Two staggering natural disasters have been the focus of the beginning of 2010.
Just 12 days into the year, images of a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti began
flooding our television screens.
At the same time, survivors of the devastating 2009 Victorian bushfires were
preparing themselves emotionally to commemorate the anniversary of a day
that is etched in Australia’s memory.
In this edition of the Humanitarian, contributing writer Sian Powell analyses how
humanitarian agencies are putting lessons learned from past disasters into
action, as they face the enormous task of rebuilding in Haiti.
6 long road
Jacqui Pringle speaks to an Australian aid worker who has recently returned
from Haiti, where he helped to set up and run a basic health care clinic to care
for survivors of the earthquake.
One year on, Karina Coates and Janine Gray find out how two couples affected
by the Victorian bushfires are recovering, as they share some of their experiences
of the past year.
To help young people recover from emergencies such as the Victorian
bushfires, Red Cross has developed new resources containing personal stories, ashes
music and interviews. Jacqui Pringle speaks to two young people who share
their own experiences of emergencies, through which they hope to help others
in similar situations.
Andrea Lee meets siblings from the Democratic Republic of Congo, reunited
through Red Cross after five years of separation.
Bruce Wardley looks at a school-based support service that is helping families 16 futures
overcome challenges and give their children the best start in life.
And Laura McKay explores how a basic first aid course saved a life the following
week in Vanuatu.
We hope you enjoy this edition of the Humanitarian, and we hope you are
inspired to help us continue our work supporting vulnerable people in so many
ways. Please visit our website at www.redcross.org.au to see how you can help
by becoming a humanitarian partner. 22
Make a donation
1800 811 700
First Aid enquiries
1300 367 428
13 14 95
Robert Tickner Director of Services and Become a humanitarian partner
CEO International Operations 1800 812 081
Australian Red Cross Australian Red Cross
Front cover: Mirly Etienne receives clean drinking water
from French Red Cross in Camp Dihautsu, an internally
displaced persons camp in Port-au-Prince. Photo: Talia
Frenkel/American Red Cross
March 2010 P3
A child with a gun is a disturbing image.
You may have seen just that around your
city in February – cardboard cut-outs
of a life-size little boy and girl, in school
uniform, clutching a gun nearly as big
as they are, two rounds of ammunition
slung casually across their bodies.
It’s all part of our Even Wars Have Laws
campaign. The campaign highlighted
the simple and compelling message
that ‘even wars have laws’. International
humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of rules
that seeks to limit the effects of armed
conflict on people and objects. Also
known as the law of war, or law of
armed conflict, IHL protects certain
categories of people and restricts the
methods and means of warfare.
Using street-based installations the
• it is illegal to torture prisoners
of war (indeed anyone!) under
• it is a crime to use children to fight
• weapons such as landmines are
banned because they do not
discriminate between soldiers
even wars have laws
Red Cross wants the Australian public
to know that wars do have laws, and
that these laws make a difference. They
continue to save the lives of civilians, and
captured and wounded combatants.
Nine-year-old Matt who features in the
campaign (pictured) got a taste of what
it’s like to be a child soldier for a day.
‘The bullets were heavy as,’ he said.
‘Seeing myself on the poster, I really
don’t like being in war. It’d be really sad
if I had to do that,’ he said.
The reality is that children just like Matt
are being forced to hold weapons and
take part in atrocities. Forcing children
to fight a war is criminal and children
under 18 cannot be forced to sign up.
Even if they volunteer, they still cannot
take part in the fighting.
Nine-year-old Matt played the role of child soldier for a day. For some children being a child soldier is not dress up –
they are forced to hold weapons and take part in atrocities. Photo: Australian Red Cross/David Calleja (Fuel).
P4 the Humanitarian
news in brief
Soccer fans support South
While it’s hoped that the Socceroos
will make a big impact in this year’s
World Cup in South Africa, Australia’s
dedicated soccer fans will also leave a
legacy in the rainbow nation long after
the final whistle has blown.
The Green and Gold Army (GGA)
will descend on South Africa in their
hundreds in June. In conjunction with
Australian Red Cross, the GGA aspires
to raise $50,000 for the South African
Red Cross’ HIV Youth Peer Education
Project. The project aims to educate
young people in the most vulnerable
communities about HIV and AIDS and
improve their quality of life. It also aims to
Camp Daihatsu, an internally displaced persons camp in Port-au-Prince. January 27, 2010.
Photo: Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross reduce the incidence of HIV infections.
UNAIDS estimated that, in 2003, about 65
Haiti earthquake response percent of new HIV infections occurred in
On a Tuesday afternoon, 12 January 2010, the Caribbean nation of Haiti was struck the group under the age of 24 and this is
by a devastating earthquake 15 kilometres off the coast. The earthquake left one why the project, particularly the work of
million people injured or homeless, caused huge loss of life and destroyed thousands the peer educators, is so important.
of homes. Strong aftershocks continued weeks after the quake and despite rescue
Youth peer education is one of the
efforts, as time passed the hope of finding more survivors diminished.
most useful tools in preventing HIV
More than 500 Red Cross aid workers from at least 22 countries have been sent transmission as it allows information
to the region to work with the survivors. Local and international staff and volunteers and education to reach young people in
are providing emergency assistance such as clean water, food, shelter and medical vulnerable communities, where there is
attention in the most affected areas. less access to mass media.
The earthquake has compounded the already very difficult humanitarian conditions To make a donation and help the
in Haiti, following tropical storms and hurricanes in 2004 and 2008, which will make GGA reach a goal that goes well
the recovery process even more difficult. beyond soccer, visit
Medical assistance, food, clean water and shelter are priorities for people – tens
of thousands are living on the streets and in makeshift camps throughout the
capital Port-au-Prince. Others have left the city to seek shelter in other areas of
the country. Red Cross has established first aid posts, and much-needed medical
supplies are being distributed to people in need.
The outpouring of generosity and goodwill from the global community has been
extraordinary, with volunteers and staff on the ground and around the world
working to help Haiti recover from this disaster. The work is far from over, however,
and Red Cross will continue to work with the people of Haiti as they begin the
process of rebuilding their country.
Disasters come in many forms. Please visit www.redcross.org.au to see how,
with your support today, Red Cross will always be there to help. Photo: David Chancellor/South African Red Cross Society
March 2010 P5
news in brief
Together as partners with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Convention on Cluster
Islander Australians Munitions to commence
As part of our renewed commitment to supporting the most vulnerable and saving lives
disadvantaged people, Red Cross is putting more effort into working with Aboriginal On 16 February 2010, Burkina Faso
and Torres Strait Islander Australians. became the 30th State to ratify the
In July last year the Austrailan Red Cross Board adopted the Aboriginal and Torres Convention on Cluster Munitions, which
Strait Islander Strategy 2009–2015, which sets out how we will work in long-term, means that the Convention will enter
respectful partnerships with Indigenous peoples and communities and sets clear into force on 1 August 2010. Cluster
outcomes in ten important areas. We are making great progress in this renewed munitions are weapons consisting of
service area. a container that opens in mid-air and
scatters explosive smaller ‘bomblets’
A key to the success of this strategy is employing local people who know and over a wide area. The number of
understand their communities, and can help us work best together. We now have bomblets can vary from several to
more than 80 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in the organisation and are more than 600. They were first used in
on track to meet our target of increasing this number from three to six percent of all World War II, and continue to be used in
staff and volunteers. conflicts today.
We have also opened new offices in Broome in north-western Western Australia and Australian Red Cross strongly supports
in Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory to better support staff and improve service the Convention on Cluster Munitions,
delivery in these areas. Our Kalgoorlie office is due to be officially opened in March. which will help to prevent further civilian
Our existing services are being delivered, and expanded, with Aboriginal and Torres suffering, assist countries that are still
Strait Islander communities in regional centres and remote communities across affected by cluster munitions and bring
Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia. survivors the care and rehabilitation they
require. Australian Red Cross encourages
We are also rolling out some exciting new services that are in line with Red Cross’ the Australian Government to ratify the
new strategic priorities focusing on vulnerable groups such as homeless people, Convention as soon as possible.
people with mental health issues, and prisoners and their families, with an emphasis
on early intervention and prevention. With the entry into force of the
Convention on Cluster Munitions,
For more information about our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait international humanitarian law now
Islander Australians, visit www.redcross.org.au. provides a comprehensive framework
for preventing and ending the civilian
suffering caused by ‘weapons that
can’t stop killing’. Together, the 1997
Mine Ban Convention, the 2003
Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War
and the 2008 Convention on Cluster
Munitions are a far-reaching response
to the humanitarian consequences of
unexploded and abandoned ordnance
and give hope for a future where
affected communities can one day live
without the threat of these weapons.
To read more about how international
humanitarian law is protecting people
during times of armed conflict visit
P6 the Humanitarian
With the enormous task
of rebuilding ahead
for Haiti’s survivors,
are putting lessons
learned from past
disasters into action,
writes Sian Powell.
the long road The decisions
made now will have
The ever-climbing death toll in Haiti is now likely to rival the it is likely to be at the top of the list when major donors meet to
carnage of the 2004 Asian tsunami, one of the worst natural discuss Haiti’s needs at the United Nations headquarters in New
disasters of the modern age. As the sheer scale of the York in March. Donors have already concluded that many of the
catastrophe comes into sharper focus, the international aid spontaneous camps are likely to turn into settlements that will
community is bracing itself for a massive recovery program house thousands of Haitians for years to come, and carefully
expected to take years and cost billions of dollars. planned ‘transitional’ housing should be a priority. Steel beams,
for instance, could hold up tarpaulins in the short-term and later
The Haitian government now estimates as many as 230,000
form the skeletons of more permanent shelter.
Haitians were killed when the magnitude 7.0 quake struck on
12 January. Many of the footpaths, parks and schoolyards of The world has learned a great deal from a spate of natural
Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince, a city now largely reduced disasters: the Asian tsunami, earthquakes in Pakistan, Indonesia,
to rubble, have become impromptu camps for at least one million China and Iran. Planning for years of recovery now begins almost
homeless Haitians. These destitute survivors live under plastic immediately, and constant communication has become a staple
tarps or lengths of fabric strung up to form temporary weather- of disaster aid management. The aid community knows it is
breaks at more than 700 sites of varying sizes in and around essential to discuss plans and operations with the people
Port-au-Prince – many without any sanitation at all. As well affected by the disaster; to start talking and listening as soon as
as the incessant need for food, clean water and medical care, possible, and to keep it up for as long as it takes.
the Haitian need for shelter is becoming increasingly urgent.
Grievous errors can be avoided: like, for instance, the oversupply
Haiti’s rainy season is expected to start in weeks, and the of donated fishing boats to tsunami-affected Sri Lanka, where
Caribbean hurricane season officially begins on 1 June. Adequate over-fishing had long been a problem; or the failure to help keep
shelter and sanitation is crucial to prevent a wave of disease, and the essential orchards watered in Bam in Iran after the 2003
March 2010 P7
earthquake, the priority deemed most important by the people of many as 230,000 people in 2004.
Bam, more important than shelter or schools.
As well as the importance of maintaining clear lines of
Planning for kick-starting livelihoods and providing long-term communication with the affected populace, Staines says the
shelter has to begin almost immediately to avoid dispiriting tsunami taught development agencies the importance of making
delays. Even before the earthquake Haiti was deeply troubled, very careful early decisions. Rushed or panicky plans, such as
with a disaffected population mostly living below the poverty the urge to hurl up shelters at top speed, can be counter-
line in a nation riddled with corruption and lawlessness. productive. In the end some insecure shelters in post-tsunami
Aceh had to be retrofitted, or even knocked down and replaced.
Many in the development community are determined to avoid
past errors and do their utmost to assist Haitians rebuild their Red Cross was careful to build solid, earthquake resistant houses,
shattered nation, and rebuild it into a more effective, better- even though they took more time and cost more money. And a
functioning, economically more stable nation. World Bank series of aftershocks in Haiti has made it clear that it is essential to
president Robert Zoellick has warned that it is essential the prepare for the worst. ‘The decisions made now will have long-
donors don’t lose interest when the cameras leave. United term impacts,’ Staines says. ‘Building back better is crucial.’
Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon has asked the world to Sian Powell worked for The Australian for 14 years until the end
think about Haiti’s future, to free Haitians from ‘dependence on of 2008. The newspaper’s Jakarta correspondent between 2003
the world’s generosity’. and 2006, she spent a lot of time in tsunami-ravaged Aceh.
Chris Staines, an Australian tsunami unit officer from the She now works as a freelance journalist in Thailand.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Please visit www.redcross.org.au to see how you can
Societies, has been working on compiling information on the support Red Cross to always be there to help people
lessons learned from the Asian tsunami that took the lives of as affected by disasters.
Residents of La Piste, Port-au-Prince, lined up hours in advance of the 13 February distribution of relief shelter-material – tarpaulins and rope.
Photo: American Red Cross/Bonnie Gillespie
P8 the Humanitarian
Australian Red Cross
aid worker Christopher
Cliffe travelled to
Port-au-Prince to help
people injured by the
devastating 12 January
Pringle spoke with
Christopher upon his
return to Australia.
Joely Jeanwe in the destroyed 18th Centuary cathedral in downtown Port-au-Prince. January 24, 2010. Photo: Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross
March 2010 P9
Christopher Cliffe recalls the moment The team spent its days working
he and his colleagues discovered through a steady stream of injured
a two-year-old living in a makeshift patients at the clinic, typically treating
camp. Both of the child’s legs had infected or badly managed crush
been broken during the earthquake. injuries from the earthquake, as
Plaster casts had been applied, but the well as emerging illnesses related to
bones had pierced the skin. Unable to overcrowding and the breakdown of
access follow-up care, painful sores had local infrastructure; pneumonia and lung
developed and become infected. infections, skin disorders and diarrhoeal
diseases. Christopher also travelled out
‘He was crying and very distressed, as to communities to identify the public
Australian aid worker Christopher and his colleagues
spent each day working through a steady stream of you can imagine,’ Christopher says. ‘It health needs of people who had been
patients injured during the earthquake. Photo: Courtesy took a fair amount of time to calm him displaced by the earthquake and were
of Christopher Cliffe
down, for him to trust us and for the living in makeshift camps.
family to realise that we were going to
take him and the mother away to the ‘There were nearly a million people,
little hospital that we’d created.’ maybe more, who were displaced. And
these are people who have lost their
Upon arrival at the small Red Cross clinic, houses and some, their livelihoods,’
Christopher and his colleagues removed Christopher says.
the plaster and dressed the wounds.
‘To see how much more comfortable we You have to look for
were able to make him, and to get him the small, little glimpses of
laughing and carrying on and blowing
up the gloves and drawing faces on
hope that happen.
them … they’re the highlights,’ he says. ‘In the first few days, people were just
‘You have to look for the small, little sitting on piles of rubble, looking into
glimpses of hope that happen.’ space. I can’t blame them, they didn’t
know which way was up. But very quickly,
Christopher arrived in Haiti six days
people started to realise there were
after the capital of Port-au-Prince was
children who survived, people needed to
levelled by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake. be fed, they needed to find water, they
Driving overland across the Dominican needed to search for a job … that life
survives in Haiti
Republic and through the border into goes on. The resilience was amazing.’
Haiti, he joined more than 1,000 national
and international Red Cross workers Christopher says that aid efforts over
assisting shell-shocked communities. the two-week period were making an
increased impact on the communities in
Although an experienced Red Cross aid which he was working.
worker, having spent the past 15 years
helping communities ravaged by natural ‘People were starting to get food and
Six weeks after the quake, the getting access to water, and people
and man-made disasters in countries
Australian public, governments and were getting more and more access to
across the world, nothing could have
corporate organisations had donated latrines and shelter,’ he says.
prepared Christopher for the devastation
more than $6 million to the Australian
he witnessed upon his arrival. ‘The needs were enormous and it was a
Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Appeal.
huge task, but there’s a lot of experience
Since the first donations began to ‘In the city centre, which people liken to
in the international world. Everyone’s
flow, funds from the appeal have the size of Melbourne, at least 95 percent working together and everyone’s pulling
been used to support emergency of buildings were totally wiped out,’ he together and it’s going to take a long
relief work. Ten Australian Red Cross says. ‘The buildings were just rubble. time for Haiti to rebuild and to meet all of
aid workers have been sent to Haiti their needs, but I have hope that they’re
‘The number of people walking around
since 12 January to provide medical going to make it.’
in a daze was horrific. People had lost
support and expertise in shelter. Each
everything, they were thirsty, they didn’t The Australian Red Cross Delegates
of our aid workers provides additional
know when and if they were going to Program is supported by the
capacity to Haitian Red Cross Society
get food, they had no shelter; they didn’t Australian Government (AusAID). Visit
staff and volunteers who have been
know what was happening to their loved www.redcross.org.au to find out how
working around the clock since the
ones. They were terrified,’ he says. to become an Australian Red Cross
earthquake occurred. The funds
Joining a Japanese medical team, aid worker or to support our aid work
from the appeal will also contribute
across the world.
to rehabilitation and recovery Christopher and his colleagues were
activities aimed at assisting Haitian tasked with setting up and running a
communities to rebuild their homes basic health care clinic among the rubble
and lives over the coming three years. of a suburb just outside Port-au-Prince.
P10 the Humanitarian
There are many paths and a sprinkler system. But the months
that followed have been consumed by
Both couples have also appreciated
the support of the wider Australian and
to recovery from a dealing with the bushfires’ enormous international community, reflected in
impacts on the rest of their property. the unprecedented response to the
major catastrophe like Victorian Bushfire Appeal. Karen and
Lynda says the clean up has been
the Victorian bushfires. physically, mentally and emotionally
Macca’s temporary home and Lynda
and Ken’s replacement hayshed were
Karina Coates and demanding. ‘I think the hardest thing was
funded through donations to the appeal.
that I couldn’t find time for time out,’ she
Janine Gray find out says. As well as managing paperwork, ‘Every single person, whether they
how two couples have attending appointments and community
events, hosting visitors and arranging
donated 50 cents or $50,000, they
have a stake in Kinglake’s future and the
coped over the last year. tradespeople, there was also the physical other fire-affected areas,’ says Macca
work that needed to be done. ‘Pulling passionately. ‘So I say, come on up, buy a
down the fences was just ongoing – pie, have a beer at the bar and see where
every weekend – and people said “you’ve your generous donations have gone.’
got to have a break”, but we couldn’t.
We felt we had to get the place back to Simple pleasures
When Kinglake residents Karen and where we were before the fires,’ Lynda
Anthony (Macca) McDonald lost their says. ‘It was one thing after the other.’ While Karen takes pleasure in her
home and well-established garden in the garden, particularly enjoying the visits
bushfires, it was heartbreaking to consider Even signs of recovery in the scorched of vibrant rosellas, king parrots and
all that had gone. But the thought of landscape, though welcome, have cockatoos that provide bright splashes
moving to another community and starting produced mixed feelings for Ken and of colour in the rejuvenating landscape,
again was even less appealing. Lynda. ‘When we first saw the regrowth Lynda and Ken have also been
we thought it was beautiful,’ Lynda says. remembering the special reasons they
‘We’ve been here for 12 years, we ‘But after a while, we almost felt broken- decided to move to the area, and the
love the community and we’re part of hearted. Because of the rain, everything importance of living in the moment.
it, so we thought it was important to has regenerated and it’s lovely and green
stand tall and continue to be part of – but it is completely out of control. It’s ‘When we worked on the fences with
the community,’ says Macca. ‘We also overwhelming to think that there’s more wonderful volunteers from the organisation
felt that with the magnitude of good will work to do – another huge job.’ BlazeAid, I realised it was enjoyable – we
after the fires, we wanted to show that had a laugh with the neighbours and
the investment wasn’t in vain.’ Dr Rob Gordon, consultant psychologist for the first time we sat down at a place
with Australian Red Cross, has spent that we had always said would be nice
The Kinglake couple are living in a the past year working with communities to have a picnic – and it was just brilliant,
temporary home while they wait for in bushfire-affected areas. He says that absolutely brilliant. We said “wow, this is
their new home to be built. As it slowly for those recovering from a major event what everybody else sees.”’
takes shape, Karen spends much of like the bushfires, every dimension of
her time working on her garden. ‘When life, both conscious and sub-conscious, Many people that Dr Gordon has
your house isn’t growing, you get a lot of has been disrupted. ‘Everything has worked with during the year have also
pleasure out of green things,’ she says. changed. It takes a long time, and much spoken of a much clearer sense of
energy, to re-establish those basic what’s important, even though they
Such small pleasures ease the stress
routines and to free the mind for coming continue to feel pain, sadness and grief.
of the vast, time-consuming job of
rebuilding. ‘You get the sense that to terms with it all,’ Dr Gordon says. ‘Some may never take for granted their
people think “it’s been a year since the previous sense of security or confidence,
fires, aren’t you better yet? Haven’t you Giving and receiving but each will find their own new normality
built your house yet?”,’ Karen says. in a changed, though possibly more
Lynda is grateful for the invaluable
‘And you think, how long do you think dangerous world,’ Dr Gordon says.
support of many people in the
this takes? It takes a long time. I mean ‘What we do know for certain is that
community, including new friends and
your house burnt down, not to mention every journey takes time and needs our
Red Cross volunteers. But for a person
all your ancillaries – that’s what people continued support and acknowledgment.’
who is accustomed to helping others,
have had to continue with.’
it was difficult to realise that she herself
At the other end of the Kinglake- needed support. Lynda managed this
Healesville Road, Lynda and Ken feeling by taking every opportunity to
Hultgren’s family saved their home from help other people who were struggling,
three ferocious blazes that converged including transporting the gift of a horse
on their Healesville property. The to a little girl with leukaemia whose own
couple and their three daughters credit horse perished in the fires. ‘That was
focused teamwork as well as a raft of really good. It made me feel better that I
preventative measures – including back could do something for someone else,’
up power, an underground water tank she says. Karen and Anthony McDonald at their Kinglake home.
March 2010 P11
Victorian bushfires –
one year on
One year has passed since we
witnessed the worst natural disaster in
Australia’s history. The loss of so many
lives and the devastation caused by
the Victorian bushfires of 2009 are still
very present in our nation’s psyche.
For many community members whose
lives were irrevocably changed by the
fires, the one-year mark has brought
with it a painful reminder of loss – of
loved ones, homes, possessions and
once close-knit communities. For
others, 7 February 2010 has brought
with it a celebration of life, survival and
from the acknowledgement of how far they
For every Australian, this anniversary
is also a reminder of the incredible
display of generosity and love we
witnessed across this nation, and
indeed the world, in the days, weeks
and months following the fires. As is
so often seen in the face of immense
challenge, the response from the
wider community following the 2009
Victorian bushfires was staggering,
with more than half a million people,
companies and governments
responding to the pain and suffering
of families and communities torn apart
by an act of nature. The power of
humanity to unite people for a cause
should never be underestimated.
The Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009
raised $379 million, which together
with interest and other donations paid
direct to the trust account set up by
the Victorian Government, means
that more than $389 million was
made available to support individuals
and communities in the wake of this
devastating event. For that, we say
The journey to recovery for many
will be long. It certainly doesn’t end
with this anniversary. Australian
Red Cross, through the generous
funding contributed by government,
charitable and corporate supporters,
will continue to work in bushfire-
affected areas, supporting people
in for the long-term through their
journey to recovery.
To view an interactive timeline that
captures the words, images and
voices of the people affected, visit
our website at www.redcross.org.au/
For more information about the
bushfire appeal funds visit
After a year of constant activity, Lynda Hultgren is finding time to reflect. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Rodney Dekker
P12 the Humanitarian
Personal stories, music
and interviews feature in
new resources to help
young people to recover
Jacqui Pringle speaks
to two teenagers
who share their own
experiences of recovery. healing the youth
Tim Liddell is sure that by sharing his experience of flooding in his hometown, he will help other young people get back on their feet after an emergency. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Catfish
Sam Montague knows what it’s like actors and sporting stars. It also includes It’s the experience
to be threatened by fire. The Year 11 an online space where young people,
Maffra Secondary College student like Sam, can share their stories, validate
of others that people
spent more than 60 days over the their experiences and help others. can learn from.
summer of 2006/07 helping his parents
Red Cross State Manager Emergency
prepare the family’s Valencia Creek
Services Adam Dent says the project artists to create something that will be
property in Victoria as bushfires burned
was developed as a result of working useful to people recovering from 2009’s
out of control nearby. He refers to that
with community members, schools fires, as well as being relevant and
summer as a period spent waiting
and youth agencies in and around available for future emergencies – fires,
for the inevitable. But the Montagues
towns and suburbs affected by the floods and storms.’
were lucky; the fires stopped short one
kilometre from the house, leaving their The project gets the stamp of approval
property and lives intact. ‘The gap that kept coming up from both Sam and his classmate Tim
throughout our discussions with Liddell, who shares his own experience of
Sam’s story and others like it are now
community members was the absence a major flood in his hometown of Newry
available online as part of a project
of a guide or resource that’s relevant to for the web space. Both feel strongly that
developed by Australian Red Cross in
12- to 25-year-olds recovering from an their stories will be helpful to other young
the wake of the deadly 2009 Victorian
emergency,’ Mr Dent says. people facing a similar situation.
bushfires. The project includes an
MP3 player featuring a 45-minute radio ‘So we set to work with young ‘If you look at all the information for
program of information, music and people, youth-focused agencies and people who have been affected by
interviews with Australian musicians, organisations, and some great Aussie fires or floods, it’s all for young kids or
March 2010 P13
Year 11 student Sam Montague shares his experience of bushfires online as part of new Red Cross emergency recovery resources for young people. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Catfish
adults,’ Sam says. ‘There’s absolutely ‘Teenagers are just young adults,’ Sam An Australian-first for the emergency
nothing out there for us. says. ‘We’re not children, we can help sector, the resources have been
too. We can do just as many things as the developed with advice from members
‘This project uses people’s own
adults can; it’s just that they’ve had more of the Australian Child and Adolescent
personal experience. It’s not read off a life experience than us. We’re completely Trauma, Loss and Grief Network
script – it’s the experience of others that capable of doing anything they want us to after consultation with young people,
people can learn from.’ as long as they show us how to do it.’ agencies and communities.
‘Hopefully the stories will help people The radio show features Aussie artists The project can be accessed at
bounce back,’ Tim says. ‘To get back on including Lisa Mitchell, Bluejuice, Chance www.redcross.org.au/
their feet after an emergency and help to Waters and Blue King Brown and is aftertheemergency.
keep them going forward.’ hosted by Triple J’s Zan Rowe. MP3
The project has also provided an avenue players were distributed to schools and
for Sam to impart some important youth groups in fire-affected areas in the
advice to parents across Australia. first week of February and will be handed
Unlike many of his friends who have out following future emergencies.
been sent away during emergencies, The webspace at www.redcross.org.
Sam’s parents took the time prior to the au/aftertheemergency features video
fires to teach both their kids about what stories for and about young people
to do in the case of a major emergency, affected by emergencies and links to
an action that Sam says was helpful information and materials from Red
because it made him feel useful. Cross and other agencies.
P14 the Humanitarian
After five years of
worry and waiting,
a sister embraces
the three brothers
she feared lost,
writes Andrea Lee.
separated by war
Joyous Dorcas Mwinyi Yungu recently hugged her three In October 2005, during
younger brothers in the flesh, after five years of fearing they armed conflict in the I was so
were dead. Separated from her siblings by armed conflict in Democratic Republic of very happy to find
their homeland – the Democratic Republic of Congo – Dorcas Congo, her husband was
fled to Australia, not knowing if they were alive or dead. killed and Dorcas fled
with their son Junior Yungu to Zimbabwe, where they lived in
Onlookers watched on as Dorcas and her brothers – twins
refugee camps until coming to Australia in 2007.
Mangaza and Songa, aged 16, and Wapa Yungu, aged 17 –
greeted each other in an emotional reunion at Darwin Airport Once in Australia, she approached Red Cross to help her find
in February. her family. Red Cross’ Migration Support team in the Northern
Territory worked closely with Dorcas to reunite the family.
Every year, thousands of people flee their war-ravaged homes
and seek a life of peace and protection in Australia and In June 2008, a Red Cross Message delivered the news that
other countries. her family were safe and living together in a refugee camp.
Dorcas found her brothers through the Restoring Family Links ‘I love this,’ said Migration Support Program Coordinator Joan
program, part of the global Red Cross international tracing Washington, as she witnessed the emotional reunion. ‘This is
service, helping to reconnect people who have been separated the best part of the job. We usually hear the worst stories, so
from their loved ones by conflict and natural disasters. these are such great moments.’
‘I am feeling very happy,’ said Dorcas. ‘When I started with Dorcas recently married Karim Sumaili, who was also reunited
Red Cross, they looked everywhere for my brothers. When with his family through Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links
they found them I was so very happy to find them alive.’ program. ‘My life is good with Karim, our new baby Abraham,
Junior Yungu and now my brothers. I’m so happy,’ she said.
Australian Red Cross has handled 2,151 tracing cases over
the past year.
March 2010 P15
Dorcas is reunited with her brothers at Darwin Airport. Her family is just one of the 2,151 tracing cases Red Cross has handled over the past year. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Chris Knight
P16 the Humanitarian
The challenges that
some families face
can be difficult to
help. Bruce Wardley
finds out how
support service is
giving children the
best possible start.
Rosie and the three other Kettlewell children have gone from strength to strength with support from the program. Photo: Renae Droop
March 2010 P17
Parents like Cheryl
Kettlewell (pictured with
daughter Rosie (left)
and son Max (right)) can
access resources and
information through the
Early Years Health and
Photo: Renae Droop
Cheryl and Brett Kettlewell know just development, behavioural problems and people l am not sitting here worrying
how hard it is to bring up a young family. general health issues,’ Ms Davidson about what is happening with my son.
With four children under ten it is often a says. ‘Without help, many parents I know he is in good hands and is well
struggle for the Kettlewells to make ends struggle to form positive relations within looked after. I’m truly overwhelmed and
meet. Born and raised on a dairy farm the school community and this can you should be proud of these people
just outside Ipswich, Cheryl is proud of affect the child’s learning experience.’ that have gone out of their way to help
her connections with rural southeast my little boy.’
Ms Davidson says that rather than a call
Queensland, but money is tight and
bringing up their four children has been from the school being seen as a bad Red Cross Executive Director in
full of challenges. thing, families working with the program Queensland, Greg Goebel says a
have usually developed a relationship school-facilitated referral service helps
Project Coordinator for the Red Cross with a Red Cross staff member to a point to build a school’s capacity to support
Early Years Health and Wellbeing where they are comfortable discussing and engage children and families.
Program in Queensland, Christina their problems and happy to ask for help
Davidson, says the Kettlewell family ‘It aims to give local children the best
to deal with any issues that arise.
is typical of many that Red Cross is possible start in life by supporting
supporting in the Ipswich area through a ‘Cheryl and Brett Kettlewell have made parents to take responsibility for
school-based early intervention service great progress since becoming part of their child’s health and wellbeing.’
designed to give children the best start the program. They are well respected in Mr Goebel says.
in life. their school community and are now more
‘Parents have access to a wide range
willing to accept advice from healthcare
The service places dedicated teams of resources and information, including
professionals, school staff and other
within schools to identify the needs advice on nutrition, parenting skills and
support services,’ says Ms Davidson.
of prep-year children and refer their physical education activities.’
families to relevant health and other ‘Children of families that don’t receive
The program is a partnership between
support services. this sort of assistance can fall into
Red Cross, the Queensland Office for
a cycle of falling behind at school,
One of the Kettlewell children in Early Childhood Education and Care, and
challenging and disruptive behaviours,
particular needed help with maths, three local state schools.
depression and low self esteem.’
speech and occupational therapy. Since
working with the team, the Kettlewell ‘Red Cross is fantastic,’ says Cheryl
children have gone from strength to Kettlewell. ‘It’s the best service
strength and are now highly regarded at out there.’
their local school.
Another parent is also glowing in her
Ms Davidson says that parents in the praise after Red Cross team members
area often face not just one, but a host helped her towards the diagnosis of
of challenges such as unemployment, Asperger Syndrome in her youngest son.
poverty, poor literacy, health issues and
‘We now have a different little boy,’ the
the difficulties that can come with blended
mother writes in a letter to Red Cross.
families and changing family dynamics.
‘He is much calmer and it’s nice to sit
‘Many of the children we work with have down and have a discussion on various
learning difficulties, delayed speech things after school. Thanks to caring
P18 the Humanitarian
how a strong
basic first aid
back from the br
Remote Loh Island was the scene of a diving accident that almost cost Johnny Kalomor his life. Photo: xxxxx
March 2010 P19
Johnny Kalomor Nothing could prepare experienced These dynamic volunteer trainers learn
was saved by
first aid. Photo: diver Johnny Kalomor for what would about first aid at courses run by Vanuatu
Vanuatu Red Cross/ happen to him when he went out diving Red Cross with support from Australian
one Saturday in remote Vanuatu. But a Red Cross. Around 20 volunteers are
first aid training session held two days chosen by their communities in remote
earlier by Red Cross helped a friend southern and northern provinces of
save his life. Tafea and Torba to take the course.
Surrounded by sharp coral reefs and After the course, three students are
abundant marine life, Loh Island is part selected to study further to become
of the remote Torres Islands in northern trainers themselves. Women, men and
Vanuatu. Johnny and his friend Selwin young people are equally represented
Godwin noticed the waves were strong, among the trainers, who then return
but felt they were skilled enough to handle to their communities to deliver first aid
the conditions and go fishing for a meal. classes to more than 1,000 people like
Selwin and Johnny in the far reaches of
Johnny soon found himself pulled
under. Despite his diving experience, he
couldn’t get back to the surface.
On the rocks
‘I didn’t know what was happening.
Seeing that Johnny was not breathing,
I was aware of something pulling me
Selwin began to apply the resuscitation
down to the sea bed,’ remembers
techniques he had learnt from the
Johnny, who is principal of Robin
community volunteers only a few days
Primary School. ‘After that my mind was
before, freeing the breathing passage and
lost and I thought I was dead.’
applying cardio massage. His training
Selwin surfaced to catch his breath, and worked. Johnny was resuscitated.
then dived again to find Johnny lifeless
‘It was a miracle that I found myself
at the bottom of the ocean. Trying to get
lying on sharp rocks and stones,’
to shore, the current threw them against
the coral reef, cutting them both badly.
Selwin used all his strength to haul Badly injured by the reef, Selwin had
Johnny in. to rest for a long time before he could
carry Johnny to the health centre. This,
Remote islands like Loh have limited
Johnny can remember. ‘My mind began
access to basic services like health
functioning again and I started asking
care. Luckily, two days earlier, Johnny
questions,’ he smiles. ‘The two Red
and Selwin had attended a basic first
Cross volunteers told me everything.’
aid training session conducted by Red
Cross volunteers. Looking in on the A trip to Port Villa for further treatment
session was Rufino Pineda. confirmed the diving pair’s injuries are
healing and they are returning to health.
‘I was immediately struck by their
This brings a huge smile to Johnny’s face.
professionalism,’ says Rufino of the
two volunteers leading the class. ‘They ‘I was lost and dead and now I am
perfectly understood how to adapt their found,’ he states, smiling broadly and
lessons to their audience, make the looking forward to returning to his life on
shyest feel comfortable, and draw the Loh Island.
maximum from the participants.
For information about Red Cross’
‘We never know when we will possibly wide range of accredited first aid
need this knowledge,’ Rufino told the courses and first aid products, visit
P20 the Humanitarian
Red Cross retail is embarking on an
odyssey through fashion with the opening
of its new Victoria flagship vintage store,
191 Bridge. A first of its kind, 191 Bridge
has a selection of hand-picked, top-of-the-
range vintage and streetwear clothing and
accessories on offer, giving shoppers the
opportunity to create unique looks with
proceeds going to Red Cross.
Located in Bridge Road in Richmond,
Melbourne, 191 Bridge is a treasure trove
for any fashion lover. With constantly
changing stock sourced both nationally
and internationally, you never know what
you will find.
With original World War I and World War II
Red Cross posters adorning the walls and
an eclectic mix of furniture and shop fittings,
the store will transport shoppers to bygone
eras with its interior and merchandising.
It’s an exciting time for Red Cross retail
with plans to expand its range of stores
throughout 2010 including a New South
Wales flagship vintage store in Newtown,
Sydney and two stand-alone accessory
stores in Brunswick, Melbourne and Surfers
Paradise in the coming months.
Red Cross Retail Buyer Olivia Cozzolino is
enthusiastic about the first flagship store.
‘We’ve identified a niche in the market, for
people looking for something different,
who will appreciate a premium charity
experience. It’s a totally new direction for
Red Cross retail and will provide shoppers
with an unbeatable shopping experience.
‘We understand that charity stores
have long been a source of inspiration
for fashion-forward shoppers and our
customers have been delighted by all the
wonderful items they have found,’ she says.
‘Fashion is ultimately influenced by the past,
so our stock relies on recycling clothes
from previous eras. Many of our supporters
would be surprised at the treasures hiding
in their wardrobes that others would love
Red Cross retail is on the look out for
fashion-loving volunteers who want to
bring their own style to a Red Cross
store. To register your interest call
1800 339 888. Stock donations of good
quality clothing and accessories are
gratefully accepted over the counter at
Shoppers can choose from hand-picked, top-of-the-range vintage and streetwear clothing and accessories at new
Red Cross vintage fashion stores. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Jesse Marlow
March 2010 P21
Coles gives kids a
Since 2006, support from Coles and its customers has enabled Red Cross to provide over 2.75 million healthy breakfasts to school children across Australia. Photo: Australian
Red Cross/Rodney Dekker
Red Cross National Humanity Partner enabled the program to become the ‘Our school is very important to the
Coles and its customers have raised an largest of its kind in Australia,’ he said. community and we are delighted to be
outstanding $275,000 in support of the able to offer our children a healthy start
‘Since 2006, support from Coles and
Red Cross Good Start Breakfast Club, to the day.
its customers has enabled Red Cross
which provides a free healthy breakfast to provide over 2.75 million healthy ‘The children have more focus and that’s a
and nutrition education to children in breakfasts to school children across fantastic thing to see because the children
areas of greatest need across Australia. Australia. We are so grateful for the most reap the benefits in the classroom when
Marking the ‘back to school’ period in recent fundraising efforts, which will they have energy to learn.’
February, Coles launched the Coles have a huge impact on the program.’
All proceeds raised from the sale of
Cereal Challenge to encourage healthy Currently Good Start Breakfast Clubs Coles brand cereal will support and
eating among families. For every box operate in more than 260 schools expand the Good Start Breakfast Club
of Coles brand cereal sold from 4 to 17 across Australia, serving over 800,000 and deliver 100 nutrition education
February, $1 was donated to the Good healthy breakfasts each year. workshops and physical activity days
Start Breakfast Club. nationwide.
For Ettalong Beach Public School in
Shaun Hazeldine, National Manager New South Wales, the Good Start Red Cross would like to sincerely
of the Good Start Breakfast Club Breakfast Club is relatively new but its thank Coles and its customers for their
program, gratefully acknowledged the presence has already had a big impact. generosity and commitment to building
support from Coles, which has led to On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday healthy communities across Australia.
significant program expansion since the mornings, some 180 children are
partnership began in 2006. served up a healthy breakfast, nutrition
education and plenty of smiles.
‘The Good Start Breakfast Club is
committed to working to improve School Principal, Colin Wallis, has
nutrition education among all families, welcomed the positive changes that he
and our partnership with Coles has has seen in the students.
P22 the Humanitarian
This year the Blood What is plasma?
The pale liquid part of the
Service is encouraging blood that makes up half of
the blood’s volume.
more blood donors to
Why donate plasma?
donate plasma. Because the Blood Service
Beverly Ligman-Smith predicts a 100 percent increase in
demand for blood during the next
talks to one woman ten years. The demand is being
whose compelling story driven by plasma due to an ageing
population and developments in
clearly illustrates why. medical science.
What diseases are combated by
plasma based products?
Mostly, chronic auto-immune
deficiencies and cancers.
How often can you give plasma?
If you are already a blood donor and
fit and healthy, every two weeks.
How many products does
Plasma is used to make 16
different products and contains
very important proteins, nutrients
and clotting factors, which help to
prevent and stop bleeding.
Kristen Lewis holds the unenviable title of being Australia’s highest user of plasma.
Blood donors don’t often get to meet I am alive today because As you can imagine, the numbers added
the people they help, which is why up very quickly, I have used about 4,000
Kristen Lewis’ story is one to be shared. of the Australian Red bags of plasma to date.
Kristen, now 25, is a plasma recipient, Cross Blood Service. I am much better now, but still dependent
but not just any plasma recipient; she
I was in hospital for seven months on plasma exchanges every two weeks
holds the unenviable title of being
dependent on a plasma exchange every to keep me as healthy as possible. I
Australia’s highest user of plasma. Since
day to stay alive. A plasma exchange is a have rebuilt my life around hospital visits
being diagnosed in 2006 with a rare
process in which blood is removed, spun and am now very happily working as a
blood disorder, she has used almost
in a centrifuge, the plasma separated, swimming instructor and a relief teacher.
4,000 units of donor plasma.
then my red blood cells are returned To give blood or plasma, please call
In her own words along with the new donor plasma. 13 14 95
This is a continual process that uses
My name is Kristen Lewis and I am approximately 14 bags of plasma and The condition known as
alive today because of the Australian takes about three hours to complete. Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic
Red Cross Blood Service, and all its
Put simply it is the exchange of my Purpura (TTP) can affect between
unhealthy plasma with that of a donor. two to four people in a million. It is
In 2006 at the age of 21, I had just come During those seven months I certainly cured through massive transfusions
back from a United Kingdom trip with my had a tough time with as many as 10 of plasma, which can amount to
boyfriend and was about to start the 4th tubes placed in my main arteries at as much as several tonnes. If left
year of an education degree, when I fell ill different times. At my sickest I was untreated, the mortality rate for TTP
with a stomach bug. A week later I was in placed on a machine two times a is 90 percent, but when treated
hospital and diagnosed with Thrombotic day and the amount of plasma was by plasma exchange, the mortality
Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP). increased, using about 56 bags a day! rate drops to 10 percent.
From as little as $1 a day, you have the
power to feed thousands of hungry children.
That’s the power of humanity.
Become a Humanitarian Partner today.
Call 1800 812 018 or visit www.redcross.org.au
Contact your local
Red Cross office for
In all activities, Red Cross staff members and volunteers
are guided by the following Fundamental Principles.
Humanity The International Neutrality In order to continue Unity There can be only one Cover image Talia Frenkel
to enjoy the confidence of all, Red Cross or Red Crescent Designer Miguel Valenzuela,
Red Cross and Red Crescent
Movement, born of a desire the Movement may not take Society in any one country. It Editors Karina Coates, Janine Gray
to bring assistance without sides in hostilities or engage must be open to all. It must Printer DPA printed on Monza Satin
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in its international and national ideological nature. times a year by Australian Red Cross.
Universality The International Mailing address 155 Pelham Street
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their governments and subject duties in helping each other,
the human being. It promotes
to the laws of their respective is worldwide.
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friendship, co-operation and
maintain their autonomy so that
lasting peace among all people.
they may be able at all times
Impartiality It makes no to act in accordance with the
discrimination as to nationality, principles of the Movement.
race, religious beliefs, class
Voluntary Service It is a
or political opinions. It
voluntary relief movement not
endeavours to relieve the
prompted in any manner by
suffering of individuals, being
desire for gain.
guided solely by their needs,
and to give priority to the most
urgent cases of distress.
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