In recent years, as extreme weather brought about by climate change has become more frequent, and Hong Kong has been affected by natural disasters one after another, disaster preparedness and post-disaster emergency relief work have become more important. For more than 70 years, the Hong Kong Red Cross has been working with the community to provide timely and appropriate humanitarian services in times of crisis. To introduce and summarize this year's local and overseas humanitarian relief work to the public, the Hong Kong Red Cross held a media conference on local and overseas emergency relief services today to share the future development direction and enhance the comprehensive capacity of the community to respond to emergencies.

Dr. Lau Cho-chiu, GMSM, MH, JP, Chairman of the Hong Kong Red Cross, shared the future development and strategies of the Society, and explained how the Association will help the public build a safety net for disaster response and enhance the community's resilience to crises.

Emergency services and material support are available on stand-by

The Hong Kong Red Cross is currently the only organisation in Hong Kong accredited by the Social Welfare Department to provide 24-hour emergency services and material support to people affected by local disasters or emergencies. During the super typhoons and the torrential rainstorms of the century in recent months, the local disaster relief service worked closely with SWD to mobilize over 200 staff and volunteers to distribute emergency supplies, provide emergency medical, first aid and psychological support services to affected citizens at various temporary shelters across the territory, and distribute emergency cash assistance to the most vulnerable families. Ms Tsui, who lives in Sheung Shui, whose home has been severely affected by flooding, can be met with cash assistance: "The flooding has made the old floor mat mouldy and the children cannot even get a foothold. After receiving the cash assistance, I can at least buy a new mat so that my children can sit comfortably."

Mr. Wong Chi-ho, Local Disaster Relief Service Manager of the Hong Kong Red Cross, introduced the "Integrated Disaster Management Model" adopted by the Hong Kong Red Cross to provide appropriate services according to the different stages of the incident: after the immediate rescue in the emergency stage, the Hong Kong Red Cross will provide material or aftercare support according to the situation of the victims. Subsequently, we will work with community partners to follow up on the recovery of the affected communities, and strengthen their resilience and resilience to cope with future disasters through education and the establishment of community support networks.

Cooperate with the International Red Cross to propose professional rescue

Internationally, the Hong Kong Red Cross has been actively coordinating with the International Red Cross to support humanitarian relief efforts, including the recent floods in Libya, the Israel-Gaza Strip conflict, and humanitarian crises in Afghanistan. Earlier, the Acting Senior Project Coordinator (Emergency Medicine) of the Hong Kong Red Cross, Ms Angela Fong, Psychologist and Head of Psychological Support Services, Dr Cheung Yee Lai, and the Programme Director of Mental Health and Psychological Support Prednison Morales of the Hong Kong Red Cross travelled to Afghanistan to provide emergency medical and public health services and assessments, as well as psychological support training for local personnel.

Fong, who is still in Afghanistan, visited the eastern province of Nangarhar last week to learn more about the situation of displaced people: "We saw many families of seven to eight people living in makeshift tents, with only two quilts in the cold winter, lack of sanitation facilities, and even did not know where they would be resettled in the future, so they had to rely on humanitarian assistance for the time being to meet their basic needs." The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will also respond to humanitarian crises across Afghanistan, including the earthquake-stricken western province of Herat, by implementing public health and medical programmes to help communities recover.

In terms of psychological support, Dr. Teo Yili and Prednison Morales provided psychological first aid training to Afghan Red Crescent Society personnel in Kabul, reviewed their mental health and psychosocial support programs, and assisted in the development of psychological support plans in the earthquake-stricken province of Herat. "After decades of conflict and successive disasters, the Afghan population is already mentally overwhelmed and has a high suicide rate, which reflects the serious need for mental health services and psychological support." Reflecting on the trip, Dr. Zhang Yili once again emphasized that the right post-disaster psychological support can also save lives.

Responding to Emergencies: The Hong Kong Red Cross works with the community to build a safety net

Disasters are expected to continue to intensify in the future, and it is important to strengthen community collaboration to respond to emergencies. Dr Lau Cho-chiu, Chairman of the Hong Kong Red Cross, said, "In the future, we will focus on the theme of 'Walk with the Community, Practice Humanity', and hope to make the community safer, healthier and more cohesive by strengthening public education and connecting with different sectors of the community." To achieve this goal, the Hong Kong Red Cross's third strategic development plan has been implemented this year, with a view to enhancing community resilience through enhancing resilience through crisis resilience, community health literacy and community cohesion.

(Information and photos provided by the customer)