Red Cross field hospital took first patients Thursday
AMHERST – Red Cross volunteers were the first on the ground when disaster struck the Philippines earlier this month, and efforts continue with the support of donations made online, via telephone or at local offices.
Donations from Cumberland County have been steady since Typhoon Haiyan struck on Nov. 8, according to Angela Lohnes, Amherst service centre co-ordinator.
© Andrew Wagstaff - cumberlandnewsnow
Local Red Cross volunteers Rita Smyth (left) and Suzanne Gauthier display some of the items that are being distributed in the Philippines thanks to the generous financial donations being made for Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.
“Individuals have been coming in and being generous, donating,” said Lohnes, from the busy office Thursday morning. “We also have a few third party fundraisers going on.”
Nova Scotia Community College, for example, had a recent barbecue fundraiser, while one of the local church groups had a luncheon and passed around a collection plate for the cause. Local schools are also getting on board, she said. Funds raised at these events are dropped off at the Red Cross office and put to immediate use.
Lohnes urged anyone holding a third party fundraiser to let their office know about it, so they can answer questions about it if asked.
“Our volunteers also love to go out and support these events,” she explained.
People can make donation either by stopping in at the office at 16 Church Street, by calling 1-800-418-1111, or by visiting the website www.redcross.ca.
Until Dec. 9, the federal government will also match each Canadian donation dollar for dollar.
Lohnes emphasized that they are only seeking financial donations. This money will allow for the distribution of supplies on-site such as blankets, comfort kits, food and water.
A field hospital has already opened in the Philippines thanks to the Canadian Red Cross, with support from Norway and Hong Kong. The hospital treated its first patient – a three-month-old baby – on Thursday.
Cumberland County’s support for this cause has been consistent with its past record, according to Lohnes.
“We’ve had a good response, and it doesn’t surprise me,” she said. “People step up.”
There remains a need, however, for volunteers on the local level for disaster response, she said.