Sophia Fredericks, Social Engagement Intern, National Headquarters Washington D.C.
New Zealand: In 2016 the Kaikoura Earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand. The earthquake was found to have a magnitude of 7.8 and caused significant damage ranging from sediment-clogged rivers as well as destroyed houses, landslides, and destructed farms. This natural disaster not only caused great physical damage, but financial damage as well. Insurers are expected to have to pay an estimated $41.69 million to cover the damages.
The New Zealand Red Cross is working to provide assistance following the damage of the earthquake. As many as 140 volunteers were mobilized when the emergency was at its peak. The New Zealand Red Cross provided essential materials to those in need such as food, water as well as other basic necessities. This earthquake is the second largest New Zealand has so far seen in its history. It injured as many as 58 people while killing two others.
Facebook Live sessions are now being implemented on the New Zealand Red Cross Facebook in order to help people understand the work of the Red Cross as well as to further engage with local communities. One of the live streams was done by a women named Yee which showed how to wash while using a minimal amount of water. Yee said “live-streaming these demonstrations is a more effective way of reaching a wider audience in a short amount of time.” Other videos including Yee’s may be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/NewZealandRedCross/videos/
Italy: An avalanche hit Italy following numerous earthquakes in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The earthquake buried an Italian four-star hotel. Luca Cari, a member of the Italian fire department said “the hotel has been completely slammed in the avalanche and debris was scattered as far as 100 meters from the hotel structure, making the search area large.” Within two hours of when the avalanche had buried the hotel, two bodies were found.
The Red Cross is receiving assistance in the search and rescue effort following the avalanche by a group of refugees and asylum seekers. This is part of a program which supports refugees and asylum seekers and included ten men from Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. The group of those involved in the rescue mission are working to provide food and hot beverages to those affected as well as clear snow in order to free cars and people.
Hotel Rigopiano has had ten people brought to safety thanks to the work of the Red Cross and 14 people total have been brought to safety. However, six people have been so far been confirmed as dead and there are still an additional 23 people missing. The Italian Red Cross is continuing to provide aid such as food, water, blankets, clothes, fuel generators and snow shovels.