Guyana Red Cross is appealing to members of the public to make generous monetary donations to the relief efforts being undertaken to help families suffering from the effects of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.
Secretary-General Dorothy Fraser, during a press conference today, explained that while materials are welcomed, cash would be more beneficial.
“Experience teaches us that money is the thing you need to start off with. You need money to keep on paying whatever electricity to give some of your bills paid to get some of your supplies in. It’s always wise to build back the economy. Wherever possible, we encourage national societies who respond to disasters to buy from their community, not to have everything sent to them,” she explained.
She further explained that the donations will be sent to the International Red Cross Federation which will then decide how the funds will be allocated for the various relief activities.
Concerns of distrust arose after reports indicated that the Red Cross spent nearly half a billion dollars to rebuilt six homes after the earthquake struck in Haiti.
But Fraser clarified the misconceptions in those reports and assured that the monies donated will be contributed to the hurricane relief efforts.
“We had five people do eight missions to Haiti from the Guyana Red Cross, they were paid a stipend when they were there to help them with their upkeep … they didn’t stay in five-star hotels by any stretch. In Haiti, the biggest issue was land ownership and in Red Cross, we have a policy where we do not build back unless you can show ownership of the land and I think we would all understand why,” Fraser said.
She added that “there are a number of things that were really totally misconstrued by a number of groups and people, but it has been in my experience when we return to disasters, the money goes where it says it’s going for.”
However, the Resource Mobilisation Coordinator Anna Lisa Fraser Phang said Red Cross welcomes donations of other kinds.
She said Red Cross will accept items such as personal hygiene kits comprising toothpaste, toothbrushes, soaps, towels, sanitary pads, razors; clean up kits including mops, buckets, spades, bleach, soap powders; first aid kits; jerricans; ropes and tarpaulins as well as medicare supplies.
Project Coordinator Andrea Phillips urged Guyanese to make the sacrifice to donate at least a small amount.
“Many of us may not have persons that we know personally there but they are people, they are human beings, they feel, they hurt, and we are fortunate enough to be here today and not be in that situation. That’s what we are appealing to you for, the humanitarian side of you, to help, to give the smallest amount you can. Anything that you have will lend a helping hand to support the efforts of recovery,” she appealed.
Donations can be made to the Guyana Red Cross Disaster Fund at Demerara Bank: 1280379, Republic Bank: 654 768 1, Scotia Bank: 109778, and the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI): 001 058 792 013.