By Navinesh Kumar, IFRC
On March 1 2016, the Tuvalu Red Cross Society together with local dignitaries and members of the public gathered in Funafuti, Tuvalu’s capital, to celebrate the national society’s inauguration as the 190th member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Tuvalu Red Cross was officially admitted during the 20th Session of the General Assembly of the IFRC in Geneva, held in December last year.
Despite its formal recognition, the Tuvalu Red Cross has been working in the island nation for the past 35 years.
“This is one of our biggest achievements. We have been waiting for it for quite some time now”, said Lopati Samasoni, Acting Secretary General of the Tuvalu Red Cross Society. “I think it’s about time everyone got involved with the Red Cross.”
He added that the recognition should motivate the citizens of Tuvalu and urged them to consider the role the Red Cross plays in the country, especially during natural disasters and in response to the increasing impacts of climate change.
The national society also paid tribute to its former Secretary-General, the late Olioliga Iosua, for her hard work and contribution to the Tuvalu Red Cross.
“She was a strong and determined lady. Despite her short tenure, Oli will be remembered for her many accomplishments,” said Reverend Tafue Lusama, President of the Tuvalu Red Cross Society. “In the wake of Tropical Cyclone Pam, which swept through the Pacific last year, she ensured that her volunteers reached affected communities in Tuvalu’s most isolated and remote islands.” He added that the national society would not be where it stands today without the contribution and support of its partners, the IFRC and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
“The long journey to recognition held many challenges and setbacks for the Tuvalu Red Cross Society,” said Martin Faller, Head of Operations for the IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Office. “But through each challenge and setback, the national society dusted itself off, regrouped and kept moving forward. I invite all of you to continue to partner with and support the Tuvalu Red Cross and be part of shaping this national society’s humanitarian action for the next 35 years and beyond.”
The event was witnessed by the Governor General of Tuvalu, the Prime Minister and his cabinet members, the IFRC and ICRC delegation from the Asia-Pacific region, Australian Red Cross and several Non-Governmental Organisations.