American Red Cross-Palestine Red Crescent collaboration enters new phase

Published: 20 November 2002 0:00 CET

Saleh Dabbakeh in Amman

Cooperation between the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the American Red Cross (ARC) has entered a more active phase, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organizations on 18 November.

The broad-based MoU, which was signed in Geneva by Younis Al-Khatib, President of the PRCS, and ARC Chairman David McLaughlin, focuses on the need to identify areas of collaboration that will lead to exchanging "knowledge and expertise and build capacity to serve those most in need, especially during times of emergency".

The MoU lists a number of initiatives in the fields of emergency response, organisational development, primary health care, psychological and mental health, dissemination of humanitarian values and tracing.

The first-ever formal MoU between the two Societies comes on the heels of a number of collaborative efforts between the two organizations. For example, the ARC had donated ambulances, medicines and medical supplies to the Palestinians through the PRCS.

Al-Khatib says the memorandum aims to streamline this kind of assistance: "The two organizations have decided to work together to provide humanitarian services to the victims of the current confrontation," said Al-Khatib. "This is a new phase, built on mutual respect and appreciation of each other's work in the humanitarian field."

The new agreement "formalizes our relationship with the ARC," said Dr. Hossam Sharqawi, Emergency Response Coordinator at the PRCS. "It opens the way for future, longer-term cooperation, based on PRCS needs and priorities and the expertise and know-how of the ARC."

On the same day, The ARC signed another Memorandum of Understanding with Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Crescent or Red Cross. The MoU was signed by McLaughlin and Yochanan Gur, Chairman of the MDA Executive Committee at the MDA's headquarters in Tel Aviv.

According to Jacqueline Brown, of the MDA's international relations department, the memorandum "promises further co-operation on various levels, especially blood services".

McLaughlin's delegation travelled to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Occupied/Autonomous Territories to express support for their humanitarian activities. According to McLaughlin the agreement signed with the PRCS was an expression of the continued commitment of the American Red Cross "towards meeting the humanitarian needs of the civilian population, regardless of their country and status, based on need and vulnerability."

Related links:

Autonomous and Occupied Territories: appeals, updates and reports
Israel: appeals and reports
Palestinian Red Crescent Society
Magen David Adom
International Federation: Regional Programmes in Middle East and North Africa
American Red Cross
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