Red Cross volunteers respond to the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus

Publié: 13 juin 2015 11:19 CET

By Kim Okhee, Korean Red Cross

In response to the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in the Republic of Korea, the Korean Red Cross (KNRC)has established an emergency response team to coordinate emergency relief activities, including the distribution of food and other basic necessities for 466 households in Daejeon, Seoul and Chungbuk. The emergency response team started its activities on 6 June.

The present outbreak of MERS in the Republic of Korea on 12 June caused the death of 11 people. There have been over 126 reported cases and more than 2,300 people have been placed under quarantine, making it the largest outbreak outside the Middle East.

To date, around 400 Red Cross volunteers have been mobilized to take part in relief activities. Emergency relief supplies will be distributed by the volunteers to around 1000 households who are under quarantine in Seoul and neighbouring areas.

27,186 beneficiaries of the nationwide Windmill of Hope programme are being targeted with prevention activities by Red Cross volunteers. This includes  vulnerable children, the elderly and other disadvantaged groups who receive regular assistance through the Windmill of Hope programme. Volunteers instruct beneficiaries on personal hygiene and give them basic information about how to prevent MERS infection, including how to recognize the symptoms of the disease.  Volunteers will also give basic check-up in order to detect potential infections. People who have symptoms that are similar to MERS will be referred to the public health centre in their area.