Grenada

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6
24/11/2021 | Article

Hope restored: Red Cross helps thousands across Caribbean through COVID-19 livelihood recovery programme

Kingston, Jamaica, 24 November 2021: After 20 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the socioeconomic consequences of the virus have added to the devastating loss of lives and the severe impact on public health systems. In 2020, about 209 million people fell into poverty in the Americas region, a figure not seen since 2008. The income, savings and livelihoods of the most vulnerable families have declined, with many facing hunger, exclusion and unequal access to COVID-19 vaccines. This is evidenced in “Drowning just below the surface: the socioeconomic consequences of COVID-19,” a global study by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) that analyzes how women, migrants and inhabitants in precarious urban contexts have had the worst of it. The Caribbean is one region that has suffered greatly from the socioeconomic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic started affecting the Caribbean in early 2020, many countries resorted to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions to help curb the spread of the disease, resulting in the livelihoods of many people across the Caribbean being critically impacted. Jobs related to tourism were severely affected In Jamaica, workers in the tourism industry - a major source of income for the country – were among those who felt the impact the most. Oneil Atland, a river raft captain at the Carbarita River in the parish of Westmoreland, is among several rafters who offer river rafting services – a popular tourist attraction which allows guests to relax on a bamboo raft along the river and enjoy the scenery while learning about the rich history and culture of the country. “Things were great before the coronavirus, we had even built an area for rafters and guests to relax. However, since the coronavirus, we have been experiencing a downfall,” said Atland. With the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions on the island, tourist arrivals dropped drastically, which left Atland, and many others like him who provide tourist services, without their only means of income. In the neighbouring parish of St. Elizabeth, shrimp vendors who sell packaged peppered shrimps in Middle Quarters - a frequently visited tourist location - were also affected by the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. “I started doing shrimp vending to help my elderly mother, but then I realized it was an opportunity to earn additional income which I could save and use to send my children to university. Since COVID-19 however, business has been bad as the tourists who used to pass by our shops and purchase shrimps, were no longer visiting the island,” said shrimp vendor, Natasha Malcom Williams. The Jamaica Red Cross (JRC), with support from IFRC, provided cash cards to 524 persons so far, helping to supplement their income and, in some cases, allowing them to purchase supplies needed to resume their business. Kevin Douglas, JRC Emergency Services Manager said “some rafters were able to purchase supplies to fix their rafts which became water-logged due to inactivity, and some of the vendors used the money received from the Red Cross to venture into other sources of income, such as selling fruits to community members.” In St. Lucia, women were similarly affected “COVID-19 disrupted the income of a lot of community members in Anse LaRaye, as many of them work in the hotel industry and became unemployed and could no longer care for their family members; some couldn’t even pay their rent,” said Diana Gabriel from the St. Lucia Red Cross. “It’s been very difficult. I’ve been out of a job since March 2020 and I have been searching for a job, but most companies aren’t hiring much anymore because not many tourists are visiting St. Lucia,” said Cassandra David, hotel worker and mother of three children. “Thanks to the Red Cross for helping me so I could provide for my kids,” she continued. Supported by IFRC, the St. Lucia Red Cross provided cash cards, supermarket vouchers and food packages to over 3300 affected families and also issued mosquito nets and insect repellants to help prevent the spread of dengue, another health issue which St. Lucia has also been tackling. Vicky Kenville, one of the recipients of the supermarket vouchers, said her entire family was affected by COVID-19 and in addition, her husband had met in a motor vehicle accident which made it even more difficult for her family. “I was so excited for the voucher from the Red Cross. When I went to the supermarket, every time I put an item in the trolley, I would smile and say if it wasn’t for the Red Cross, I wouldn’t be here shopping, because with none of us working due to COVID, it was very difficult to buy necessities,” said Kenville, who expressed gratitude for the Red Cross support which she said helped her overcome some of the difficulties her family faced due to loss of income. In Grenada, the Red Cross provided over 200 families from all parishes across the island with supermarket vouchers. Cindy Lewis, COVID-19 Project Manager with the Grenada Red Cross said that “with the supermarket vouchers, beneficiaries are able to shop directly for what they need and this gives them a feeling of independence.” Education sector also severely impacted The tourism industry wasn’t the only sector impacted by COVID-19. With most schools closed due to restrictions, and teachers and students resorting to online schooling, school gate vendors across Jamaica also lost their income, when they could no longer ply their wares in front of the school compound. “Since COVID-19, I haven’t been able to sell anymore because schools are closed and it has been very rough, because even though I try to hustle otherwise, it’s still not enough,” said Nadine Wray, school vendor and mother of four children, who noted that her children were not able to do online schooling because of lack of devices and internet. “The cash from the Red Cross is very timely,” she added. The IFRC network has reached over 200,000 people in eleven countries across the Dutch-and English-speaking Caribbean through provision of cash and vouchers, food and other in-kind assistance as well as skills development for livelihoods, among other interventions. The evidence confirms that these initiatives helped to contain the rise in poverty. Nasir Khan, IFRC Operations Coordinator for the Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean said: “We understand the severe hardships faced by many across the Caribbean due to COVID-19, and moreover some of these families were already dealing with overlapping emergencies. Through the livelihood recovery programme, we are able to help those who lost their income because of COVID-19, so they can have some level of hope and dignity and be empowered to keep moving forward despite the circumstances. We are very grateful to all our donors who have contributed to the COVID-19 Emergency Appeal, enabling us to reach those most vulnerable. However, the task is not over yet. The pandemic is still impacting millions of people across the globe, so it is important that we continue our combined efforts to make a real difference in their lives.” For more information, please contact: In Jamaica: Trevesa DaSilva, +876 818 8575, [email protected] In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes, +506 8416 1771, [email protected] In Colombia: David Quijano, +57 3105592559, [email protected]

Read more
15/11/2021 | Press release

IFRC and TNC urge governments to invest in climate change adaptation measures to tackle the climate crisis

Kingston, Jamaica – November 15, 2021: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are calling for governments to urgently invest in climate change adaptation measures to tackle the growing climate crisis in the Caribbean. The call follows two key climate events - the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) and the 7th Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP21). In the Caribbean, storm events account for US$7 billion in losses in average per year (or US$135 billion between 1990 and 2008). Research indicates that 70% of people in the Caribbean live near the coast, where vulnerability to climate change is higher. Studies have also shown that the impacts of climate change are unevenly weighted against the most underserved people – those who are the poorest, most exposed and have the least resources to withstand climate shocks and stresses. In addition, data from the IFRC’s World Disasters Report 2020 reveals that international climate and disaster risk reduction finance are not keeping pace with climate adaptation needs in low-income countries, and the countries with the very highest risk and lowest adaptive capacities are not being prioritized. In fact, less than 1 US dollar per person was made available for climate adaptation funding in high vulnerability countries. “The priority and focus should be the communities that are most exposed and vulnerable to climate risks and the Caribbean region has proven to be one of the most susceptible to climate-related disasters. Therefore, governments must ensure that all efforts and actions to address climate change must prioritize, and not leave behind, those most prone to its impacts,” said Velda Ferguson Dewsbury, IFRC Project Manager for the Resilient Islands by Design (RI) imitative in the Caribbean. Red Cross societies are on the forefront of helping communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate-related disasters and see, every day, the rising risks for vulnerable people. Through projects like the Resilient Islands, the IFRC in partnership with TNC, has been working with communities to help them find innovative, low-cost, and sustainable nature-based adaptation and risk reduction measures. “Climate change isn’t a distant threat - it is happening now. We have all seen the visible impacts of climate change before our eyes such as more extreme weather and natural disasters, chronic drought and economic instability. While our work with the Red Cross is helping at-risk communities across the Caribbean to adapt to climate change, with the power of nature, we need more investments in these and other communities and we need joint actions from all relevant stakeholders,” said Eddy Silva, TNC RI Project Manager. The IFRC and TNC are working with communities in the Dominican Republic, Grenada and Jamaica helping them protect and restore natural habitats, such as mangroves, that help reduce the impact of severe storms and floods. Studies indicate that up to 65% of the increase in projected economic losses due to climate change could be averted through timely adaptation to climate change. In addition, nature-based solutions to minimize climate change can reduce 37% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Resilient Islands incorporates ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR) measures, that harness natural systems to prevent and reduce natural hazards and climate change impacts. For example, by protecting and supporting the growth of coral reefs that provide cost-effective natural barriers, protecting our coasts from waves, storms and floods, or by planting more mangrove trees, which grow roots that mitigate coastal erosion, provide food and other services, and serve as nurseries for a diversity of fish species. These actions help communities reduce their exposure to hazards by identifying and lessening their vulnerabilities while at the same time enhancing their livelihood sources, as well as building their capacities and resilience to prepare for and respond to emergencies. The RI initiative aims to protect Caribbean people against the impacts of climate change not just by promoting the use of natural coastal and marine habitats to reduce risks, but also by helping governments, partners and communities implement sustainable development plans that prioritize nature. Resilient Islands is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. For more information, please contact: In Jamaica: Trevesa DaSilva | +876 818-8575 | [email protected] In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes | + 506 8416 1771 | [email protected] In Washington, D.C.: Claudia Lievano | +1 786 230-6144 | [email protected] In Geneva: Marie Claudet | +33 7 86 89 50 89 | [email protected]

Read more
03/06/2019 | Article

The Grenada Red Cross - Saving Lives

Mary Lewis is poised… It’s one of the first things that you notice about her, aside from other obvious physical characteristics like her bright, beautiful smile. That this young, ambitious Grenadian seems ready to handle anything that may come her way should come as no surprise, after learning that she has spent the last eleven years in the hospitality industry.Her easy, self-possessed manner serves her well in her position as Supervisor ay the Blue Horizons Hotel, located in St. George’s, Grenada. It’s a trait that helped her to save the life of a guest of the hotel not too long ago. That and the first aid training provided by the Grenada Red Cross.It was that training and her enviable calm that allowed her to recognise the signs of a stroke when she was called upon to assist a guest who was found unresponsive in the hotel in early 2019. In 2017 or thereabouts Mary, along with other members from varying departments at Blue Horizons, was selected by hotel management to participate in first aid training that was being offered by the Grenada Red Cross. The training which can sometimes be referred to as BLS or basic life saving took place at the offices of the Grenada Red Cross. There the staff members of Blue Horizons learnt CPR, how to deal with a stroke patient, how to use a defibrillator, the signs of a heart attack and how to deal with burns.It was an ordinary evening at the hotel, Mary was following her usual routine preparing for the arrival of guests when she was called upon by her Manager to respond to an emergency. A guest had called and indicated that his wife was unresponsive on the floor of the bathroom. “My heart went down in my toe”, was how she described her initial reaction at having to put into practice all that she learnt because she was concerned about remembering everything. But when she arrived at the room her natural calm took over and she told herself, “you put on your brave hat now”. In fact, it was her presence that allowed the ill guest’s husband to also remain calm and answer Mary’s questions about his wife’s medical history. The couple’s eleven year old son also helped by providing details about their activities that day.Luckily for that family, Mary was able to immediately make a number of observations about the woman’s condition: her inability to move one side of her body, the difficulty she was having speaking and the secretions coming from her mouth. She recalled from her training that she had keep the ill person alert and awake if they are conscious and she did that by talking to her until the ambulance came. Though the ordeal only lasted for forty-five minutes it is probably an experience that none of the parties involved will ever forget. The woman was flown via air ambulance to Miami and her husband sent word back to the hotel that she is doing ‘ok’.“Good Mary, you did very well.” That is what Mary told herself when it sunk in that she saved someone’s life. She is glad and proud of herself that she was able to use the knowledge gained from the training to save the woman’s life. Her Manager is also very happy with her and probably with the investment made in the staff learning life saving techniques.That was not the only person Mary saved, however, as she recently experienced a situation that hit much closer to home. She again put her training to good use and was able to save the life of a family member. Despite them residing in America, more that two thousand miles away, Mary was able to convince her stepmother to go the hospital based on a description given by her father. This description was given to her over the phone but she was still able to recognise the signs and urge them to seek treatment. At the hospital it was determined that her stepmother had indeed had a mild stroke.Now that she has successfully utilised her training on more than one occasion Mary Lewis is confident that she is capable if called to act in an emergency, all thanks to the Grenada Red Cross.

Read more
03/06/2019 | Article

Calypso King Fights for a Better Grenada

“You doh ever want to become the latest victim of Zika, Guillain Barre Syndrome, dengue or chikungunya, so cover up, take some time and do some clean up.” Catchy, melodic and accompanied by the sweet sounds of steelpan it sounds like the beginnings of an interesting calypso but a conversation with the singer reveals that it is much more than that. It is a jingle, it is a plea to the listener, most importantly it is a lesson to be heeded. Ajamu is a name with African/Nigerian origins that means ‘a man that fights for what he wants’, therefore it should come as no surprise that Edson Mitchell, better known as Ajamu, fought for his life. The nine-time Calypso King of Grenada was one of the persons infected with the Zika Virus who subsequently developed Guillain Barre Syndrome.According to The Mayo Clinic, “Guillain-Barre (gee-YAH-buh-RAY) syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body.”The Mayo Clinic further states that “the exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown. But it is often preceded by an infectious illness. There's no known cure. Most people recover from Guillain-Barre syndrome, though some may experience lingering effects from it, such as weakness, numbness or fatigue.”August 16th, 2017 is a date Ajamu will never forget as it was when he fell ill but to tell the truth he had been feeling unwell long before that. Plagued daily by extraordinary headaches since March or April, he simply took medication and thought little of it. Scheduled to perform in Toronto in mid-August he booked a flight to Canada. The day of the flight he woke early, as most travellers do, but paid no mind to the strange sensation in his hands. It was a sign of things to come, however, as he found himself in the airport in his home slippers, an unusual mistake that should have indicated that something was wrong, but he just laughed off the wardrobe fail.It was during the flight when he experienced what he described as” the worst headache of my life” that he made the decision to see a doctor. By that time it was too late, when the plane landed he had to be hospitalised as his legs would no longer support his body. This first hospitalisation was followed by two more stints as he was released despite having really high blood pressure. It was his wife Lucy who came to Toronto and took him back to their home in Virginia, even though it was deemed risky for him to fly. After two days and a battery of tests Ajamu finally had his diagnosis. It was Guillain Barre Syndrome. This was a disease about which he had never heard so it was his daughter, a Nurse, who did some research and educated him.Almost two years later he still gets emotional while talking about it because there was one particularly difficult night where he essentially gave up. He is of the firm belief that he would not be here today if not for the grace of God and the support of his ‘biggest blessing’, Lucy.Ajamu has regained his mobility fully however he is experiencing the lingering effects. He is easily fatigued and his is memory and eyesight never really returned to their previous states. He also notes his smile is not the same. The good news is that his greatest fear did not come to pass and he has the use of his hands as all his fine motor skills have returned. In fact his band members say that he is a better musician now than he was before. It may sound strange to some but for this sound engineer and self-taught musician, life in a wheelchair would have been preferable to life without the ability to play music. He professed, “I don’t know what my life would be if I wasn’t able to play music again”. Even though he is now back on his beloved instruments he isn’t 100% recovered as he expected to be by now. Cold temperatures affect him so he has to take this into consideration now when scheduling his performances.Acceding to a request to sing a jingle for the Grenada Red Cross to help in the fight against the Aedes Egypti mosquito was no hardship for him, as, making music is what he does. That he would take it a step further and shoot a video to raise awareness, (his suggestion) about the required behaviour change is somewhat surprising. “My greatest love is for God and humanity. God is humanity,” is the rationale he proffers. If one were to look at humanity through a Red Cross lens his motivation aligns perfectly with the first fundamental principle. That he would not wish his experience on his worst enemy and would do anything to prevent it from happening to anybody else reflects a desire to prevent and alleviate human suffering as well as protect life and health.Ajamu’s perspective on his experience is one that harkens back to a saying by his grandmother that goes, ‘better to light a candle than cuss the darkness.’ Instead of bemoaning the cards he was dealt he chooses to spread a message. He believes it is his responsibility to educate people, that this is his purpose, the reason that he is still here. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) predicts that the Caribbean will see a return of dengue, which is also spread by the Aedes Egypti mosquito, in the near future and Erin Law, Global Zika Advisor, explains that these diseases, Zika, dengue and chikungunya, are “expected to be cyclical, that it is expected that there will be an outbreak again”, therefore we must be prepared. Ajamu hopes that if people can learn one thing from his experience it would be to not to take anything for granted because life is very fragile. He would encourage Grenadians and persons from the Caribbean to minimise opportunities for the mosquito to breed even though “mosquitos and humans have to co-exist”, he says with a smile.Watch the video here.

Read more
03/06/2019 | Article

Litter is Bitter. Let’s do better. Communities Working to Prevent Zika in Grenada

The Grenada Red Cross Society (GRCS) is currently working in thirty-two communities in Grenada to educate the population and raise awareness about mosquito-borne diseases like Zika, dengue and chikungunya. It is by no means an easy task as the team is small. Nevertheless, they get it done as they recognise the importance of the work they are doing.Avion Baptiste, Community Facilitator with the Vector Borne Disease Prevention Project, especially enjoys seeing “the joy and fulfilment on faces when you would have done an activity or shared information that people find useful.” Avion is bubbly and full of enthusiasm so it’s no surprise that she also loves “working with the community so that they can see what they can become with our help.”Enlightened. Engaged. Empowered. That is what communities become after interacting with the Grenada Red Cross. This is evidenced by the fact that the community of Bellevue has established a steering committee to tackle the issues raised by community members. Manager of the Zika Response and Prevention Project in the Caribbean, Abdul Nasir Khan, was very impressed by this fact on his field visit there. “Amazing” was how he described a wall presentation done by the residents of Bellevue in response to an assessment of their health needs. Despite the fact that there is a lot of division in Bellevue and many of its residents don’t agree, the committee is determined to chart a way forward.Mon Toute is another community in Grenada that has felt the effect of the Grenada Red Cross and the persistence of its Zika Team. It is a place that visitors are warned not to go because of the high crime and drugs. It is also an area that was experiencing serious problems with dumping. However, after the intervention of the GRC, the land that was being used in a way that was creating a problem was cleaned and was transformed into a useful solution - it is currently being used to plant produce. The consequences of the dumping went beyond environmental and health concerns, it also caused contention in the community. One gentleman refused to come out and participate in the clean up activity declaring, “the people too nasty!” Never daunted, the team cajoled him and the end result? He came and cleaned the most. In fact, he took up a leadership position and became the mastermind of the effort.The phenomenon that occurred in La Tante is perhaps a final testimony on the impact of the Grenada Red Cross. As the field officers conducted their initial assessment, they were approached by the young men of La Tante who requested that they return and provide information and education on particular health issues plaguing their community. The team facilitated this request and, owing to the size of the community, did two presentations on Zika, prostate cancer and the signs of a heart attack.Bellevue, Mon Toute, La Tante, places with names that speak to the history of Grenada but that are experiencing the problems of modern times. It augurs well then that they all have residents who are determined to do better and be better. This desire for improvement does not stop at assessments and presentations. Instead, supported by the Grenada Red Cross, these residents and those in the other twenty-nine communities, will develop a plan of action that identifies the steps they must take to address their issues and to secure their future.

Read more