Dili, 8 Maiu 2020 – In these troubling times of the COVID-19, with an ever increasing death toll, and millions of people around the world infected, it is a sobering time to celebrate World Red Cross Day this year. But during this crisis, CVTL (Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste) staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly across the country, and we want to acknowledge and celebrate the great volunteers we have. Happy Red Cross Day!

CVTL Volunteers and staff have been very busy working with the Ministry of Health on the following: Supporting the setup of a quarantine centre, a tent at the Clinic for triage as well as a tent for all the policy and security for quarantine and check point; disinfecting offices and public places to help in the prevention of spreading the virus;  education and socialization of COVID-19 information using megaphone through the towns and villages as well as distributing posters and information about prevention  of COVID-19; and  installing hand washing  facilities in public places. CVTL helped recruit 24 nurses and 10 medical doctors to support the people who are in quarantine in Dili. Also CVTL has been fogging a total 2,225 households to help prevent dengue and as distributed abate powder to  3,524 households.

CVTL has branches in every municipality in Timor-Leste, and the Branch volunteers and staff are also spreading information and education throughout the communities with door-to-door information about COVID- 19 and using motorbikes and megaphones to inform people the best way to prevent spreading the virus (and dengue) to a total of 165 villages in all 13 Municipalities, CVTL has also produced buckets to support community with better hand washing and hygiene practices.  

We have also launched a Facebook survey, to find out from people about how they feel about CVTL and the services we provide – this will help is improve what we do, but also have a greater understanding about how people think about us and what we do (Particularly round COVID-19) – this will make us to improve to be a stronger more effective organisation.

CVTL President, Madalena said today, “We are so lucky to have such dedicated CVTL volunteers working for the vulnerable in our community. I want to thank them all for their tireless work. But CVTL is just one of 191 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Society, across the world supporting the most vulnerable communities affected by the crisis. We are proud to be part of this worldwide movement”.

“CVTL will be celebrating this important day in our calendar across the country, through supporting vulnerable groups with food packages; mobilizing the community for blood donations; and a Facebook quiz for CVTL volunteers. We will continue our important work of socializing the community about COVID-19 as well as about dengue,” she said.

The President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Francesco Rocca recently said, “This (COVID-19) crisis connects us all in an unprecedented way. The safety and well-being of each individual are critical for the safety and well-being of the entire world. The secondary impacts of COVID-19, such as poverty and the severe threat of food insecurity to millions around the world, should give a wake up a call to the international community.”

Each year, Red Cross and Red Crescent societies organize activities to highlight the unique role of the Movement in their respective countries. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement supports millions of people around the world every year – in times of conflict, natural disaster and crisis. Drawing on more than 150 years of humanitarian action, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is committed to providing relevant and timely humanitarian service to vulnerable communities now and into the future. With millions of Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers around the world reach more than 160 million people every year providing a diverse and innovative range of impartial services. But our approach is universal, guided at every turn by our Fundamental Principles: Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality.

In Timor-Leste, we reached more than 70,000 people in 2019, building stronger communities through CVTL’s many programmes including Healthy Youth, Disaster Risk Reduction; Blood Donations; Community health and Nutrition Programmes; livelihoods; First Aid; and much more.

World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, is held on 8th of May, the birthday of our founder Henry Dunant, is an annual celebration of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.