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RedR begins essential training to assist disaster relief effort in Haiti

RedR has begun providing training to aid agencies in Haiti following the establishment of a joint programme with Bioforce in Port-au-Prince.

The training, which began on 28 February, will develop core skills vital in ensuring that the ongoing humanitarian response to the recent earthquake is as effective as possible.

The training will focus on delivering on-the job training to local Haitian staff who are employed by international NGOs, such as Save the Children, Tearfund and GOAL. There are currently over 900 national and international aid agencies operating in Haiti following the earthquake which struck on 12 January, killing an estimated 230,000 people.

Planned training activities over the next two months will cover areas such as logistics, water, sanitation and hygiene, security, and programme management.  Training in bacterial analysis and hygiene promotion, driver training, fleet management and security is scheduled for the coming days.  

Rachel Searle, Country Director for the programme in Haiti commented: “The response to our training so far from aid agencies has been extremely positive. It is acknowledged there that there is a huge need to develop skills in order to respond effectively to this disaster, and both small and large agencies welcome the fact that we are able to provide on-the-job support to their staff.”  

Improving the effectiveness of disaster response

RedR said training was vital to improve the effectiveness of the humanitarian work in Haiti and ensure that the best possible aid is being delivered to the three million people who have been affected by the earthquake.  The sheer scale of the emergency and humanitarian response has meant that there is a shortage of available, skilled staff. This is further exacerbated by the fact that a number of aid workers already in Haiti lost their lives during the earthquake.

Huge numbers of people are living in temporary settlements and there is an urgent need to provide temporary shelter for the 800,000 people displaced from their homes before the monsoon rains start in April. Aid efforts have been hampered by the lack of infrastructure and skilled personnel. RedR training will play a part in addressing this balance for skilled staff to support the on-going relief efforts.

Delivered in French, English and Creole, training will take place in Port-au-Prince. Developing local capacity and skills in humanitarian practice will not only strengthen the current disaster response but will ensure that Haiti is better equipped to deal with future disasters. Haiti is a country that is prone to natural disasters - in 2008 four deadly storms hit the island affecting up to one million people.

RedR has teamed up with French humanitarian training organisation, Bioforce, combining knowledge and skills to create the Disaster Response Support Services (DRSS) to deliver the training in Haiti. This DRSS programme integrates coordination with the Cluster approach to humanitarian response and key quality initiatives such as Humanitarian Accountability Project (HAP), Sphere and People in Aid.

RedR said that due to the severity and protracted nature of the disaster and the scale of the response, it anticipated that longer-term support will be needed. The charity is therefore appealing for further donations to ensure that training can continue in the longer term, for as long as it is needed.

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