22 February 2010
A British Red Cross psychosocial support team arrived in Madeira over the weekend to provide practical help and emotional support to Britons affected by the flash flooding.
The BBC reports more than 120 people were injured as a result of rainstorms on 20 February and 42 people have been killed. Search teams are continuing to look for people and there is fear the death toll could rise.
More than 200 people have been made homeless by the violent waters that swept through Funchal, the Portuguese island’s capital. They have been accommodated in military structures, assisted by the Portuguese Red Cross. More than 50 local Red Cross volunteers are searching for survivors, giving first aid and distributing food, water and hygiene kits.
British Red Cross support
The two-person British Red Cross team travelled to Madeira as part of a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) rapid deployment team. They are Linda Cameron, 56, from Exeter, who works as a counsellor and psychological therapist for the NHS in Devon, and Howard Fine, 37, a clinical psychologist and lecturer at the Royal London Hospital.
The pair are setting up a reception centre in Funchal to support any British citizens who may have been affected by the flash flooding.
Vanessa Spiller, head of British Red Cross emergency response, said: "The British Red Cross team working in liaison with Foreign and Commonwealth Office colleagues will help meet the needs of UK citizens by providing them with appropriate practical and emotional support.”
In accordance with its role as an auxiliary to the public authorities in the humanitarian field, the British Red Cross team has gone to Madeira at the request of the FCO, which is responsible for providing consular assistance to Britons overseas.
The British Red Cross has trained volunteers on standby to offer support to people affected by tragedies overseas.
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