30 September 2013
For further information contact:
Anna MacSwan 020 7877 7519 / AMacSwan@redcross.org.uk
Henry Makiwa 020 7877 7479 / HMakiwa@redcross.org.uk
On call mobile: 0771 0391703
The British Red Cross have sent a team of two psycho-social support volunteers to accompany the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) rapid deployment team in Nairobi, Kenya.
The two Red Cross volunteers flew out on Sunday morning to join UK Foreign Office staff supporting Britons affected by the attack on Westgate Shopping Centre.
Simon Lewis, Head of UK Emergency Planning and Response at the British Red Cross, said: "Our psycho-social volunteers are trained to provide practical and emotional support to people caught up in emergency situations. The team will be there to give help and advice to people affected by the attack, and to offer them emotional support too."
Staff and volunteers from the Kenyan Red Cross Society were some of the first to respond to the emergency following an attack by an armed group at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi on Saturday.
Within the first hour, the Red Cross had deployed Advanced Life Support ambulances to the scene, which were supported by a team of paramedics. The response time was improved because a Red Cross ambulance had been on standby at the mall, while teams of blood transfusion units are collecting donations across Kenya.
The Kenya Red Cross Society worked closely with other institutions to evacuate casualties to nearby hospitals, while a psycho-social support team is also on site at the Centre to provide assistance to the friends and families of those who were injured or killed in the attack.
Red Cross volunteers are also attempting to reunite families and are encouraging people to fill out a missing persons report, using an online form found at http://www.eplus.co.ke/index.php/missing-persons.
The British Red Cross has previously deployed psycho-social support volunteers to help Britons caught up in the fighting in Libya, events in Egypt in 2011, Haiti’s earthquake, flooding in Madeira, the transport chaos as a result of the volcanic ash cloud in 2010, and the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
Notes to editors
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.
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• In accordance with its role as an auxiliary to the public authorities in the humanitarian field the British Red Cross is responding at the request of the FCO, which is responsible for providing consular assistance to Britons overseas.
• For interviews, photography, case studies or more information, please contact Henry Makiwa on HMakiwa@redcross.org.uk 02078777479 and Anna MacSwan on AMacSwan@redcross.org.uk 02078777519
• Follow the Kenya Red Cross (@KenyaRedCross) Twitter updates on #WestgateAttack and Press bulletins here. Contact the Kenya Red Cross press office on email@example.com or The KRCS Emergency Operation Centre on 1199, 0700395395, 0738395395