29 June 2015
Following the violent attack at a tourist resort in Tunisia on Friday the British Red Cross has launched a support line to help those affected.
The dedicated telephone line run by the organisation and commissioned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will offer practical advice and emotional support to anyone affected by the recent events. It will launch at 6pm this evening [29 June] and run daily from 8am – 8pm for as long as the service is needed.
The number to call is +44 (0)20 3417 0260.
Up to 38 people were killed in the attack at Sousse; 18 have been confirmed to be British, but according to reports that figures is expected to rise to around 30. The British Red Cross has sent four psycho-social support volunteers to the scene as part of a Foreign Commonwealth Office Delegation.
The British nationals we have been asked to assist are likely to have experienced or witnessed extremely distressing events – they potentially include those who were on the beach at the time of the attack, and may have been injured, bereaved, or witness to the deaths of others.
Johanna Phillips, Deputy Head of UK Emergency Response at the British Red Cross said:
“This was a terrible event which has been very shocking and distressing for people both at the resort, and family and friends back home. Our trained volunteers are in Tunisia working with people there; they are visiting hospitals and also supporting the resort staff who have been affected by this attack. The British Red Cross support phone line will provide additional help to people who may need to talk about their concerns or get further advice.
Psycho-social support volunteer Howard Fine, who is in Tunisia, said : “Almost all the Britons affected were in Tunisia on holiday – perhaps celebrating birthdays or anniversaries – and believed that they were in a safe place, which could make it harder for them to cope with what has happened.
“In these situations we often find that people can’t stop thinking about what happened and feel agitated or trapped. We aim to give them the emotional support they need and help them to understand what happened to them so as to help them come to terms with it.”
The Tunisian Red Crescent has been responding since the attack happened, providing first aid to injured people and transporting patients to hospitals. A ‘restoring family links’ team have also been helping people get in touch with family members.
For more information, interviews and filming opportunities please contact Penny Sims on 0207 877 7557 or PSims@redcross.org.uk