19 Jan 2006

Tuvalu Red Cross assessing needs to prepare for disasters

2:24 pm on 19 January 2006

The Tuvalu Red Cross is assessing the results of a survey of health care needs which it hopes will enable it to provide a better service, especially when disaster strikes.

The director of the Tuvalu Red Cross, Lillian Falealuga, aims to produce a strategic plan for the society after 23 years in which she says it had no direction or mission.

Ms Falealuga says nearly 4-hundred people have returned questionnaires in the capital Funafuti.

She says this information will be useful to assess the scale of health problems triggered or exacerbated by sea encroachment, whether by climate change or cyclones.

"Climate change alongside disaster preparedness and response is an area where we really need to strongly build our capacity as a society, to respond, when there is a lot of ongoing strong wind warnings and yeah, if there's going to be a cyclone, we already, at the moment we've got a satellite phone, we are really building on the capacity of our volunteers, we are recruiting young volunteers who are committed."

A report will be prepared by the start of next month.