Thanks to the contributions of many RedR supporters, we have been able to a week's training in Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction for people who had volunteered as rescuers after the Rana Plaza collapse in April.
The course covered topics such as Search and Rescue, Disaster Management, Fire and Safety, and First Aid. Members of the volunteer first responder group participated in the training, learning a range of skills which will help when they respond to future disasters.
RedR offered this training in response to a request from Shahadat Hussein, a Bangladeshi man who had just spent five days and nights pulling survivors from the wreckage of the collapsed iRana Plaza garment factory collapse in Dhaka.
Shahadat is not an employee of the country’s emergency services, nor is he an aid worker. He is a local man who runs a hardware business. When news of the collapsed garment factory broke on local television, he quickly realised that not enough was being done to rescue workers trapped inside the building. He decided to volunteer alongside hundreds of other local people.
Shahadat and the other volunteers saved many lives before the Bangladeshi army stepped in and took over. They improvised search and rescue methods, using their own equipment to drill through the layers of concrete trapping the victims. They worked for hours at a time without proper protection – in dark, airless cavities with no water, boots or hard hats.
“When we found someone still alive inside the building, we did our level best to save that life. This was not an expert rescue. We improvised solutions using any equipment we could.”-Shahadat Hussein
Shahadat was right to seek professional training. The Rana Plaza disaster will not be a one-off occurrence. In June a survey conducted by engineers in Bangladesh revealed that three-fifths of the country’s 600 garment factories are poorly constructed and vulnerable to collapse.
All photos © RedR/GMB Akash
Over the course of our programme, and through the generous support of our donors, we have trained over 1,000 relief workers across key humanitarian areas such as water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, supply chain and fleet management, safety and security, and telecommunications. 91 percent of the people trained have been national Haitian humanitarian personnel, providing a strong skills base within the country, increasing local involvement in the relief and recovery process and ensuring that skills remain in country long after the media attention has faded.
We are now winding down our training operations in Haiti. RedR would like to sincerely thank everyone who contributed to our Emergency Appeal; your donations have made an invaluable difference to rebuilding the lives and livelihoods of the people of Haiti.
There will remain a strong legacy of our time in Haiti. The skills taught will continue to have impact on the ongoing relief operation for months, even years to come. RedR Members will continue to work in the region, sharing their experience and our technical support service remains available to all field workers.
For a our full Haiti report and for further information about RedR's activities please visit our website: www.redr.org.uk
Thank you for what you have helped us do for the Haitian community.
Since RedR set up its Disaster Response Support Service, 871 relief workers working for 46 organisations have been trained in essential humanitarian and reconstruction skills and techniques. Crucially, 92% of those trained are Haitian nationals - helping communities to respond with the resources they need to rebuild their lives. This philosophy is highlighted in our campaign Respond, Resource, Rebuild. Read more by clicking on the link below.
What effect does RedR's training have? It means participants can leave our training room and help communities fight disease, distribute supplies, get clean water and stay safe. It also means Haitians are gaining skills and knowledge that will stay with them for a lifetime.
It is thanks to people like you that we have been able to run this program. Thank you so much for your support.