[COVID-19] Singapore Red Cross’ relief operations in China commences, expected to reach 100,000 healthcare workers and residents

  • Phase 1 relief efforts target healthcare workers and patients; vulnerable children 
  • Government and public donations surpass S$6M 

Singapore, 19 February 2020 - The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) in a media briefing today announced progress made in its humanitarian operations towards the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Worth S$2,260,000, the first tranche of aid will directly support hospital staff and healthcare services providers through the procurement and distribution of essential personal protective equipment (PPE). The aid will also go towards medical equipping for three hospitals in Hubei Province; as well as the distribution of hygiene items and communication of health messages to seven social welfare homes in Tianjin and Nanning Cities, to be implemented over a period of five months (till June 2020). Part of the funds will also be used to support other areas of intervention such as risk communication, community engagement, health and Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) promotion, information management, interagency coordination, and Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reporting (PMER).

Expected to reach over 100,000 residents in China, the emergency response aid will be delivered by implementing partners, the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and World Vision. The remaining funds will be committed to additional projects in the coming months, as the SRC works closely with its ground partners to identify suitable projects that will directly benefit the most vulnerable. 

Since the launch of its public appeal on 4 February, SRC has received over S$6M in donations from corporate organisations and members of the public, including S$1 million from the Singapore Government. 

Mr Benjamin William, SRC Secretary General / CEO, said, “Over the past two weeks, we have seen an outpouring of support from individuals and organisations, for which we are grateful. The needs on ground are growing, and so are the resources required to support affected and at-risk communities in China. We are focused on maximising the impact of these donations, to help strengthen communities to eventually overcome the outbreak. As stewards of the donations, we are committed to the highest standards of accountability and transparency in our fund disbursement and project management.”

At a cheque presentation today, the SRC received US$2M from clients of Signature Consulting Pte Ltd, represented by director Mr Youw Rui Xiong Alvin. He said, “Together with our clients at Signature Consulting, we believe that the best joy in life is not about achieving personal success, but also to bring joy to those who are in need.”

Monitoring & Reporting

Separately, SRC has deployed a personnel to the IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur and will deploy another to the IFRC Beijing Office this week to coordinate the response. The appointed persons will assist with sourcing, procurement and delivery of PPE, as well as monitoring the implementation of projects funded by SRC.

Local Community Efforts

Blood is required daily to support the needs of patients in Singapore. Despite the good response over the last few days, blood stocks are still low. The SRC thanks all donors and urges those who are healthy and eligible to step forward to support the national transfusion needs during this challenging time.

On the home front, SRC has also ramped up the frequency of befriending calls to 119 isolated seniors, from fortnightly to weekly, to allay their concerns on the coronavirus outbreak. SRC volunteers are pressing on with regular home visits to another 94 seniors identified as high-risk clients. The Red Cross Youth, as part of ongoing ‘disaster risk reduction’ efforts, will reach out to some 200 elderly in the neighbourhoods to advocate good hygiene practices in the next two months.

SRC took steps to safeguard its beneficiaries, as well as volunteers and employees working on-the-go, across its local social services. Preventive measures include: providing TransportAid drivers and Medical Chaperones with masks and gloves, equipping all transporters with hand sanitisers, and conducting daily disinfection of all vehicles. Together, SRC’s TransportAid and Medical Chaperone & Transportation services serve 488 clients.

SRC’s weekly Young Hearts Programme at Nee Soon East continues, with mandatory temperature taking for all participants - children and youth. At a recent visit to the Red Cross Home for the Disabled, Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sam Tan commended the team on their vigilance, citing, “The team was well prepared for the COVID-19 situation.”