RedR Australia's quarterly update
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Header photo: Children at Maria Kwin primary school, in Papua New Guinea's drought-affected Jiwaka province, celebrate as water is pumped from the new bore hole. Photo: Charles Knight/RedR 

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El Niño

The 2015/16 El Niño cycle is one of the strongest on record. In March this year, 60 million people worldwide were affected by El Niño related droughts, floods and extreme hot and cold weather, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation. Whilst this extreme weather pattern is now declining, the danger hasn’t passed as crops have failed in many parts of the world and food insecurity remains. Malnutrition rates have skyrocketed in some countries and there’s an ongoing need for many populations to gain access to a stable water supply.

RedR has 11 experts currently responding to El Niño-induced emergencies in seven countries including Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Our experts on the ground include five logisticians with the World Food Programme and UNICEF, three water and sanitation engineers, two emergency coordinators and an emergency preparedness response officer.

RedR deployee Charles Knight observes the drilling of a bore hole at a school in PNG

Water and sanitation engineers Charles Knight, 65, and Jim Sisson, 68, are currently in PNG where they are supporting UNICEF and the International Organisation for Migration to install hand pumps to guarantee a clean water supply for remote communities in the highlands. Almost 20% of PNG's population has had their food security impacted by drought and severe frosts and 162,000 people are facing extreme food shortages. You can read more about Charles’ lifesaving work here.

Next month, we’ll be sending veteran RedR WASH engineer and Associate Trainer, Paul Bolger, to Vietnam where the El Niño-induced drought has left one million people in urgent need of food aid and two million lacking access to drinking water. The country’s worst drought in 90 years comes at a time when sea water has encroached up the Mekong River which irrigates the country’s rich southern Mekong Delta, known as Vietnam’s rice bowl.

Fiji Response Update

Thanks to Australian Government funding and support for our public appeal following Fiji’s Cyclone Winston, we were able to send 12 experts to support the emergency response in Fiji.  Tropical Cyclone Winston hit the islands in March this year, flattening villages in the worst affected areas and resulting in 44 deaths. Thanks to our wonderful supporters, we raised $27,557 from our Fiji Appeal.

Four RedR experts remain in Fiji including GIS mapping expert Paul Jaskiernak who was funded through our Emergency Appeal. Thanks to your donations, Paul has introduced GIS mapping capability to the Fijian Ministry of Health which enabled life-saving medical supplies to reach disaster-affected areas quickly and the government to effectively monitor and respond to potential disease outbreaks. You can read more about his work here.

Paul Jaskiernak and WHO colleague Anish Prasad review a GIS map used to rapidly detect and respond to signals that might indicate outbreaks and clusters of epidemic-prone diseases.

New Collaboration with Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) 

RedR Australia and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see us collaborate in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

The MOU was signed in Bangkok last month and will see us collaborate on capacity development training and the deployment of experts to emergencies.
The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) was established in 1986 to build the capacities of governments and people on the frontline of disasters. Its work is guided by the principle that disaster-inflicted damages and losses can be mitigated, and even prevented, through well-informed decision-making and actions. The center engages in disaster risk reduction activities throughout the Asia Pacific


From the office

New Partnership with UN Women

This month, we signed a partnership with UN Women that will see RedR Australia deploy experts to support their humanitarian efforts later this year. Our CEO, Kirsten Sayers, joined Assistant Secretary-General UN Women, Dr Yannick Glemarec, in New York for the signing ceremony.

Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

World Humanitarian Summit

Our CEO Kirsten Sayers chaired a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) panel at a side event of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul last month. The event  highlighted a collective agenda to save lives and leave no one behind and sought a commitment to include sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian emergency preparedness and response, recovery and resilience.

The 11 panellists included the head of UNFPA Mr Babatunde Osotimehin, Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja, HRH Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, Sweden's newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister, Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and the Syrian Family Planning Association's Dr Lama Mouakea

Kirsten Sayers and Natasha Stott Despoya at the World Humanitarian Summit.

Australian Embassy Staff Training

RedR Australia delivered humanitarian response training to the Australian Government’s Crisis Response Teams based in Australian embassies in Manila and Jakarta.

The three and four day training workshops included simulation exercises and participants were trained to operate out of a “Post Crisis Centre” or field environment across key functional humanitarian areas including Team Leader; Humanitarian Program; Information Management and Reporting; and Logistics and Admin.  The workshops aimed to improve the Government’s capacity for humanitarian responses.

Later this year, RedR will run a crisis simulation exercise for the Canberra Crisis Response Team in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Participants in the RedR training for Australian embassy staff in the Philippines.

Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office

Disaster Risk Reduction is a priority for Vanuatu so staff at the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) was delighted when RedR Australia facilitated a strategic planning workshop for them and their partners in the Vanuatu Humanitarian Team in Port Vila this month.
Last year, Cyclone Pam destroyed 96% of the country’s food crops and now the World Risk Index has ranked Vanuatu number one when it comes to vulnerability to natural disasters.
The workshop supported the NDMO's four year strategic plan. In addition to NDMO staff, participants included staff from the World Food Programme, the United Nations Development Program, the Food and Agricultural Organisation, Oxfam and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The workshop followed training RedR provided to Vanuatu’s frontline humanitarian responders in May on the Sphere Standards.

We are committed to enhancing the NDMO’s capacity to respond to international emergencies following the signing of a joint Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year.


From the Field

Jane Billings

Several months after the Nepal earthquakes, Psycho-social support specialist Jane Billings was deployed to the International Organisation for Migration in Kathmandu to assist in building the capacity of a roving multi-disciplinary team of social workers, psychologists, artist communicators and psycho-social counsellors who provided a range of therapeutic and non-therapeutic interventions in the internally displaced persons sites in four priority districts. In this article, she writes about her work supporting traumatised and grieving families in Nepal.

Jane Billings conducts a monitoring and evaluation interview in an IDP camp.

Kate Learmonth

RedR Australia’s Kate Learmonth is helping launch an innovative SMS-based platform that will give a voice to disaster-affected communities in Fiji.

U-Report is a social messaging tool that allows anyone from the community to become a “U-Reporter” and connect their voice and the voices of their community to the Government of Fiji. Kate shares her thoughts on the new tool and the Cyclone Winston response with us here.

None of RedR's training prepared Kate Learmonth to
be an Octopus  handwashing mascot but her efforts
were appreciated by Fijian children.


Current field activity
26 in the field specialising in:

  • Information Communication Technology
  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
  • Supply and Logistics
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Child Protection
  • Emergency Coordination
  • Humanitarian Affairs
  • Partnerships
  • Return on Investment
  • Communication for Development
  • Information Management
  • Emergency Preparedness
    Report Writing
  • Civil-Military Coordination
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Capacity Development
  • Cash-Based Transfers

in 17 countries:

  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Italy
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Myanmar
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Rwanda
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Swaziland
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Ukraine
  • Zimbabwe

Upcoming training courses

Workplace Mentoring & Training
14 - 15 July

Cert IV in Training & Assessment
27 - 29 July

Essentials of Humanitarian Practice
7 - 12 Sept
9 - 14 Nov

Personal Safety, Security & Communications
15 - 18 Sept
17 - 20 Nov
Humanitarian Logistics in Emergencies
17 - 22 Oct

Water Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) in Emergencies
8 - 14 October

Donate to RedR Australia

We have been helping communities impacted by humanitarian crises for over 20 years. Thanks to your support, we’ve prepared, deployed and supported hundreds of skilled people to work in the world’s toughest places.

By making a regular or one-off donation to RedR Australia, your generosity helps to build our capacity, flexibility and independence to support international emergency relief efforts.

You can donate to our End of Financial Year Appeal today and claim a tax deduction next week!

Money raised from this Appeal will be used to support the disaster preparedness of our Pacific neighbours, You can reduce suffering in future disasters like Fiji's Cyclone Winston by supporting us to train local responders in humanitarian logistics and water, sanitation and hygiene in emergencies.

"Good logistics in an emergency operation is probably the single most important function you want to get right. Having national staff who understand this and what it takes to help is critical for providing a successful humanitarian response anywhere in the world,” humanitarian and regular RedR deployee Mark Brookings says.
The humanitarian supply chain represents 60 – 80% of humanitarian expenditure so increasing the efficiency of the local response makes sense.

“If you are trained to operate a fire extinguisher, you can put out the fire without waiting for the fireman. If we train Pacific Islanders to set up and operate water and sanitation equipment then they can respond earlier and this will save lives,” water and sanitation engineer and regular RedR deployee and associate WASH trainer Tai Ring Teh explains.
Vanuatu ranks number one on the World Risk Index which measures the likelihood of a catastrophic event, like a cyclone or earthquake, occurring and a nation’s ability to cope with such an event. Papua New Guinea, Tonga, the Solomon Islands and Fiji also rank in the top 10.

With your help, we can strengthen the ability of our Pacific neighbours to cope with the next catastrophic event.

Donate to RedR Australia

RedR Australia gratefully acknowledges the support of the Australian and UK Governments.

RedR Australia is a signatory to the Australian Council for International Development Code of Conduct, and is a participant of the UN Global Compact.
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