Nigerian Red Cross Calls For Inclusive Response To Emergencies

. . . Hails Air Peace For Evacuating Nigerians From South Africa

By Sunny A. Ijomah

Nigerians have been called upon to get involved in rapid response to emergencies to save lives and property, rather than wait for specific people.

Anambra State Chairman of the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), Professor Peter Katchy, made this call at First Aid Festival in Awka to mark the World First Aid Day, which was commemorated on September 14.

Prof. Katchy said: “First aid is the primary assistance any person can give in times of need. You can give first aid; it is a skilled first-aider that provides the proper service.

“Red Cross is always the first responder to emergency situations all over the world. In a situation where a vehicle or bush is burning, or somebody falls on the road, you don’t leave it until a Red Cross personnel comes around, before response can come.

“You can go to hospital; but first aid is always involved – be it in a flash flood, road accident, flooding or other effect of climatic change.”

Meanwhile, the State Chairman has described the Chairman of Air Peace Airline, Dr. Allen Onyema, as a “mega volunteer first-aider” for the humanitarian gesture of donating his aircraft for evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa due to xenophobic attacks.

According to him, many Nigerians would have lost their lives in the attacks and threat on foreigners to leave South Africa, if such a timely gesture had not come the way of Nigerians.
Prof. Katchy described the theme of this year’s event, ‘Addressing Social Exclusion Through First Aid’, as apt, stressing that “social exclusion is the handicap most vulnerable groups in the society face, including orphans and vulnerable children, indigent women, widows and physically-challenged persons.”

The State Chairman, who spoke in company of the State Secretary of NRCS, Mr. Kingsley Okoye, said the groups were exposed to vagaries of violence, hardship and trauma.

“First aid is total act of life. If you talk about first aid, it is an act of life in the sense that you provide first aid wherever you see yourself; be it school, church, market, village, motor park, street or home. It comes in different variations,” he added.

Prof. Katchy, who is a board member of Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), enjoined all to be “brothers’ keeper”.

The First Aid Festival witnessed road show by members of Red Cross who marched from its Headquarters near Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, through the popular Zik Avenue to Eke-Awka Main Market, where simulation activities took place to educate the members of the public on the takeaways from the event.

Speaking to our correspondent during the simulation, the State’s Health Coordinator, Chinwe Lawrence, a nurse attached to Maternal and Child Health Department, Amawbia, said that select pregnant, lactating women and newly-delivered mothers were taught on malnutrition.