Schools vital for disaster prevention awareness, says Red Cross


Winners of the competition in a souvenir photograph with Red Cross officials

In a prize-giving ceremony held on Monday at the RCSS headquarters at Providence, members of Red Cross Clubs from schools across Seychelles showed how much effort has been put into these four words for the RCSS disaster risk reduction school campaign, which is titled “act now, prepare for tomorrow”.

In February this year, the RCSS received €15,000 from Croix Rouge Française (CRF) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) towards establishing a disaster risk reduction programme in schools to educate the youth about the prevention of disasters at their schools and in the wider community.

President of the Red Cross Society of Seychelles, Barbara Carolus-André, said it was important to recognise the progress the campaign had made on disaster risk reduction at school level.

“Disasters have been, and always will be, a reality. Preparedness can help us respond in an appropriate manner and ensure that disasters do not turn into catastrophes and loss of life,” said Ms Carolus-André. “It is therefore up to all of us, as individuals, children, adults, old people, homes, schools, communities, workplaces, businesses and shops to fully participate in disaster risk reduction.”

Disaster risk reduction is a systematic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing the risks of disaster. It aims to reduce socio-economic vulnerabilities to disaster as well as dealing with the environmental and other hazards that trigger them.

The Red Cross Club Leader, Mirenda Bolo, explained that the three-month awareness programme was aimed at educating school children mainly in the western coastal areas of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
“It is clear that the Seychelles community is insufficiently prepared for dealing with both large-scale disasters as well as everyday preparedness,” said Ms Bolo.

“This is why we are educating the youth and especially the club leaders, to help them and prepare them. We have given them certain tools to help them deploy what they have learned if a disaster does occur.”

Maria Fanchette, communications coordinator at the RCSS, handed out the prizes for the school awareness campaign. First prize in the poetry competition was won by Nicole Toussaint from Anse Boileau secondary school and the first prize in the poster design competition was Lisa Georges from Anse Royale secondary school. Two additional prizes for extraordinary effort were awarded to English River secondary school and Anse Royale secondary school.

Each school that took part in the awareness campaign also received a prize, and every child that volunteered also received a certificate.

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