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International Red Cross Leaders Meet in Miami
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October 19, 2009

Red Cross national societies are never alone. During a disaster, they can ask other societies in the global Red Cross network to assist with aid, relief supplies and technical expertise. They also work together to build their capacity to provide humanitarian services. In this spirit, senior leaders from nearly two dozen Red Cross societies are now meeting in Miami.

An elderly Krukira resident tells the story of Hurricane Felix to Raul Molinares of the Nicaraguan Red Cross. The village, on Nicaragua's Mosquito Coast, was completely devastated by Hurricane Felix in September 2007.
Credit: Alex Wynter/IFRC

Over two days, presidents, secretary generals and senior board members from the Americas are sharing their knowledge and experiences to address common challenges they face. They are joined by chapter and national leaders from the American Red Cross.

"We are excited and honored to host so many prominent leaders at this meeting," said David Meltzer, Senior Vice President of International Services for the American Red Cross. "It is a unique opportunity for participants to learn from each other and exchange ideas."

Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross, spoke on Thursday with participants about the new management structure of the organization.

Several experts from the American Red Cross of Greater Miami and the Keys have also shared their expertise. Hunter Ruffin, Health and Safety Director, presented a multipart workshop on developing business plans for health and safety. Luis Avila, Senior Director of Emergency Services, discussed what types of actions to take after a disaster response operation is finished. And Cynthia Gutierrez-White, Senior Director of Communications and Marketing, discussed how to blend traditional and social media outreach to maximize visibility.

Angela Gouveia, the Director General of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society, thought the meeting was very valuable. "It was perfect timing, as I am now setting up a first aid department," she said.

When the next disasters strike in the American hemisphere, leaders assembled in Miami expect that their Red Cross societies will be even better prepared to assist local humanitarian needs. As always, though, they’ll be ready to provide assistance to their neighbors if needed.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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