Hong Kong Red Cross COVID-19 Hotline Nearly 40% of recipients of emergency supplies have 2 days or less of food supplies Encourage the public to strengthen disaster preparedness with a ” storage strategy” – China – Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region)

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(Hong Kong, June 14, 2022) In response to the 5th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hong Kong Red Cross Society (HKRC) has been providing a series of humanitarian services to support vulnerable groups and affected people, said served over 41,000 people and distributed over 130,000 pandemic supplies. Thank you to the Hongkong Bank Foundation for donating HKD 14 million to support our pandemic response relief efforts, including the “Hong Kong Red Cross COVID-19 Support Hotline” (the Hotline). After analyzing the service data and concluding our service experience, it turns out that nearly 40% of citizens who received emergency supplies from the Hotline have only 2 days or less of food reserves. Therefore, the HKRC has introduced the “storage strategy” and calls on the public to save for a future rainy day, strengthen disaster preparedness and establish a stronger community network to prepare for the possible next wave. pandemic and others. emergencies in the future.

Nearly 40% of citizens who received emergency supplies only have 2 days or less of food reserves

Since February 21, HKRC has set up the COVID-19 Hotline to serve as a one-stop platform for the latest COVID-19 measures and health information, psychological support, as well as information on social services. The program also provides support on food parcels, COVID-19 prevention kits and rapid antigen test kits, etc. according to the callers’ needs. Our wish is to help out everyone in the city in the midst of this pandemic. The hotline received over 11,400 calls and provided emergency supplies to over 9,500 people.

Ms. Bonnie So, Chief Executive Officer/Secretary General of HKRC, said, “Of those who have received emergency supplies, almost 40% (36%) have only 2 days or less of food reserves. Some of the most urgent cases only have a day’s supply of food at home. However, when the whole family tested positive for COVID-19, they were unable to leave the house to buy more food. This reflects the importance of keeping food supplies. calls on the public to stock up for a rainy day to better respond to the potential next wave of the pandemic or other emergencies. »

On the other hand, the majority of calls come from callers who live in Kwun Tong (15%), Kwai Tsing (10%), Sha Tin (9%) and Sham Shui Po (8%). According to the Census and Statistics Department’s “District Council District Analyzed Population and Household Statistics 2021”, Kwun Tong, Kwai Tsing and Sham Shui Po are the three districts with the lowest median income. This shows that low-income families face greater challenges during the pandemic and need support from various sectors of society.

Amass three days worth of food supplies to provide a safety net for the family

In addition to the pandemic leading to home quarantine, the frequent extreme weather conditions in recent years also force us to prepare for extended homestays for safety reasons. Ms. Cardry Chan, Community Resilience Officer of HKRC, who is in charge of the operation of the helpline, suggested, “Given the size constraint of most households in the city, HKRC suggests citizens keep three days worth of food at home at all times. The guiding principle for building a food reserve is to have a wide variety of nutritious foods without excess. You can keep an eye on the expiry date, so that foods that do not will expire soon can be eaten first and restocked accordingly.Instant food should be included other than fresh food, so it will be more convenient when you can’t cook or can’t keep food in the refrigerator for a power outage Comfort foods, i.e. fresh foods or foods you enjoy such as coffee, milk tea, chocolate and cookie, are beneficial for mental health.” On the other hand, medications for fever, stomach pain, pain, allergy, sore throat, chronic disease, etc., should be kept according to the needs and medical records of family members.

Moreover, comparing the result of a telephone survey of Hotline callers collected in May 2022 and that of the public in July 2021 by HKRC, the public tends to seek help from NGOs and the government rather than friends, colleagues and schools. In conversations with callers, we have found that some of them are reluctant to ask for help from relatives or friends because they don’t want to be a burden or be rejected. We encourage the public to establish a personal community network. Support from neighbors is essential during the time with social distancing measures. It’s okay to ask others for help, and we should also offer help to those who need it. Care of family members is also important, especially single or doubleton seniors. Family members could take turns calling the elderly. We encourage community citizens to spend 3 minutes calling or texting one person every day. If we can all spend time caring for each other, our mental health can be greatly improved. In addition, companies and organizations are encouraged to help NGOs improve disaster preparedness through various means, strengthen community education, provide emergency supplies or shelter. We believe that “Everyone has a role in disaster preparedness”. Disasters can hardly be avoided, but we can minimize their effects by raising awareness and being well prepared for disasters.

HKRC action against the pandemic

HKRC has been providing the following humanitarian services since the beginning of the year to deal with the 5th wave of the pandemic:

  • Set up the “Hong Kong Red Cross COVID-19 Support Hotline” which serves as a one-stop platform for the latest COVID-19 measures and health information, psychological support, as well as social service information. The program also provides support on food parcels, COVID-19 prevention kits and rapid antigen test kits, etc. according to caller needs, receiving more than 11,400 calls.
  • Collaborated with community partners from January to May to distribute more than 130,000 anti-pandemic items. More than 30,000 people have benefited, including 4,600 frontline workers, 1,200 foreign and ethnic minority domestic workers and 9,800 families.
  • Continues with several psychological support services, including the “Stay With You: Supporting People in Quarantine Facilities” program which provides psychological support programs to people in quarantine facilities, such as quarantine centers and hotels ; “Shall We Talk” psychological support service to the public; and collaborate with the NGO Forget Thee Not to launch the “Love in the Air” project, which provides psychological support and practical information on funeral arrangements to families experiencing sudden bereavement, serving almost a hundred cases.
  • Sharing information on COVID-19 prevention and HKRC services to the public through the HKRC “Overcome the Pandemic Together” thematic website: www.redcross.org.hk/en/ncov2019.html, social media platforms and awareness channels.

To prepare for the next potential pandemic wave, HKRC is carrying out the following humanitarian work:

  • Extends the service period of the “Hong Kong Red Cross COVID-19 Support Hotline”, a one-stop platform for the latest COVID-19 measures and health information, psychological support, as well as social service information.
  • Provides 7-day COVID preparedness packs to 880 elderly people and distributes anti-pandemic items to vulnerable groups.
  • Introduces a mobile health promotion truck to raise public awareness and lifestyle habits of personal hygiene and home safety, as well as to develop and strengthen disaster preparedness knowledge.
  • Co-hosting the Certificate Course in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Preparedness with the Hong Kong Jockey Club Disaster Preparedness and Response Institute, to impart a set of essential knowledge and skills, so that learners can prepare, respond and recover effectively from various emergencies or disasters.
  • Provides N95 respirator fit testing for specific groups and the public and supports care homes with infection prevention and preparedness training.
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