Acting Director-General of the Dominica Red Cross (right) Dr. Jaslin Salmon shakes hands with a volunteer Dale Laurent

The Dominica Red Cross (DRC) has said it is seeking to rectify what it described as “unfounded claims” made after the passage of Hurricane Maria, saying it has been providing humanitarian support to those affected.

According to the DRC, there are claims that said the Workshop for the Blind, which is next door to its headquarters, was damaged during the hurricane and it did nothing to help.

The DRC said this is far from the truth.

“Since the onset of the emergency caused by Hurricane Maria, the Dominica Red Cross with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has been working to provide humanitarian support to those affected,” the DRC said on Thursday.

The organization said it has indeed assisted the Workshop for the Blind with the following:

1. Red Cross shelter officer assisted in placing tarpaulings on the roof of the building.
2. Red Cross provided the staff with relief items.
3. The organization benefited from the Red Cross cash transfer programme.
4. Red Cross collaborated with the Workshop for the Blind in distributing clothing to the needy in the community.

Furthermore, the DRC outlined achievement made during the Relief Phase after Maria:

-680,000 liters of water to 1,498 households
-5,565 households received relief items, including 11,265 tarpaulins, 8,304 blankets, 5,997 mosquito nets,2,940 kitchen sets, 184 food parcels, tool kits, wood, and training and installation support.
-989 households have received pre-paid cash cards of US$450
-1,498 households have received hygiene items including hygiene kits, jerry cans and buckets.

It also said that the Recovery Phase after the hurricane is now over and “we intend to do total or partial repair of 1,000 roofs, benefiting 5,000 persons.”

“With the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) we are in the process of building the capacity of the Dominica Red Cross through the reorganization of Governance and Management Structures, thereby ensuring transparency and accountability,” the DRC said.

Meanwhile, Acting Director General of the DRC said the organization is in the “difficult” process of regaining the public’s trust and is in the process of reorganizing itself.

“Certainly, the Red Cross has a very good name but when the name has been somewhat badly affected, it affects our ability to serve, ability to get support from the public,” he stated.

He noted that the DRC has been going through some difficult times and he was brought in reorganize it.