Taking into account the provisions for protection and social distancing in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, the Monaco Red Cross has been pursuing all of its activities and solidarity actions for several weeks now. Frédéric Platini, Secretary of the MRC, gave Monaco Tribune his views on the Red Cross’s current situation, while outlining the broad strokes for the coming months.

Solidarity actions that are gradually starting up again

“While volunteer activities in retirement homes and at the Princess Grace Hospital Centre are on a summer break, others have been able to resume, such as first aid training, which is carried out in small groups and with strengthened health measures,” explains Frédéric Platini. “The Monaco Red Cross is already providing some first aid posts from July onwards: theatrical performances at Fort Antoine, Herculis, … depending on the gradual resumption of events in Monaco”. The social service of the MRC continues to provide support to people in a precarious situation. “More and more people affected by the recent crisis are calling on the social workers of the Monaco Red Cross for specific help. The service is expecting an increase in social assistance in the coming months. The ‘Cloakroom’ service has not been available since the start of the crisis. On the other hand, the social service volunteers were able to resume their work of sorting clothes in June. In August, however, they will take another break until a possible reopening in September.” As far as international projects are concerned, the reception of children suffering from heart disease as part of Monaco Collectif Humanitaire has been put on hold. However, the MRC hopes that this activity will resume in 2021.

More and more people affected by the recent crisis are calling on the social workers of the Monaco Red Cross for specific help

Projects already in preparation for next year

“The Monaco Red Cross is already preparing for the events of 2021, such as the big sale, scheduled for May, and the resumption of its interventions (health, first aid, solidarity, etc.), in particular its training, awareness-raising and events in schools, companies or during rescheduled events. The first-aid workers are also preparing to man the first-aid posts for the next events scheduled for 2021, such as the organisation of the three automobile Grand Prix (Formula 1, historic, electric)”.

Monaco Red Cross

Enhanced tutoring for students

While the school dropout rate of children in precarious situations is one of the social consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic following the closure of schools, colleges and high schools, the Monaco Red Cross has decided to set up the organisation of private lessons on its premises. These sessions bring together volunteers (mostly students) with children (from primary to secondary school) from families receiving social services from the MRC and various other social services in Monaco and/or neighbouring municipalities: DASO [Directorate of Health and Social Action], DENJS [Directorate of National Education, Youth and Sports], MSD [Departmental Care Homes]. “This activity will last all summer, and if the operation is a success, it will be possible to extend it during the coming school year.”

Precautionary measures to take to avoid a second wave

“Currently, an increase in the number of contaminations has been noted in Monaco and the Alpes-Maritimes, but with fewer hospitalisations. We remain vigilant and follow the recommendations of the Monaco government and the World Health Organization [WHO],” said Frédéric Platini. “We recommend that the population continue to wash their hands frequently, avoid close contact and crowded spaces, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth, cover their mouth and nose with the crease of their elbow or with a handkerchief to be thrown away immediately in the event of coughing or sneezing, and then wash their hands with soap or hydroalcoholic gel. It is also important to get information from reliable sources such as the Red Cross or WHO and to follow the advice of your doctor.”

We can count on a team of salaried employees and numerous volunteer members

Volunteers and donors always present

“We can count on a team of salaried employees and numerous volunteer members who are strongly united and motivated by the positive feedback we’ve received for our actions. We are part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, present in 192 countries, where National Red Cross Societies are typically prepared to respond to epidemics, which has enabled us to be quickly operational and to work efficiently,” acknowledges the secretary general of the MRC. “We have also carried out an internal evaluation of our actions so that we can improve our effectiveness in the event of a new crisis.” Many people voluntarily got involved in the activities set up by the Monaco Red Cross during the crisis – as of 13th June, there were 137 active volunteers, 20% of whom were new – donors, for their part, also made their contribution. “Several private and institutional donors came spontaneously to support us financially and materially. We hope that they will also remain mobilised as we have unfortunately not yet seen the end of the consequences of this crisis, as the annual gala of the Monaco Red Cross, one of our main fund-raising activities, had to be cancelled”.

>> READ MORE: Monaco Red Cross helping Principality to face pandemic. Interview with Secretary-General Frédéric Platini

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