RED CROSS OF MONTENEGRO RESPONSE TO COVID-19
From the very beginning of the corona crisis, the Red Cross of Montenegro reacted in line with its role and responsibilities in the system. There are some 100 employees, 130 professional home helpers and around 450 volunteers who are involved in the response across the country.
Red Cross continued with visits to older people (both professionals and volunteers), respecting all preventive measures, except in cases where beneficiaries are refusing the visit due to a fear of disease.
There is a Red Cross Call center for people in need (older people, persons with disabilities, people who live by themselves…) who can call and ask for assistance after which the Red Cross volunteers procure what is needed instead of them. To those in need, and after appropriate assessment, the Red Cross also provides food and hygiene items. Vast majority of the calls are related to requests for humanitarian assistance. In addition, there is a hotline for providing psycho social support where trained RC psychologists provide the necessary assistance.
Since the Call center was opened (from 19 March in the afternoon hours) until May14, Red Cross provided assistance for 33 176 beneficiaries; distributed 47366 humanitarian parcels; volunteers organized groceries shopping, paying bills, etc, for 2240 persons, including older people, people with disabilities, etc, and PSS through the hotline, the Call centre and in person (at local level) was provided to 3263 persons.
Beds, mattress and linens were provided for the location defined as quarantine by the National Coordinating Body. 5 prefabricated containers were also provided as triage facilities that are placed in front of the 3 hospitals in the country. Some tents were also set up in front of emergency centers.
Red Cross Training center in Sutomore is also used as a location for quarantine and Red Cross volunteers assisted in food distribution in some of the quarantines.
Assistance is also being provided to Roma population (food and hygiene). Red Cross of Montenegro has been working with Roma community in the country for almost 20 years now – activities related to education, health, but also provision of humanitarian assistance. RCM also has an office in the camp near Podgorica with around 2.000 Roma refugees from Kosovo. RCM is well aware of their needs and the response is currently mainly on the distribution of food and hygiene items and being organized in cooperation with community leaders. Besides this, RCM is continuously communicating with other Roma NGOs and some other organizations throughout the rest of Montenegro to provide assistance.
The Red Cross of Montenegro continuously provides assistance to socially vulnerable people in the country – older people, people without any or with extremely low income, persons with disabilities and the Roma population. However, the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic is also affecting new categories of people – people who stayed without jobs due to restrictive preventive measures adopted by the Government of Montenegro. These are people who were receiving daily income (taxi drivers, waiters, hair dressers…) and due to complete lockdown of the country they were now forced to stay at home. Some of them also lost their job. This has increased the need for basic items such as food and hygiene items.