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Monday, April 21, 2014

Two trained volunteers from Red Cross help crash victims’ kin cope

The American Red Cross-NMI Chapter joined in the efforts to provide assistance to the victims and their family members of Monday’s plane crash.

Executive director John Hirsh said Tuesday that the accident immediately activated their network of trained volunteers.

A Star Marianas aircraft bound for Tinian with six passengers plus a pilot crashed early Monday morning at the runway of Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport, killing one female Chinese tourist.

Hirsh went to the crash site to assist first responders while other Red Cross staff and volunteers manned their emergency operations center at the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting building.

Two social workers, Janet McCullough and Lynn Corella, went to the hospital to be with family members of the crash victims. The two, who will be spending some time with the family members, were assisted by a Chinese translator provided by Tan Holdings, to help them communicate with the tourists’ kin.

Hirsh explained that when someone experiences a tragic event in their life, it involves a lot of emotional issues such as the stress brought by and being able to make sense of the incident, and being aware of coping mechanisms that could help them through the ordeal.

He said Red Cross’ social workers are professionals, specializing in working with families and understanding their emotions, helping them connect with their loved ones back in their home countries, and being “culturally appropriate” in dealing with the situation.

Since it wasn’t a large-scale aviation disaster, Hirsh said there was no need to create a respite center where family members come in and seek assistance.

Hirsh said Red Cross would continue to help the survivors and their families as part of the follow up support phase.

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