Our commitment, Corona
“We’re well on the way thanks to the tremendous solidarity shown”
Sabine Zeilinger, Head of Communications and Media Spokesperson at the Swiss Red Cross (SRC), explains how the coronavirus donations are being used. Swiss Post alone has given the SRC over a million Swiss francs so far from the proceeds of the “COVID-19 Solidarity” stamp.
Coronavirus is also a challenge for the SRC and money has to be distributed quickly. What has the situation been like over recent weeks?
It’s been extremely intense. The Swiss Red Cross had to adapt its services within a very short space of time, has recruited new volunteers to replace those in high-risk groups and has been working hard for a number of weeks to provide people in need with immediate help directly and in an unbureaucratic way. All of this clearly presented a huge challenge. But we believe we’re on the right track. And we’re extremely grateful for the tremendous solidarity that we’ve been shown by the Swiss people and business community.
How does distribution via third-party organizations work exactly?
We’re using the donations for the aid projects of our Red Cross organizations which support vulnerable people directly, but also high-risk groups. More specifically, this includes the delivery services for high-risk groups, our transport and relief services and emergency aid for families and individuals facing financial hardship. We’ve also supported the healthcare system – for example through preventative measures by raising awareness amongst immigrants and by purchasing masks and protective equipment for volunteers and employees – as well as the Swiss Confederation through cooperation at the test centers. All of these projects are carried out by our Red Cross organizations and the Swiss Red Cross’s administrative office. They can make applications for their services to the administrative office in Berne which are then approved and funded quickly and in an unbureaucratic way. For immediate aid we are using a well-established process that was successfully adapted to meet the new challenges after a few initial problems.
How many organizations are involved?
The Swiss Red Cross includes 24 Red Cross cantonal associations, Blutspende Schweiz AG as well as four rescue organizations: “Schweizerische Samariterbund”, “Schweizerische Verein für Such- und Rettungshunde” (REDOG), “Schweizerische Militär- und Sanitätsverband” and “Schweizerische Lebensrettungsgesellschaft” (SLRG). All activities are coordinated by the administrative office in Berne. These organizations and dozens of sub-organizations – together with thousands of volunteers – are supporting the people worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic both centrally and locally.