Hunger Day quick to send help to Indonesia

Laura Vesa
Benjamin Suomela

A total of 2.8 million euros were donated to the Finnish Red Cross Hunger Day collection this year. The donations were indeed needed quickly as Indonesia was hit by an earthquake. Currently, Finnish Red Cross logisticians are making sure that help reaches the areas affected by the natural disaster.

A total of 2.8 million euros were donated to the Finnish Red Cross Hunger Day collection during September and October this year. The Hunger Day collection raises funds for the Finnish Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which is used to help victims of accidents and conflicts in Finland and around the world.

The Disaster Relief Fund was needed immediately after the collection, in Indonesia, as an earthquake on the Sulawesi island, and the tsunami that followed it, robbed 160,000 people of their homes.

“Thanks to the donors and our volunteer collectors, we were able to send help to Indonesia immediately after the disaster,” says Head of Fundraising Operations Anna Laurinsilta from the Finnish Red Cross.

Aid operation quickly on its feet

Soon after the quake, the Finnish Red Cross used funds from the Disaster Relief Fund and worked together with the Danish Red Cross to send a logistics unit to Indonesia.

The task of the unit is to receive incoming rescue supplies and manage their storage and transportation to the destination. Logisticians are part of the international Red Cross aid operation, where those who have lost their homes receive health care and emergency accommodation.

The operation is expected to continue for a long time. Mudslides continue to threaten the area and, together with authorities, the Red Cross is helping people build safer homes to replace those that were lost.

“Because of the risks of mudslides and other disasters, large zoning alterations are planned, so that new buildings will not be built in the danger zones. The Red Cross will ensure that people receive sufficient support in the coming change,” says Andreas von Weissenberg, who led the Red Cross aid operation on the ground.

Altogether nine logisticians left Finland for the operation in Indonesia, the last of whom left in late November. Currently, three logisticians posted by the Finnish Red Cross are working on the ground in Indonesia.

People want to help

This year, the Hunger Day collection was organised for the 38th time. A total of 13,000 box collectors participated in the collection organised from Thursday to Saturday 20–22 September.

This year’s result is the fourth best in the history of Hunger Day collections.

“The results speak to the fact that people want to help disaster victims,” Anna Laurinsilta says. “We want to thank each donor and all our box collectors, who work locally to ensure that those who need help are not forgotten.”