Imagine being bed-ridden with a chronic lung condition, reliant on oxygen and someone to provide you with your every need. This must be a challenging situation at the best of times but now imagine you have lost your electricity. Suddenly your source of heat, light, means of cooking, and even your means of moving is cut off. How could you provide help?
Whilst on an Emergency Response shift last week, I visited a man in his forties who had lost the power supply to his home. When I arrived, the relief on his face was clear. He was extremely cold, laid up in bed with thin blankets, without lighting, hot water and lacking the ability to cook or even make a hot drink. All it took was spending an hour with him, providing him with blankets, torches, a self-heating meal, and a medical check up and a cup of tea.
A quick chat about the annoyingly noisy builders outside the window and a laugh and a joke, he was feeling much better. Giving up an hour of my time meant the world to this man. Help can come in a variety of ways and in this case it was a cup of tea that proved to be the lifesaver.
Last month I visited a block of 67 flats whose power and water had been off for the whole day. Fortunately when I arrived the power had just been returned although the water was still off. I spent the evening chatting to the residents and seeing how the Red Cross could help. The greatest need was for water and after speaking to a nearby supermarket, they were willing to provide large bottles of water for residents. This came as great relief to one particular family who needed water to boil their two babies formula. Although no huge amount of aid was given that night, the simplest task of providing a few bottles of water really made a difference to the residents living there.
Read more about our UK emergency response work