IFRC President Tadateru Konoé completed a three-day official visit to Lao PDR this week, deepening the relationship between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Lao Red Cross and the Lao PDR government.

During the visit Mr Konoé met with the Vice President of Lao PDR, Dr Phankham Viphavanh, to discuss the unique auxiliary role of the Red Cross as well as the important work of Lao Red Cross’ staff and volunteers in supporting vulnerable communities nationwide.

“With the intensity and frequency of natural disasters on the rise, the government of Laos is facing increasing challenges in disaster preparedness and response. We discussed the potential to cooperate further in strengthening the country’s capacity to respond to these vulnerabilities”, says President Konoé.

The visit reaffirmed the IFRC’s commitment to supporting Lao Red Cross in its efforts to help communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. A recent example of this life-saving cooperation has been the Lao Red Cross’ response to the August floods in Oudomxay when 5,000 affected people received relief items with the IFRC’s support.

“There is scope for more regional cooperation, particularly peer-to-peer support to strengthen the Lao Red Cross’ capacity in disasters. This includes development of their National Disaster Response Teams as well as improvements to their logistics systems and warehousing. We must also ensure that they have prepositioned stocks of relief items, ready for the next disaster”, says Xavier Castellanos, the IFRC’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific, who accompanied President Konoé during the visit.

The President and his delegation also visited some of the development and humanitarian programmes of the Lao Red Cross supported by the IFRC and international donors including the Japanese Red Cross Society. This included a visit to the Lao Red Cross National Blood Transfusion Centre in Vientiane City.

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