Goal: Help Mauritians cope with the risk of natural disasters
During the April school holidays, the Mauritius Red Cross Society’s Dood caravan – a replica of Timoun’s caravan in Reunion – toured Mauritius on a roadshow. Starting at Mahebourg on 4th April 2016, Dood, the dodo mascot of the caravan, and his team set off until Sunday 10th April to meet people of all ages. Over the course of a week Dood’s caravan awareness-raising activities reached more than 1,000 people. PIROI encouraged and supported the Dood’s caravan project throughout.
Dood’s caravan forms part of the PIROI-funded project ‘Building safer and more resilient communities in Mauritius and Rodrigues Island’, which aims to reduce the vulnerability of populations when faced with the natural risks and impacts of climate change.
According to Ms Orrmeela Jawaheer, President of the Mauritius Red Cross Society, “risk management is not just a matter for the authorities or the Red Cross, it concerns everyone …”. By helping local populations prepare to face the risks surrounding them, and by educating children about the risks and hazards these natural events represent, this first edition of Dood’s caravan addressed challenging local issues. This follows on from several floods in Mauritius since the beginning of the year due to heavy rain, which affected northern (Grand Baie and Rivière du Rempart), western (Port-Louis and Quatre Bornes), and eastern parts of the island (Montagne Blanche, Sébastopol).
The caravan’s goal is to teach all generations how to prepare for natural disasters by introducing the population to first aid and disaster risk reduction, and even raising awareness about road safety and household accidents. At each stop Dood’s caravan proposed various outreach workshops, allowing visitors to receive training and discover Mauritius Red Cross Society’s activities:
- ‘Introduction to first aid’ reminded members of the public what to do while waiting for emergency services to arrive. In the space of 40 minutes this introduction allows the participant to identify an adult victim of cardiac arrest, alert the emergency services, start chest compressions (cardiac massage), and safely use a defibrillator;
- ‘Disaster risk reduction outreach activity’ presented the natural risks that Mauritius faces in an entertaining manner, as well as the precautions to follow to protect oneself. Visitors were able to try out Mauritius Red Cross Society’s game ‘Hazards and Ladders’;
- The road safety workshop, run jointly with the Mauritius national police force, reminded all road users of road safety rules and how to behave to reduce traffic accidents;
- The ‘fire and domestic accident’ workshop, organised by the Fire Brigade of Mauritius, helped raise public awareness about domestic incidents (the importance of protecting oneself and being alert), as well as the safety precautions to follow in the event of fire.
Due to the success of these seven days, the 25-strong team of Dood’s caravan volunteers were invited to conduct an additional 8th stop on Wednesday 13th April in the capital, Port Louis.