Red Cross chief to visit Marshall Islands

12:53 pm on 12 March 2018

The head of the International Federation of the Red Cross will make his first visit to the Marshall Islands this week to meet officials with the global organization's newest member.

World Humanitarian Summit Pacific Consultation. Mr. Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Elhadj As Sy Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Elhadj As Sy, the Secretary General of the IFRC located in Switzerland, arrives in the Marshalls on 15 March for a four-day visit.

In addition to meeting with local Red Cross officials and volunteers, he is scheduled to meet top national and local government leaders and speak to local college students about the work of the international relief agency.

"It's a great honor for the Marshall Islands to have a visit from the Secretary General of the IFRC," Marshall Islands Red Cross Society Secretary General Jack Niedenthal said.

"It's a tribute to a lot of people here who've worked really hard."

Niedenthal, who took over as secretary general less than a year ago, put the Marshall Islands Red Cross Society on a fast track to international recognition.

He said despite many international Red Cross officials telling them it could take two years to gain recognition, the Marshall Islands organisation was able to gain acceptance in December, about eight months from the launch of efforts to fast track the process.

"Outside of Fiji, where the IFRC for the Pacific is headquartered, this is the only Pacific country he will be visiting," Niedenthal said.

"It's quite an honour. We've excited a lot of the Red Cross world by our accomplishments in a short period of time."

He said Sy would be speaking at a public event at the College of the Marshall Islands at the end of this week.