RCA support team helps families after accidents

The uncle of three children killed in a car accident in Yemen last weekend has praised the efforts of the UAE RCA.

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ABU DHABI // The uncle of three children killed in a car accident in Yemen last weekend has praised the efforts of the UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) for the care its psychological support team has offered his family. Omar Deban's two nieces, aged three and 14, along with his nephew, 13, were killed when a tyre on their car burst as they were returning home from a family holiday in Yemen.

The children's father, mother, brother and sister are recovering in Mafraq Hospital, where they are being treated for fractures and other injuries. RCA volunteers, including Emirati and expatriate medical professionals and caregivers, have provided counselling and moral support to the family since their return to Abu Dhabi. "They have given moral and psychological support and have been visiting the hospital," said Mr Deban.

"I want to extend my thanks to them and to all the medical staff at Mafraq Hospital, particularly Dr Khalid al Jabri, who have spared no effort to help us at this difficult time." The RCA team has also been helping an Emirati family from Ras al Khaimah who were in a car accident last weekend that killed the driver's young son. Fatheia al Nzari, the manager of the first aid and community safety department at the RCA in Abu Dhabi, said the team offered a broad range of support to families: from counselling through to financial aid for medical bills, transporting people to hospital for check-ups, providing food and even sending flowers.

"Very often parents involved in road accidents blame themselves for what has happened or are unable to talk about what has happened", she said. "They just need someone to sit with them. "We don't force people to talk, we talk about Islam and try to make them happy slowly. Many people sadly lose family in car accidents." Ms Nzari said one of the main long-term goals of the team, which was set up in 2000, was to educate UAE residents about road safety.

The team was formed after a survey commissioned by the Government into the needs of the community revealed counselling and support was needed for victims of road accidents along with programmes to educate UAE residents, especially schoolchildren, about road safety. There are about 30 volunteers, all from medical backgrounds, working from RCA branches in each emirate, following federal guidelines regarding standards of care and aid-giving.

Teams visit government schools to perform plays and presentations aimed at raising awareness about basic first aid and road safety among children. A workshop for those who train the volunteers is also expected to be held next year. @Email:loatway@thenational.ae