The Philippine Red Cross has beefed up its rescue and disaster response abilities with the arrival of a military-type ship built in Alaska, USA. The 195-foot vessel was previously used by the US Navy and named M/V Susitna.

The PRC, celebrating its 70th year, will use the ship as an ambulance and for its many disaster response activities around the Philippines. The vessel is sturdy and built to withstand glaciers. 

The Philippine Information Agency said the yet unnamed ship will be utilized as a major transporting vessel in times of disaster, as well as serve as an ambulance during rescue missions. 

It can accommodate 120 people on-board, as well as 20 vehicles. But it is also said to have the capacity to ferry a thousand persons if without cargo.

The acquisition of the ship is, in part, propelled by the jams in transporting aids to needy areas (airports and impassable roads), such in the case of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan and its damages in the Leyte region.

“This ship is the realization of our vision to establish the Philippine Red Cross as the foremost humanitarian organization in the country, capable of delivering timely humanitarian services that save lives and restore the dignity of the most vulnerable,” said Senator Richard Gordon, Red Cross-Philippines Chairman.

The ship’s purchase was made possible due to the support and funding of Red Cross and Red Crescent movements; International Federation of Red and Red Crescent Societies, British Red Cross, German Red Cross, and the Japanese Red Cross.

The ship costs 1.75 million USD. Also, its maintenance will cost a fortune; fuel alone will cost millions of pesos. To address this, Red Cross is appealing for more volunteers, partners, and donors.

The Red Cross ship has yet to be named. Red Cross volunteers can participate in naming the ship through its micro website, #NameThatRedCrossShip. Participants must fill out a form, suggest a name and an explanation for the choice of name.

The name must be female in form and reflect the Red Cross’ fundamental principles. MIMS

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