The United States is leading the global response to COVID-19. The United States has pledged more than $20.5 billion in assistance around the world, including more than $115 million in Europe and Eurasia from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State. Our global efforts build upon decades of U.S. investment in life-saving health and humanitarian assistance, and we continue to ensure that the substantial U.S. funding and scientific efforts remain a central and coordinated part of the worldwide effort against this deadly virus.
The U.S. Government is proud to continue its long-term investment in Montenegro, totaling more than $332 million. During the current health crisis, USAID has allocated $300,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, enabling the Red Cross of Montenegro to carry-out various initiatives, including the procurement and distribution of hygiene parcels and the provision of psychosocial support to vulnerable groups, awareness-raising within communities about the risks presented by COVID-19, and the recruitment and training of new volunteers.
This donation builds upon the U.S. Government’s previous support to the Red Cross of Montenegro prior to and during the pandemic. As part of an ongoing regional disaster risk reduction program, USAID, through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is supporting the Red Cross of Montenegro to provide training and equipment for an Emergency Operations Center that has supported Montenegro’s COVID-19 response efforts and will assist during future disaster responses. Previously, USAID has partnered with the Red Cross of Montenegro to provide assistance in coping with natural disasters – flooding in 2011, and fires and a winter emergency in 2012.
Red Cross of Montenegro Secretary General Jelena Dubak stated, “We are very grateful for the support we received from the U.S. Embassy and USAID, and their overall contribution in alleviating the consequences of COVID-19. The current situation requires our intensive work through distribution of relief items but also provision of psychosocial support. Thanks to this support, our local Red Cross branches will be able to provide adequate response to the needs we receive from the field. We are also grateful for the continuous support we receive from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies who support us in accomplishing our humanitarian mission and strengthening our capacities, in regular times but also in emergency situations.”
During the current health crisis, the Emergency Operations Center, which is housed in the Red Cross of Montenegro’s headquarters in Podgorica, supports the organization’s ability to effectively communicate with the various Red Cross branch offices and Disaster Response Teams throughout the country, through the use of a next generation incident control system to facilitate coordination. This real-time communication capability is crucial to the Red Cross’ ability to manage distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Montenegro.
Ambassador Judy Rising Reinke stated, “The United States is proud to partner with the Red Cross of Montenegro during the COVID-19 pandemic, building upon the historic support of the American Red Cross Mission to Montenegro in the wake of WWI. As we cope with the current crisis, I continue to be deeply touched by the sacrifice and community spirit we continue to witness, and which is exemplified by the Red Cross volunteers. This solidarity reminds us that when we work together, we can overcome tremendous obstacles.”