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Peter Scott is an aid worker who has been working with New Zealand Red Cross on and off for the last 17 years. "It's a family," he says, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
He has had missions in South Sudan, the Horn of Africa, New Zealand, and more recently in the Pacific Islands. He has worked in the Cook Islands, with a population of 20,000 people; Tuvalu, with a population of 10,000 people; but now finds himself in Tonga, with a population of 100,000 people.
Tonga Red Cross is currently working with Peter to develop a disaster management programme. The aim of the programme is to facilitate emergency response training in as many communities as possible. If a disaster hits, people will not only be able to help their community but will also help Red Cross to react and respond as well.
Peter's main goal in Tonga is to leave Tonga Red Cross with a disaster management programme that can continue on without outside support. Sustainability is fundamental to the success of any appropriate development programme.
"You hear it so often, but it's a marathon not a sprint. You've got to go slowly, and you've got to be making sure that everything you do is going to stand the test of time."
In Tonga, Peter and his colleagues are anticipating at least three cyclones to occur during the upcoming cyclone season, which starts in November. His work with the disaster management programme revolves around making sure communities are ready for these disasters. Otherwise known as "the friendly isles," Peter says that his time in Tonga has so far been a wonderful and rewarding experience.
After years of experience, Peter considers himself lucky to be part of a family that does such invaluable work - particularly in areas of conflict or areas prone to natural disasters. Because for the people in these places, "the Red Cross is a lifeline - a real tangible beacon of hope."