St John Emergency Relief Fund
The St John Emergency Relief Fund was established after a suggestion from St John Scotland was made to support those in need following the tsunami disaster. It was suggested that rapid, coordinated, financial help from the broader St John family should be put in place to help in the case of emergencies.
This suggestion was agreed by the Grand Council in 2009, and £100,000 was earmarked, with all Priories donating in relation to the Order membership, similar to contributions made to the budget of St John International.
The criteria for drawing on the fund are intentionally broad, so as to allow its rapid and flexible use.
An emergency could include a natural disaster, such as a fire, flood, earthquake, drought, famine, or human conflict, terrorism, civil unrest, or outbreak of disease. Funds can be drawn by decision of a small committee and are replenished as necessary.
In 2009, £20,000 was designated for St John Zimbabwe as further help with their work during the outbreak of cholera during that year.
In 2011, £33,000 was allocated to St John Kenya to enable them to deliver famine relief in the east of their country, following discussions with the World Health Organisation. Specific objectives including providing food for 15,000 people and medical treatment to 1,300 adults and children within three months.
A third donation of £6,500 was made to St John Kenya in January of 2013 after fighting in the Tana River Delta meant the country’s health infrastructure had broken down. St John Kenya is working in partnership with the Red Cross, and they aim to reach the most vulnerable women and children through the community health workers.
Before this fund was established, St John Scotland had given directly to St John Sri Lanka following the tsunami, to St John Kenya at a time of political unrest, and to St John Zimbabwe soon after the outbreak of the cholera epidemic.