News image

Posted by Alex Whitty 18th June 2021 Press Releases

Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins

CHILMARK (18 June 2021) – RE:ACT Disaster Response is bringing to a close its 15-month long Covid-19 emergency response, Op RE:ACT, ending its longest continuous operation to date.

At the beginning of 2020, as the Covid crisis emerged in the UK, humanitarian charity RE:ACT turned its attention from international disaster response to the situation at home, realising it could help to provide valuable support to frontline services and vulnerable communities during the pandemic. RE:ACT’s volunteers are drawn largely from the military veteran community and emergency services, giving them unique skills and experience of operating in fast-paced and volatile situations.

Since Op RE:ACT was launched on 27 March 2020, RE:ACT has been on continuous operation throughout the UK, working in collaboration with emergency services, local councils, government agencies, the military and the voluntary and community sector, to identify and respond to unmet needs.

RE:ACT’s support includes to 61 NHS hospitals, 16 NHS vaccination sites, 20 mortuaries and 21 Covid testing sites, helping with a range of tasks, including strategic planning and coordination, large-scale logistics and rapid volunteer mobilisation to plug critical gaps, often taking on demanding and sensitive tasks.

During the peak of the Covid crisis, RE:ACT volunteers supported temporary mortuaries to help manage excess deaths. RE:ACT teams also supported several hospital Covid Red Zone wards and Critical Care Units to help care for the most seriously ill patients, supporting nursing staff by conducting non-clinical duties, including proning (patient turning to expand the lungs).

Over the course of Op RE:ACT, over 8,500 additional volunteers were recruited to bolster RE:ACT’s response, the majority of them veterans, and a total of 1,268 individual RE:ACT volunteers were deployed, many of them on multiple occasions. On its busiest single operational day, 314 RE:ACT volunteers were deployed – by far the largest deployment in its history.

When Op RE:ACT finishes on Friday 18 June 2021, it will end 449 consecutive days on operation. The HQ will close for a week to give the small team of staff a break and the opportunity to catch up on leave. When RE:ACT HQ reopens, it will enter focus on restarting its in-person training and getting ready to deploy internationally again towards the end of the year. The charity will continue to be ready to deploy in the event of an emergency or crisis.

On ending its Covid-19 emergency response, Ben Lampard, RE:ACT Director of Humanitarian Operations, said:

“RE:ACT has been on the frontline of the UK’s Covid response for 15 months but now the emergency phase is over, the time is right for us to step down. Although the Delta variant has caused a surge in infections, it’s clear the vaccination programme is working and the UK is on the road to recovery. RE:ACT’s role is to provide immediate assistance at the onset of a crisis, so we’re not used to such long deployments, but we’ve sustained our operation for as long as we were needed. It’s taken a significant toll on the team but we’re immensely proud of the support we’ve given. 

“I would like to thank every single one of the RE:ACT team, from our incredible volunteers to members of staff, for all they have given. They have shown remarkable resilience and commitment whilst under extreme pressure. I would also like to thank our donors and operational partners for their generous support. RE:ACT will now enter a period of recovery but we’re ready to step up again for the next emergency or crisis, applying the many lessons we have learned during our Covid response to better serve people in need, both in the UK and overseas.”


For press enquiries please contact [email protected]