On World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day 2019, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is celebrating the nearly 14 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers around the world who provide a lifeline to countless communities in need.
In a statement sent to the volunteers, staff and leaders of the world’s 191 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC President, Francesco Rocca, wrote:
“I want to thank all our volunteers and staff who are working around the clock to reach people in need and to alleviate their suffering. You are the last mile of humanitarian aid everywhere in the world.
Volunteers in Mozambique are assisting thousands of families affected by Cyclone Idai and, more recently, by Cyclone Kenneth
“You are the proof that local actors are crucial to saving lives, to preparing communities, to working faster and better in every single crisis in the world.”
This year’s World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day comes as volunteers around the world respond to a range of emergencies and crises. For example, volunteers in Mozambique are assisting thousands of families affected by Cyclone Idai and, more recently, by Cyclone Kenneth.
In Venezuela, Red Cross volunteers are supporting communities, hospitals and health clinics across the country, providing needed medicines, medical supplies, equipment and care. In Afghanistan, Red Crescent volunteers are scaling up support to people who, in a matter of months, have suffered droughts and then floods.
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is held on 8 May – the birthday of the founder of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Henry Dunant. Each year, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies use the day to highlight the unique role of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in their countries.
This year, IFRC has launched a global digital campaign to celebrate World Red and Cross Red Crescent Day. Hundreds of submissions that reflect the diversity and the power of the IFRC network have been received so far from volunteers and staff in Kiribati, Yemen, Venezuela, Mali, Lithuania, and dozens of other countries. These contributions will be showcased across 8 May via an unprecedented Twitter marathon.
This year’s celebration also coincides with the centenary of the founding of IFRC on 5 May 1919 by the American, British, French, Italian and Japanese Red Cross Societies.