Whether it's an earthquake in Indonesia, a cyclone in Mozambique or a tornado in Kansas, the Red Cross is there -- helping the vulnerable, sheltering the displaced and comforting the needy. When thousands of lives are touched by tragedy, millions are moved to help with their time and money. The American Red Cross, as part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, mobilizes the generosity of people in America to help the lives of those that need assistance most.
In recognition of its continued efforts, the American Red Cross joins Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the world and more than 750 chapters in the United States in celebrating World Red Cross Red Crescent Day on May 8. World Red Cross Red Crescent Day honors the efforts of Red Cross workers and volunteers worldwide who work tirelessly to alleviate human suffering.
May 8 marks the birth of Henry Dunant, the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Moved by the atrocities he witnessed during the Battle of Solferino in 1859, Dunant began advocating for the humane treatment of the sick and wounded during wartime. He was later honored by being one of the first recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement comprises more than 97 million members and volunteers -- the world's largest humanitarian network -- and assists more than 233 million people worldwide each year. Although each national society has its unique qualities, each is united by common fundamental principles and the goal of improving the lives of those in need.
"We know from long experience in dealing with crises that no single government or organization alone can tackle the rising challenges posed by catastrophes, conflicts, health emergencies, poverty and migration," said the president of the International Federation, Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro, and the president of the ICRC, Jakob Kellenberger, in a joint statement.
"It will take solid coordination and better partnerships at all levels, including governments, donors, humanitarian agencies, the private sector and individuals, in order to reduce the impact of wars, disasters and disease, while making vulnerable communities stronger and safer," they added.
Over the past year, volunteers from the American Red Cross responded to hundreds of disasters in local communities and around the world. Whether providing shelter after a house fire, landslide, tornado or hurricane; or immunizing millions against measles and providing nets to prevent malaria, the American Red Cross strives to work with our partner organizations to help prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters both natural and man-made.
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day serves as an annual reminder of the lasting work and commitment of the Red Cross family. Through the motivation and action of its volunteers and donors, the American Red Cross and its partners continue to help those in need -- whether around the corner or across the world.