May 8 – World of The Red Crescent and The Red Cross Day – Making a Difference in People’s Lives [Archives:2001/20/Health]

May 14 2001

Prepared by Ismael Al-Ghabiri
Yemen Times
The 8th of May is the obscure World Red Crescent and Red Cross Day, and the Year 2001 has been declared International Year of volunteers by United Nations. On this occasion the ICRC and YRCS organized a celebration on 9 May, 2001.
A photo exhibition opened on this occasion shed light on the role of volunteers for promotion of the movement’s fundamental principles and humanitarian values.

Message to Red Crescent and Red Cross Volunteers
Why is it called the World Red Crescent and Red Cross Day? It could just as well be called Volunteer’s Day as volunteers mean so very much for the foundation of our Movement. The day is chosen to pay tribute to Henry Dunant coinciding with his his birthday. Henry Dunant suggested the formation of “relief societies for the purpose of caring for the wounded in wartime by zealous, devoted and thoroughly qualified volunteers”. Both the Geneva Conventions and the Statures of the Movement subsequently highlighted the importance of these volunteer relief Societies (“the foundation of the Movement”), toady’s National Societies.
Humanitarian motivation is, of course, not unique to you, but you, the volunteers can express quite forcefully this “Power of Humanity” as embodied in the Red Crescent and Red Cross:
-by the drive of your commitment. The time you give to help, illustrates our Movement’s ideal to rely first on its own resources in order to take action’
-through your free choice in serving and adhering to the Movement’s founding mission. You ensure independence of action in favor of the victims of conflict or disaster, and those who are most vulnerable;
-by coming from all countries of the world, from different cultures, by responding to various and changing needs, you demonstrate the universal scope of humanitarian concern.
In this connection, many celebrations are to be held in 2001, two of which are of particular interest to us and to you:
-The United Nations-declared International Year of Volunteers, of which you are the living embodiment;
– The commemoration of the award of the first Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Dunant and Frederic Passy 100 years ago, for their contribution to the work of peace.
Though many of you are familiar with the experience of war-related suffering and carry out charitable services to help victims of armed conflicts, you are imbued with a spirit of peace. At Solferino, Henry Dunant, so to say the first volunteer in our Movement, was also imbued with a spirit of peace, and mobilized this Power of Humanity that you embody today.
Many of you have also travelled to foreign countries providing assistance to the ever growing number of disaster victims worldwide, despite in many cases, your own and your families’ suffering. It is at such moments of catastrophe that your spirit of self-sacrifice shines brightest.
The work of tens of million of Red Crescent and Red Cross volunteers who respond to human suffering in communities around the world has been glorious. Every year, Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies bring assistance to more than 200 million vulnerable people.
To mark 2001 as the United Nations International Year of Volunteers, the Movement calls on governments to improve the legal, fiscal and political base for volunteering. The value of volunteers’ work must be recognized and their working conditions improved. Volunteers make a real difference in people’s lives because they act at the local level and they come from the communities in which they work. They know the culture, they know the language, they are there when disaster strikes and are best placed to implement long-term development or rehabilitation programs.

The Role of Yemen Red Crescent in Society:
Countering and managing disasters is one of the priorities of the Yemeni Red Crescent Society which puts great emphasis on training its staff to carry on field surveys following disasters, classify victims, take part in the first aid campaigns, evaluate the urgent material and assistance needed for victims, searching for the lost victims, etc. The Society has a qualified and experienced staff to deal with events including earthquakes, floods, and wars that have happened in our country. Such events have provided them with great abilities to conduct and manage camps, provide aid to victims, etc.

Despite the lack of adequate resources the Society has a strategic storage of water tanks, transportation means, mobile clinics and laboratories to face disasters. It has more than 1500 volunteers and can make available more than 6000 others to take part in first aid campaigns whenever needed.
The Society is ambitions to make the slogan “A Reliever in Each Family” a fact. Intensive training courses are held for school and university students in all the organization’s branches in order to achieve this aim. As for drivers, priority is given to truck and taxi drivers. It also organizes activities in prisons where it takes care of the psychological, health and social conditions of prisoners.

Fighting Diseases
To control the spread of diseases volunteers are trained on segregating the sick, looking after them, immunizing others, guiding people in taking preventive measures and so on. There are 10 health centers, 5 health units, 2 mobile clinics and 2 laboratories which help render the Red Crescent services to the public.