The leadership and staff of the regional delegation of the ICRC and International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies joined the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) National Headquarters in New Delhi to commemorate World Red Cross Day on 8 May 2020. IRCS chairman and honourable Union health minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, interacted with Red Cross volunteers and staff, including the leadership of the IRCS state branches — recognising the exemplary role played by all of them in responding to COVID-19 outbreak across the country.
Dr Harsh Vardhan applauded the work carried out by the Red Cross and urged it to continue efforts towards encouraging voluntary blood donations, facilitating social distancing and creating awareness among the masses. The minister flagged off IRCS relief material in the presence of R.K. Jain, IAS (Retd), IRCS Secretary General, Udaya Regmi, Acting Head of Country Cluster, IFRC and Yahia Alibi, Head of Regional Delegation, ICRC. The relief material consists of over 1,00,000 face masks, 4000 surgical gloves, body bags, 100 PPE kits, 2400 bottles of hand sanitisers which will be distributed by the Red Cross volunteers across the country.
With the Indian Red Cross Society completing 100 years in 2020, the efforts put forth by those working with the humanitarian organisation received special recognition. The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything the world has ever witnessed before and the Red Cross staff and volunteers are doing everything they can to reach those who are often left behind. Secretary General, IRCS, RK Jain, said, “I am proud to recognise the work of our volunteers and staff who are on the frontline responding to the needs of communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. I congratulate all of you on this Red Cross Day with the commitment that IRCS will continue to help the people in need for years to come.”
Addressing the staff and volunteers on the occasion, Yahia Alibi, head of the ICRC regional delegation in New Delhi, said, “The contribution of its volunteers and staff in response to the COVID-19 outbreak is what gives us hope for humanity.”
In the past few weeks, the Indian Red Cross Society has scaled up preparedness in time so that impact on the most vulnerable sections could be minimised. More than 20 million people have so far benefitted from its vast activities, including blood services, distribution of cooked food and dry ration, shelter, medicines, PPEs, transportation services, etc. It has been successfully managing uninterrupted supply of blood/blood components through 89 blood banks across the country.
Read more about the Red Cross response to COVID-19: