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World Relies on Red Cross to Relieve Suffering

World Relies on Red Cross to Relieve Suffering
American Red Cross helps people in need all over the globe.

The American Red Cross is one of more than 185 Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies throughout the world dedicated to the fundamental principles of Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality.

Working with the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network to meet the needs of the most vulnerable communities, the American Red Cross helps millions of people all around the globe each year. The American Red Cross responds to disasters and helps communities reduce their risk to future disasters, helps reconnect families separated by war, natural disaster or civil unrest, and works to prevent the spread of diseases.

INTERNATIONAL DISASTERS Throughout its history, the American Red Cross has responded to disasters globally. Even as far back as 1896, Clara Barton directed relief operations on behalf of victims of unrest in Turkey and Armenia. Barton was the sole woman and only Red Cross advocate the Turkish government allowed to intervene.

The American Red Cross aided thousands in Japan after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, an earthquake and tsunami that destroyed two of the nation’s largest cities and killed more than 140,000 people. In 2011 history repeated itself when a powerful earthquake and tsunami hit Japan again, destroying entire communities. The American Red Cross has been one of the largest contributors to the recovery from this disaster, supporting the construction of hospitals and a nursing school dedicated to training disaster medical care specialists, the provision of health and social services for the elderly and the provision of household appliances for those living in temporary housing.

In 2004, a massive earthquake off the coast of Indonesia triggered a powerful tsunami that brought death and destruction to more than a dozen countries. The American Red Cross teamed up with organizations already on the ground to deliver food and water and vaccinate people for diseases like polio and measles. The American Red Cross also focused on long-term recovery, including access to safe water, emotional support and training communities to respond to future disasters.

MEASLES INITIATIVE In 2001 the American Red Cross and partner organizations launched an initiative to eliminate the spread of measles around the world. Since then more than one billion children in more than 80 countries have been vaccinated.

Red Cross volunteers utilize mass media, rallies, door-to-door visits and educational entertainment to reach families who do not have access to routine health services helping to educated them about the importance of vaccinations.

RECONNECTING FAMILIES The American Red Cross helps families that have been torn apart by war or disaster, whether recently or as far back as World War II. From the delivery of simple messages like “I am alive” to incredible reunions of Holocaust survivors after more than 60 years, these services have brought comfort to thousands of families.

American Red Cross caseworkers around the US help families locate missing relatives by working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in nearly every country around the world. Once a family member is found, the Red Cross helps them reconnect.

To begin a search, people can contact their local Red Cross - the critical link in your community to the vast network of the global Red Cross network.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.