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The German Red Cross

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, with its 187 National Societies, is the world's largest humanitarian network. The German Red Cross is part of this universal community, which started 150 years ago to deliver comprehensive aid to people affected by conflict, disaster, sanitary emergencies, or social hardship, guided solely by their needs. Around four million volunteers and members support the Red Cross in Germany alone.

The German Red Cross has a federative structure. It consists of a national entity and 19 regional branches with a membership of over 420 district branches as well as a national Federation of Nurses' Associations with 34 nurses' associations.

Driven by the spirit of humanity, the Red Cross seeks to ensure life, health, well-being, protection, peaceful cohabitation and dignity for all human beings. It maintains its neutrality at all times, irrespective of political, racial, religious or ideological controversy. The German Red Cross proceeds from the principle that aid should empower people to help themselves.

As a National Red Cross Society and central voluntary welfare association, the German Red Cross performs a broad range of tasks on the national level. These include emergency medical services, civil protection and disaster preparedness, tracing and family reunification, various health services, and the blood programme, among others. The German Red Cross is moreover involved in assisting elderly people and in projects for children, youth and families.

The German Red Cross further contributes to humanitarian aid worldwide, both in acute emergencies and in long-term development cooperation, currently working in some 50 countries of Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. The main focus of its international aid projects is on disaster relief, disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction, in order to boost the resilience of vulnerable communities against natural disasters.

Many international projects of the German Red Cross help vulnerable communities improve their living conditions. The provision of safe drinking water, whether treated or not, and sanitation, as well as basic health care and health education are key areas of international action in this context. Within its programme for people living with HIV or AIDS, the German Red Cross has, for many years, been running various activities to help such people and their families build a future for themselves and find a way to escape poverty.

The German Red Cross cooperates with governmental, nongovernmental or transgovernmental institutions and organisations able to assist in fulfilling the tasks and objectives it has chooses to pursue. In doing so, the GRC always takes care to maintain its independence.

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