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In an emergency every person has a right to access to humanitarian aid

The German Red Cross helps people who are in need as a consequence of disasters, crises and armed conflicts. Whether it is a question of flooding, a famine, waves of refugees or a train crash, the humanitarian aid of the German Red Cross provides worldwide support, in close cooperation with our 189 sister national societies, especially for the most vulnerable.

Good coordination is what makes emergency relief efficient

Earthquakes, waves of refugees, epidemics, floods, storms, violent conflicts—disasters and crises have many faces. The German Red Cross helps all those people who are particularly affected by crises and whose very existence is threatened. To be able to quickly and specifically help people in distress, an efficient coordination structure and close partnership with the local Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies are required.

This is how international collaboration in humanitarian aid functions

The first people to provide aid after a disaster or in an armed conflict are the local people themselves. Immediate aid and emergency relief on the scene can usually commence directly thanks to the 17 million plus volunteers of the worldwide Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. In the case of large-scale disasters the national society calls for additional relief by sending a relief request to the International Federation of the 191 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. In consultation with the society affected, the federation coordinates what relief measures will be performed by which national society. In war zones and conflict regions the International Committee of the Red Cross often takes on the task of managing the relief operations.

The International Federation, in its capacity as the umbrella organisation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is structured in such a way that, in addition to the Secretariat in Geneva, there are offices in all regions of the world so that the red Cross is able to be on the scene more quickly for those in need of shelter and aid in a disaster situation.

Within just a few days the situation is assessed and the needs are determined together with the people affected. On this basis an emergency action plan is drawn up that stipulates who will provide what relief, as well as when and where it will be provided. Such plans are drawn up in accordance with standards. There are also standards for the relief that is provided. The relief supplies must be of a certain quality. This applies to food, tents and articles of daily use as well as to hygiene articles, the supply of drinking water and medical aid.

In addition to the emergency action plan the International Federation also publishes a so-called appeal to provide the materials and funds necessary for the relief operation.

Several national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have joined forces to form a group and keep supplementary relief supplies and emergency response units available at all times for one another. This enables well coordinated and very fast relief.


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