Myanmar celebrates World Red Cross Day welcomes theme “Everywhere for everyone”

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President U Htin Kyaw has warned that Myanmar has a high fatality rate from disasters compared to other Southeast Asian nations, calling for the concerted efforts by the government, the people civil society organizations, and humanitarian organizations to help those who are in need of help.

Speaking at the ceremony to celebrate of the World Red Cross Day in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, the President said over 12 million people in Myanmar were affected with nearly 140,000 fatalities. Startlingly, with 1.13 per cent fatality, Myanmar has a high fatality rate from disasters compared to other Southeast Asian nations.

Also with increased occurrences of disasters, the Myanmar Red Cross Society needs to redouble its efforts in providing first aid, in disaster preparedness, responses and in disaster risk reduction activities, he added. “We are aware that the Myanmar Red Cross Society alone cannot meet the humanitarian needs of the people in time of natural calamities or disasters. Concerted efforts have to be rendered by the government, people, civil society organizations, and humanitarian organizations to help those who are in need,” said the President.

Moreover, the Myanmar Red Cross Society can help trained communities to be disaster resilient and the government, on its part, will be providing necessary assistance through its line ministries.

He also expressed his delight to see various level Red Cross societies in states and regions  established to garner more active participation of youths in the humanitarian work of the Myanmar Red Cross Society.

In his speech, the President also pay tribute to those dedicated brave Red Cross Volunteers, who had sacrificed their lives, limbs and health to help save others in their time of need.

Myanmar celebrates the World Red Cross Day every year, on 8th May, the anniversary of the birth of Henry Dunant who was the founding father of the International Committee of the Red Cross and its movements, to honour all the Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers around the world.

The country welcomes and celebrates the theme “Everywhere for everyone”.

“It truly represents the work and aspiration of the Myanmar Red Cross Society that always stands ready to be there for the people, wherever and whoever needs its assistance,” he added.

Since its inception from the battlefield of Solferino in 1859, the Red Cross has been actively carrying out humanitarian work all over the world for over 150 years.

Today, there are over 190 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies providing humanitarian assistances with 17 million volunteers to 160 million people around the world. He said he was proud to learn that the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS), with its trained 44,000 Red Cross volunteers, was also actively providing humanitarian assistances to an average of 500,000 people in Myanmar every year. Recognizing the important role the Myanmar Red Cross Society plays in the field of humanitarian work, the Government has been continuously supporting its work including amendment of the 1949 Act and enactment of the new Myanmar Red Cross Society Law in August 2015, said the President.

The new law is enacted to ensure that the work of the Myanmar Red Cross Society remains relevant with today’s changing time and realities was well as to enable it to thrive to be a people centered and community-based organization that can carry out its humanitarian services. It is therefore imperative that the humanitarian work of the Myanmar Red Cross Society is in line with the national policies and plans for efficient and effective delivery of humanitarian services.

According to the 2016 International Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation’s World Disaster Report, over 1900 million people were affected globally by various disasters in the last decade (2006-2015) with nearly 700,000 fatalities. Seventy-nine per cent of those disasters took place in the Asian region.

In his concluding remarks, the President urged the Myanmar Red Cross Society to maintain the momentum of good work and success that it has achieved to continue striving for improvement and betterment to help the people and to thrive as a people -centered humanitarian organization.

Following his speech, President U Htin Kyaw presented an honorary award to Prof Dr Thar Hla Shwe, who carried out reforms for the Myanmar Red Cross Society in the 11-year period from 2006 to 2016.