History of Red Cross Organization in 20th and 21st Century

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Table of Contents

  • What is the Red Cross?
  • During the Wars
  • After the Wars
  • 21st Century

What is the Red Cross?

The Red Cross is an organization dedicated to saving people’s lives or bettering the living conditions for those who are in need all around the world. Each country has its own Red Cross; for example, the UK’s Red Cross is known as Red Cross Britain or for Germany, Red Cross Germany.

During the Wars

The Red Cross is Worldwide but was united during the aftermath of WW1 in Europe. The aid they provided for soldiers and civilians caught the attention of Europe, and soon they had thousands of volunteers. The Red Cross also plays a crucial part during WW2, aiding war-stricken cities and helping the injured. Amid WW2, Canadians donated millions and countless hours of volunteer labour, the creation of comforts and additional medical supplies, and the packing of food parcels for Prisoners of War. Overseas headquarters were founded in London where the same type of visits to recovering service members, tracking missing soldiers, and records of Prisoners of War were supported.

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One new advancement was the creation of the Canadian Red Cross, a party of uniformed, trained women volunteers ready for action in case of a dire situation; hundreds served with the Red Cross overseas in Europe, while others accompanied war brides across the ocean after the war. Another development was the blood program. Across Canada, the Red Cross collected blood for use in a newly discovered treatment, called blood transfusion, in military hospitals overseas. Canadians responded to this new opportunity well and helped save the lives of the sick and wounded.

After the Wars

At the end of WWII, the Canadian Red Cross moved quickly back into public health work. Older initiatives like the outpost hospitals, First Aid, disaster relief etc. and services to veterans in the hospital that existed throughout the war had carried on to the new post-war world. The Canadian Red Cross helped with local and provincial Red Cross work such as the knitting of comforts and new hospital supplies also carried into the new era eventually renamed to ‘Creations,’ its products were aimed toward civilians in Canada or global relief plans.

21st Century

As the 21st century began, the Red Cross continued its outstanding work in the areas of disaster relief, First Aid and water safety, public health, and reuniting lost family members. Building on its strengths as it progressed into the future, the Red Cross was especially active in disaster aid. Red Cross helped thousands of people suffering from disasters around the globe. The 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean provoked Canadians to respond more abundantly than ever before, donating an unprecedented $360 million to the Red Cross for relief and recovery efforts. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Canadian Red Cross volunteers travelled south to assist the American Red Cross as they ran 270 shelters and gave some 500 thousand meals every day along the US Gulf Coast. This decade has brought an endless string of disasters with a widespread impact.

The Canadian Red Cross addressed new challenges seemingly every day, both in Canada and around the world. During these years, the world witnessed a wave of global migration, one larger than any other in history. With so many defenceless people seeking safety, the globe faced some of the most notable humanitarian difficulties of the 21st century. The two leading causes of this sudden surge of migration were war-stricken areas and political conflict, climate change and natural disasters. Some of the most significant destructions emerged from the Syria Crisis and East Africa’s extensive drought and inevitably led to a food crisis. The Red Cross continues its efforts to protect its home country and those around them to better the future of humanity.

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