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Greater role eyed for Red Cross Society

By Shan Juan | China Daily | Updated: 2014-08-25 07:00

As a member of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the Red Cross Society of China is expected to play an even greater role in world humanitarian and development services, a senior IFRC official said.

Elhadj As Sy, secretary-general of the IFRC, made the remarks on the sidelines of the Third Sino-African Humanitarian Cooperation Seminar in Beijing.

"Both China and Africa have become synonymous with growth and opportunity. It's therefore fitting that the humanitarian leaders of these regions collaborate on how to leverage synergies and the world's interest to ensure that the Red Cross and Red Crescent remains the leader in humanitarian and development services in the eyes of governments, domestic audiences and people of influence across the globe," he said.

Sy spoke highly of the Chinese group's contribution to international humanitarian efforts, citing the forum underway as an example, as well as the election of Zhao Baige, the Red Cross Society of China's executive vice-president, to the office of vice-president of the international federation.

The federation will continue to support the RCSC to help it play an ever-greater role in humanitarian efforts, he added.

The Red Cross has always served as a humanitarian agency for the government, recently illustrated by its response to the Ludian earthquake that occurred on Aug 3, he said.

The Chinese society had received donations worth more than 250 million yuan ($40.7 million) for quake relief as of last week.

"We salute the Red Cross Society of China for the response. The amount of donations they raised is a sign of people's trust," he said.

For the Red Cross network, "our image and what we deliver is the only tool for self-promotion and resource mobilization", he said.

"Facing crises, we need to show solutions to get resources."

The Asia-Pacific region is prone to natural hazards; thus emergency preparedness is important, Sy said.

Emergency response teams need to be trained in advance and "we can deploy them when needed. They are not there only to intervene but also to help build others' capacity for emergency responses.

"A natural hazard won't necessarily turn into a disaster if adequate preparations have been made and there is a capacity to respond," he said.

(China Daily 08/25/2014 page3)

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