By Ly Nguyen, IFRC 

The President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Mr. Tadateru Konoé, has congratulated the Viet Nam Red Cross Society for its 70 years of humanitarian service during a special ceremony in Hanoi on Saturday 19 November.

The ceremony was attended by some 500 guests including State leadership and government representatives, Viet Nam Red Cross representatives from 63 chapters and branches and partners from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, including representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Red Cross Society of China, Cambodian Red Cross, Lao Red Cross and Singapore Red Cross as well as partner National Societies present in the country.

During his Guest of Honour speech, Mr. Konoé said: “Climate change has brought an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters and hazards. The Viet Nam Red Cross pioneered in supporting coastal communities to mitigate impacts of rising sea levels through the Mangrove Plantation Programme – now seen as a successful model of community-based disaster preparedness for many Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world.”

“Urbanization and economic development has created new wealth, but has also left some people in the margins. Once again, the Viet Nam Red Cross has been at the forefront of the response to these challenges through its innovative support such as its Cow Bank Programme,” he added.

During his visit, Mr. Konoé also met with the President of the Viet Nam Red Cross and the Deputy Prime Minister of the country, Trinh Dinh Dung, to discuss the crucial role played by Red Cross staff and volunteers in providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities and building community resilience in the country.

Building upon all the great achievements made by the National Society during the past 70 years, the Deputy Prime Minister called upon IFRC to provide continued support and assistance for the National Society’s capacity building in common pursuit of making the Viet Nam Red Cross Society’s auxiliary role even stronger and more sustainable.

Following the severe floods that affected provinces in central Viet Nam in October and November, IFRC has launched a 1.4 million Swiss franc emergency appeal to support the Viet Nam Red Cross in delivering emergency assistance to more than 30,000 people. The appeal will enable the National Society to carry out a range of activities over the coming nine months, including health and hygiene promotion; support for the building of flood-resistant houses; provision of boats for local people to evacuate during monsoon season, and replenishment of the Viet Nam Red Cross emergency relief stocks for future responses.

The Viet Nam Red Cross Society was founded on November 23, 1946, by the late President Ho Chi Minh, the National Society’s first Honorary President. Annually, the total value of its activities in disaster preparedness and response, health care, blood donation and social work amounts to 2,800 billion Vietnamese Dong (125,468,000 Swiss francs/US dollars). The IFRC supports the Viet Nam Red Cross in various long-term development programmes as well as in emergency response operations.

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