We pause today to pay tribute to those who engaged in a valiant battle 70 years ago that changed the trajectory of global relationships. We now have allies and peace between countries who were enemies at war those many years ago. Today, as the threat of armed conflict feels ever present, I hope the fact that enemies can become friends will compel us to always exhaust all efforts to find diplomatic solutions to global tensions about resources and territory.
Our colleagues with the Ukrainian Red Cross are poised to continue the lifesaving work of the Red Cross in their country. The situation in the Ukraine remains volatile; however, the Ukrainian Red Cross, committed to our fundamental principles, is providing assistance to all those who are in need.
The Ukrainian Red Cross (URCS) emergency response teams have been working around the clock for months, providing first aid to the wounded from both sides and transporting them to hospital. In the most intense three days, more than 660 people – protesters and members of the security forces – received first aid from the URCS. Six Red Cross volunteers were injured, one of them was shot and taken to hospital, where he underwent an operation but his life is not at risk.
Response teams from the Red Cross remain on duty and are ready to respond where needed. At the end of last week the URCS, in cooperation with the ICRC, had a meeting with all regional branches to discuss the situation in the regions and how to strengthen preparedness. This short video shows the Ukrainian Red Cross in action.
The skies are gray. There is a chill in the air. The slushy streets are deserted. Yet, the work of the Red Cross is not on hiatus.
I had a lunch meeting with a prospective donor today. When I called her in her office this morning to confirm, she said, “other people have cancelled plans for today, but I knew you would be there . . . this is a Red Cross kind of day.” She’s right. We raise money, secure resources and train for days like today: days that are ripe with potential for home fires or extended power outages. Our paid staff and volunteers are poised to assist those who need Red Cross services today. Hopefully, there will be minimal need for our services.
We tirelessly promote a message of year round emergency preparedness for homes and businesses. I hope that our campaign has resonated with the citizens of this region and folks have the supplies that they need to stay safe and warm until the snow stops falling and the ice melts.
A day without personal or natural disasters . . . that’s a Red Cross kind of day too.