IFRC Secretary General commends Finnish Red CrossIFRC Secretary General commends Finnish Red Cross migration response
22-10-2015 PRESS RELEASE
Geneva / Helsinki. The Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has lauded the response of the Finnish Red Cross to the growing migration crisis in the country.
Speaking at the end of a two day visit to Helsinki, IFRC Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy, praised the Red Cross for the support it is providing to the hundreds of vulnerable people who are arriving in Finland each day.
"The response that I saw was incredibly efficient and well organized,” said Mr Sy. "More importantly, it reflected a deep commitment to ensuring that people are treated with compassion and dignity.”
According to Finnish authorities, more than 20,000 people have already arrived in Finland this year. A total of between 30,000 and 35,000 are expected by the end of 2015, more than four times the recent annual average. The Finnish Red Cross is responsible for 75 per cent of the humanitarian response in the country and is currently operating 76 reception centres and emergency shelters, housing approximately 13,000 people.
"We have been building our capacities for years and were therefore able to quickly set up new centres and mobilize resources,” said Kristiina Kumpula, the Secretary General of the Finnish Red Cross. "But this response could not have been possible without our dedicated staff and volunteers.”
Thousands of Finnish citizens have stepped forward to offer their support, with close to 22,000 staff and volunteers having been involved so far.
Mr Sy also met with the Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development as well as other senior Government figures to discuss the growing humanitarian emergency.
He also met with people staying at a newly-established reception centre in the city of Vantaa. "I met with people who have travelled thousands of kilometres to escape conflict and violence, searching for safety, opportunity and dignity. This crisis is testing our common humanity. I applaud the Finnish Red Cross, and the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies across Europe for rising to this test.”
European Red Cross and Red Crescent societies – supported by more than 25,000 volunteers – have been delivering assistance to hundreds of thousands of people on the move. In support of these efforts, the IFRC has launched six country-specific emergency appeals totalling over 70 million Swiss francs to support humanitarian responses in Turkey, Italy, Greece, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary.
To learn more about the IFRC migration response, and to add your voice to the Red Cross and Red Crescent call for the rights and dignity of vulnerable migrants to be respected, visit www.ifrc.org/protecthumanity
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