Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has called for increased support and collaboration for humanitarian aid so as to ensure that emergencies are better managed and members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other first responders play their roles in public emergencies.
The governor said this in commemoration of the World Red Cross Day/World Red Crescent Day, marked every May 8, across the world by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The governor hailed the Nigerian Red Cross Society for its commitment to humanitarian ideals, and the unwavering support for people in emergencies, crisis and disasters, noting, “the theme for this year’s celebration, Memorable Smiles From Across the World, speaks to the impact of the society in ensuring that the people are not left unattended to in times of crisis, but that succor, which the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies bring, helps to cushion the effect of crisis and ultimately assures happiness for the rescued.”
The governor noted that the state government has committed to a number of projects that would facilitate the work of the Red Cross in the state, some of which include the construction of 500 primary healthcare centres, refurbishing of the State Fire Service, among others.
Obaseki also called on well-meaning Edo people to support activities of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent to deepen the impact of their work, expand the scope of their intervention and ensure that victims of emergencies are assured of succor. “Much as they need support, there is also the need for collaboration among first responders, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), the public sector and others to ensure services are ready and available to those who need them,” he added.
According to the Nigerian Red Cross Society, “In 1859 Henry Dunant, A Swiss businessman traveling in Italy, witnessed the grim aftermath of the battle of Solferino. On his return to Geneva, he wrote an account of what he had seen, A Memory of Solferino, in which he put forward two proposals aimed at improving assistance for war victims: to set up in peacetime, in every country, groups of volunteers ready to take care of casualties in wartime and to get countries to agree to the idea of protecting aid workers and the wounded on the battlefield
“A diplomatic conference that met in Geneva in August 1864 adopted a red cross on a white background, the colours of the Swiss flag in reverse. However, during the 1876-1878 war between Russia and Turkey, the Ottoman Empire declared that it would use a red crescent instead of a red cross as its emblem, although it agreed to respect the red cross used by the other side,” the society said.