Regional Director for Asia Pacific International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Alexander Matheou yesterday called for solidarity and mutual aid amid increasing extreme weather events caused by climate change and global conflicts.
He also called for governments to be active in peaceful and humanitarian diplomacy during his keynote address at the 19th Southeast Asia Red Cross Red Crescent Leaders meeting at Wafa Hotel and Apartment, which ends today.
The regional director also reflected on the role of the societies across the global community.
“National Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are a network of 192 national societies, the largest humanitarian network in the world.
“They are not non-government organisations (NGOs) nor are they part of the government.
“They are something unique. They are auxiliaries to their states that were founded to support the efforts to keep people safe in times of disaster or conflict or pandemics and during peace time through public health work.
“The job of national societies is to assist the most vulnerable and to do so according to the fundamental humanitarian principles that include neutrality and independence.”
He added, “During a pandemic, based on the awareness that disasters do not respect borders, we need transnational responses to transnational challenges and that we are stronger when we work together.”