More than 5,000 delegates gathered at a ceremony in Hanoi on May 5 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement in the world.

The ceremony, which was held by the central committee of the Vietnam Red Cross, was themed “150 years: Action for humanity.”

Addressing the gathering, Jacques Stroun, Head of the Bangkok Regional Delegation of the International Red Cross, stressed that after 150 years, the aforementioned movement has become the biggest humanitarian network in the world.

Millions of activists working for the movement have made their contributions to helping vulnerable people worldwide, he said. Their activities and contributions have been granted the Nobel Peace Prize for three times.

According to the official, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which was set up in 1919, now has 188 members, covering all corners of the world.

Present in Vietnam since the war time, the International Red Cross then carried out many activities to help war victims, such as providing health care equipment and medicine and fresh water. Now, in the peace time, the organisation, together with Red Cross societies of many countries, are offering assistance and support for the Vietnam Red Cross and the Vietnamese people through programmes relating to the fields of health care, disaster prevention and relief, capacity enhancing and organisational development.

Every year, the Vietnam Red Cross receives and implements around 30 international projects worth about 800 billion VND. In 2009 only, Red Cross and Red Crescent societies worldwide raised nearly 11 million USD for people in the central and Highlands provinces, who suffered great losses caused by natural disasters.

President of the Vietnam Red Cross Nguyen Hai Duong said his organisation has worked actively in seven sectors including urgent relief and humanitarian assistance, health care and first aid emergency aid.

In the 2007-2012 period, the organisation raised more than 180 billion VND (around 9 million USD) to help natural disaster victims in many countries, including Japan, he added.

On the occasion, the central committee of the Vietnam Red Cross launched a campaign themed “Red Blood Summer 2013”. At the same time, the organisation is calling for donations to the project “Cow Bank” targeting poor people.-VNA