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President hails Red Cross for ‘invaluable’ work

Prez meets officer Trainees of the Indian Economic Service of 2014 (II) Batch

New Delhi : President Pranab Mukherjee today complimented the Red Cross for its “invaluable” work during disasters and in crisis management especially when so-called ‘man-made disasters’ are the order of the day.

The work of the Red Cross in risk reduction, capacity building, humanitarian logistics, development work, disaster and crisis management has been invaluable in providing relief and succour across the world, Mukherjee said while presiding over the ceremonial session of the Annual General Meeting of Indian Red Cross Society and St John Ambulance (India).

Noting that migration – whether internal or across borders is always a cause of concern, he said in such situations the need is not only of material relief and involvement of well-trained volunteers but also for hands-on support by society at large delivered in a sensitive and humane manner.

The President also presented awards for the best performing branches and distinguished Red Cross and St John volunteers and workers and said that the awards are a fitting recognition of the outstanding work of individuals and organisations in relief and rescue, promoting health, providing care to the vulnerable and advancing these objectives by educating communities.

He stressed the vast country needs more numbers – more skilled human resources – not only for times of trouble but also when normalcy prevails – to help bring our government’s social programmes within reach of the target communities.

He lauded the exercise made by the Indian Red Cross Society to join the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” programme and the “Swachh Bharat” initiative.

“In our country, especially, where economic, educational and social diversities often present difficulties in implementation of national developmental programmes, the involvement of volunteers and voluntary organisations in addressing these challenges is very helpful indeed,” he said.

The President also encouraged involvement of the younger generations in programmes for small children and the aged and said with greater numbers of students joining the Indian Red Cross and the St John Ambulance, a key aspect of their overall education will be achieved.

“Capacity development at school level should inculcate, at a tender age, the values of selfless service to society; these values should make our children sensitive and alert to social ills so that they can focus on these in a positive way and contribute to the development of innovative solutions,” the President said.

Mukherjee commended the role of blood banks operated by the Red Cross and said “a drop from you voluntarily can convert the drop into an ocean and if we have this approach there will be no dearth for creating an ocean of kindness, sympathy and understanding for the more vulnerable sections of the society”.

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