There are 189 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world, with more currently being formed. This unique network forms the backbone of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Each National Society is made up of volunteers and staff, who provide a wide variety of services, ranging from disaster relief and assistance for the victims of war, to first aid training and restoring family links.
National Societies support the public authorities in their own countries as independent auxiliaries to the government in the humanitarian field. Their local knowledge and expertise, access to communities, and infrastructure enable the Movement to get the right kind of help where it's needed, fast.
National Society volunteers are often the first on the scene when a disaster strikes and remain active within affected communities long after everyone else has come and gone.
This unparalleled network of community-based volunteers and staff also plays a vital role in ensuring that care, prevention and preparedness programmes are carried out on a day-to-day basis – from visiting chronically-ill HIV patients in Africa to organizing early warning drills in hurricane-prone areas of the Americas. This local presence and community-based approach, coupled with the Movement's global outreach, resources and know-how, give the Red Cross and Red Crescent a distinct advantage when it comes to dealing with today's complex humanitarian challenges.
The promotion of humanitarian values is an intrinsic part of all Red Cross and Red Crescent activities. The National Societies conduct campaigns and speak on behalf of vulnerable people in their own countries. They also promote awareness of international humanitarian law and advocate internationally through the Federation and with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
A list of all National Societies, their contact people and addresses, and their emails and web sites (where available) can be found in the Directory section of this web site.
National Society key facts
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The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement at a glance (PDF document, 784 Kb, 8 pages)
Arabic version (PDF document 445 Kb, 2 pages)