World Cup in Germany - Red Cross prepared for the task of a lifetime

تم النشر: 29 يونيو 2006 0:00 CET

Julius Kohl

The German Red Cross (GRC) has undertaken the largest operation in its history, with the mobilization of thousands of staff and personnel, to attend to medical emergencies in the stadiums and at other sites where fans congregate to watch the 2006 World Cup Football matches.

For four weeks during June and July, Germany‘s biggest relief organisation has mobilized all of its forces, including 460 emergency doctors, 1033 paramedics, 970 emergency medical technicians, 2943 advanced first-aiders, and 77 administrative staff, who are working in and around the twelve FIFA World Cup 2006 stadiums in Germany.

All over the country, some 35.000 emergency staff of the German Red Cross will be on duty for more than 400.000 operating hours.

Uncounted numbers of Red Cross volunteers will spend their spare time, weekends and holidays on duty, to ensure that football fans from all over the world can feel comfortable and at home in Germany.

In addition, a huge technical contingent is on standby. For example, 48 “Behandlungsplätze” (mobile medical units), positioned near the stadiums are on call for emergency cases. These units can provide immediate help to more people than a midsize regional hospital.

Joachim Mueller, Chief of the Joint Command and Control Centre of the GRC, is certain that this enormous outpouring of energy and resources will pay off.

“The World Cup is an emotion-charged event lasting several weeks, during which millions of people move around at different events“, says Mueller. “Besides our operations inside the stadiums, we also have to meet the more complex requirements of the public viewing events and the Fan-Feste.“

The Control Centre of the GRC in Berlin is the smallest part of an administrational mega-operation. Here 35 specialists from all fields are working in shifts around the clock. They supervise, coordinate and administer the operation, with support from 130 regional and local staff, who are responsible for implementation at the local level.

Even before the World Cup, the German Red Cross took part in all disaster control exercises and this experience was immediately included in the measures planned for the World Cup operation.

“Since 2003 the GRC has been preparing for this once in a lifetime task“, Mueller says.

“We had to adjust our resources and their availability and coordinate our different task forces. I’m convinced that we have used our preparation time very effectively.”

The operation is running smoothly even though every day brings new surprises. During the next couple of weeks the GRC is expecting visitors from its sister Red Cross Societies in Austria and South Africa.

The colleagues want to benefit from the GRC experience since Austria will host the European Football Championship in 2008, and South Africa the World Cup in 2010.