International Aid

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Refugees from Russia lined up at one of the American Red Cross feeding stations, 1919, Library of Congress, American National Red Cross Collection, LC-DIG-anrc-12901

Since Clara Barton returned from Europe, international aid has remained one of the American Red Cross’ major tenets. Nearly 200 countries and 185 million people have benefited from its preventative and responsive programs. In efforts to prevent disease and prepare families and individuals for natural disasters, two of the American Red Cross’ largest international prevention programs provide essential information and supplies. Measles vaccinations are solicited by volunteers in countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia, and an estimated two billion children have received vaccinations since 2001. In addition, the Red Cross promotes hygiene and safe sanitation and distributes supplies such as water purification tablets and soap. Moreover, the Red Cross educates communities on how to remain safe and create emergency shelters during natural disasters.

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Chinese schoolchildren with Red Cross representatives, 1919, Library of Congress, American National Red Cross Collection, LC-DIG-anrc-04399

In 1921, the Marylander & Herald reported the headlines “Red Cross Rescued 600,000 from Death” and “Young America Sends Vast Relief to Needy Abroad.” The first story outlined the Red Cross’ donation of $1.2 million dollars to China to assist five provinces fighting famine. The second story featured the efforts of the Junior Red Cross, which raised money for the National Children’s Foundation to support 237,000 European children, including Russian refugees in Constantinople, in need of food and medicine.

Today, the Red Cross’ expansive international efforts also help migrant and refugee families who have been impacted or separated by borders, conflict, or natural disaster. Not only does the organization provide support in locating family members, it also delivers essential supplies such as food, water, clothing, medicine, and baby supplies.

International Aid