On Hunger Day, the Red Cross asks for donations to help the weakest

Ralf El Hage / ICRC
The International Red Cross operates everywhere in Yemen and assists several hospitals in the country by delivering goods.
Image: Ralf El Hage / ICRC

Yemen, suffering from conflict and drought, is in great need of help. The funds collected on Hunger Day help the victims of natural disasters, conflicts and sudden accidents in Finland and abroad. The Hunger Day box collection is held on 14–16 September.

On Hunger Day, you can donate:
  • By texting the word ’SPR’ to the number 16499 (€15 per text message)
  • By calling the number 0600 12220 (€20.12 + local network charge)
  • Through MobilePay and Pivo to the number 1001
  • With a bank transfer to the account FI06 2219 1800 0680 00, reference number 5173

The Finnish Red Cross will send an aid worker to Yemen in October. The aid worker will work as an operating theatre nurse for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

- We will start renovating an empty hospital on the northern border of the country; it will mainly treat people injured in the war. Hospital services are very scarce in the north, especially as there are no local professionals familiar with treating war wounds, says doctor Päivi Laurila, Deputy Head of Health Unit of the ICRC.

The International Red Cross operates everywhere in Yemen and assists several hospitals in the country by delivering goods. The task is vital, because battles are fought at the important commercial port of Hodeida on the shores of the Red Sea, and due to embargoes, the import-dependent Yemen has shortages of water, food and medicine.

- We deliver fluids, food, consumables and medicine, but we also deliver equipment for the artificial kidney unit, because the Yemen Ministry of Public Health is not able to do it, Laurila says.

Last year and this year, the Finnish Red Cross has supported the people in Yemen by a total of EUR 200,000 from its Disaster Relief Fund. The money is directed to the ICRC, which supports treatment centres that have treated more than 61,300 patients. The worst of the cholera epidemic may be over, but it is still estimated that 36,000 - 40,000 people are infected every week. Sewage cannot be treated properly, which is the major cause of the spread of cholera.

- We have worked actively to improve sanitation and water supply by means such as chlorinating contaminated water sources and helping households to purify water.

In Yemen, there are over 20 million people who need help. In addition to cholera, roughly 20 people die every day due to treatable injuries and illnesses.

Readiness to send help for the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma

The Finnish Red Cross is ready to send aid from its Disaster Relief Fund for the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma raging over the Caribbean. There are thousands of volunteers from the local Red Cross branches helping in the area.

- We have already said yes, if the International Red Cross asks us for help with logistics, for example, says Andreas von Weissenberg, Head of International Disaster Management.

After the emergency aid, the long rebuilding phase begins. There are areas where as many as two thirds of the buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged. It is estimated that 1.2 million people have suffered from the devastation wrought by Irma, but the number is expected to rise.

In Finland, the Disaster Relief Fund helps with sudden crises

The funds collected on Hunger Day are used to train emotional support volunteers that are present in crisis situations, such as in Turku at the end of August. Trained volunteers are a great help in major disasters or crises, allowing professionals to focus on their own tasks.

- Emotional support skills can be considered civic skills, like first aid. You have the ability to help yourself, but also others in need of assistance, says Leena Kämäräinen, Head of National Preparedness. 

Approximately 120 emotional support volunteers in total patrolled the Market Square in the Turku city centre for a week, offering discussion and listening support for more than 2,400 people. In addition to patrolling, the emotional support volunteers were on duty on the crisis help line of the City of Turku.

The preparedness group of Finnish Red Cross psychologists also receives funding from the Disaster Relief Fund. There were 16 psychologists working in Turku, supporting the authorities.

Participate in Finland’s largest box collection

The purpose of the Hunger Day Collection is to raise uncommitted funds that make it possible to act quickly in a crisis. Victims of conflicts and natural disasters around the world need help.

- We expect a large number of collectors once more. Last year, Hunger Day inspired more than 15,000 volunteers throughout Finland to participate, says John Ekelund, Director of Fundraising at the Finnish Red Cross.

Anyone can volunteer as a box collector, as no prior experience is required. Everyone can volunteer according to their own schedule; even a half-hour can make a difference. In Finland’s largest cities, volunteering is possible without registering in advance. To find the box distribution point closest to you, please see nalkapaiva.fi/hungerday.