Red Cross aid activities on Finland’s border with Russia stopping – the organisation is ready to provide support again in the future

Photo: Mirva Helenius / Suomen Punainen Risti

The Finnish Red Cross’s aid activities at the Raja-Jooseppi border crossing are stopping on 30 November 2023. However, the Red Cross is ready to help people arriving at Finland’s eastern border with their basic needs again in the future. Preparing for various exceptional situations is part of the Red Cross’s basic preparedness activities.

Volunteers from the Red Cross’s Lapland district provided their services at the Raja-Jooseppi crossing until 30 November. Previously, Red Cross volunteers from the Oulu and Lapland districts provided aid services at the Vartius and Salla border crossings. Voluntary rescue service volunteers coordinated by the Red Cross have also been involved in aid work.

The Red Cross has been operating at border crossings at the request of the Finnish Border Guard. Volunteers checked the health of people arriving in Finland and provided them with first aid if needed. The volunteers also provided asylum seekers with hot drinks and food.

In total, Red Cross volunteers have provided 209 people who have crossed the border with assistance. A total of around 20 volunteers have been involved in aid activities at the border crossings, carrying out 622 hours of aid work. A number of Red Cross employees have also been involved.

– Meeting people’s basic needs and providing humanitarian aid are just some of the basic tasks of the Red Cross. We are prepared for all kinds of situations, including exceptional ones, thanks to our prior training and practice exercises. We remain prepared to support the authorities in taking care of people’s wellbeing when aid is needed, explains Head of Migration at the Finnish Red Cross Erja Reinikainen.

Providing humanitarian aid as needed, regardless of the societal situation

The operations of the Red Cross are steered by the organisation’s most important principle: the principle of humanity. The Red Cross helps people in need regardless of their legal or social status.

– Most important of all is that the unrestricted access of humanitarian actors to those in need of help is ensured in all conditions. The rights and humane treatment of people seeking international protection must also be ensured, regardless of the situation. The authorities are responsible for people’s safety, wellbeing and asylum process. The Red Cross remains ready to support the authorities in exceptional situations in the future, too, staes Reinikainen.