The Red Cross in 2023 in pictures

Happy Red Cross volunteers sledding.
Photo: Kaisa Sirén / Suomen Punainen Risti

What did our aid operations look like during this year? We helped people facing crises and disasters and took care of those in the most vulnerable positions.

A huge thank you to all volunteers, donors, employees, partners and friends of the Red Cross! Now is a great time to look back and see what we achieved together.

We continued our work to help people affected by the Ukrainian crisis. Help is still sorely needed, and the need will continue for a long time.

In 2023, we continued to support the Ukrainian health care system, as well as the cash donations that help the people in most vulnerable positions.

“The people donating to the Disaster Relief Fund of the Red Cross have made the operations of the mobile health units possible. A warm thank you to you all!” says Marko Korhonen, the Head of International Disaster Management. Photo: Marko Korhonen, taustalla Punaisen Ristin liikkuvan terveysklinikan auto.

We also helped families fleeing from Ukraine to Finland by offering food aid and mental support, for example.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has offered a wide range of help to millions of people suffering from the Ukrainian crisis, for example by fulfilling the basic needs of more than 15 million people.

Red Cross volunteer helping an elderly person to walk.
The aid workers and volunteers of the Ukrainian Red Cross were there from the start to help the people suffering from the consequences of the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam. Photo: Ukrainan Punainen Risti

In Finland, thousands of volunteer friend visitors brightened up the daily lives of people suffering from loneliness.

A smiling Red Cross volunteer taking residents of a nursing home outside.
The volunteers of our friend visitor activities helped seniors enjoy some time outdoors, and the enjoyment was mutual. Photo: Sirpa Lundgren / Suomen Punainen Risti

During the year, we organised about 10,000 hours of training and exercises for our volunteers to ensure that we are prepared to help in any exceptional conditions in Finland, quickly and efficiently.

Volunteers of the Red Cross and the Voluntary Rescue Service in a technical room, surrounded by different devices. One of the volunteers is speaking on the phone.
A training event of the Voluntary Rescue Service, coordinated by the Finnish Red Cross, was held in Kauniainen 1 April–2 April 2023. Photo: Teemu Ullgrén / Suomen Punainen Risti

South and East African regions are suffering from severe, prolonged food security crisis. Extreme weather conditions, such as both droughts and floods, strengthened further by climate change, have damaged the harvest season and made cattle breeding more challenging.

We helped out in Eswatini, for example, by improving food security and preventing epidemic risks. In Somalia, we supported both permanent and mobile health clinics, which offer basic health care, vaccinations and screening for malnutrition and increase awareness on healthy foods and diet.

Two people smiling in front of their home in Eswatini.
“I have used the money I was given to buy food, such as onions, potatoes and carrots. Aid from the Red Cross is vital in the region, as many of us are very poor,” says Momsa Mhlanga from Eswatini. Photo: Eija Palosuo / Suomen Punainen Risti

A large non-governmental organisation such as the Red Cross must also be managed so that it can help others. Hundreds of our happy members came together in June in Joensuu. The general meeting, called together every three years, is the highest decision-making body of our organisation.

Young, smiling Red Cross volunteers accepting an award on a stage.
The Tulevaisuuden tekijät – Makers of Future – award was granted to the Red Cross volunteers of the Janakkala branch during the general meeting. Photo: Harri Mäenpää / Suomen Punainen Risti

Our aid worker Johanna Arvo met with people who had suffered in the earthquake in Syria and helped assess the level of destruction. She also met with baby Huda’s family, who received help from the Syrian Red Crescent Society.

Johanna Arvo, holding a small baby.
Photo: Syyrian Punainen Puolikuu

We distributed food to tens of thousands of people in Finland. Last year, we tripled the number of volunteers distributing food aid, so there were many helping hands available to distribute food this year.

A smiling volunteer with food dishes in front of her.
”Food distribution has been a great volunteer role! I have gotten to know new people, and being able to help is a great feeling in itself,” says Sirpa Lundgren, a food aid volunteer from Raisio. Photo: Miika Norro / Suomen Punainen Risti

Our on-duty volunteers were involved in hundreds of events all across Finland. They offered the event audience many kinds of support, such as first aid and information about health and safety.

Four smiling Red Cross on-duty volunteers in a sunny festival area.
On-duty workers in Ilosaarirock festival. Photo: Harri Mäenpää / Suomen Punainen Risti

Our logistics centre in Tampere worked hard on the many different equipment deliveries. Over the year, we sent material aid to different regions, such as the earthquake areas in Turkey and Morocco.

Three people working in a storage facility between shelves filled with aid supplies.
We sent a total of 4,000 blankets and sleeping pads, nearly 1,500 mattresses, around 80 field beds and 200 sleeping bags to Turkey in February. Photo: Laura Vesa / Suomen Punainen Risti

The Hunger Day collection was held during sunny days in September. We are collecting funds for the Disaster Relief Fund to be able to help people in need also in future years.

A smiling Hunger Day box collector handing out the box to a smiling donor.
Photo: Joonas Brandt / Suomen Punainen Risti

Preparing for various exceptional situations is part of the Red Cross’s preparedness. Towards the end of the year, the Finnish Border Guard asked the Red Cross for support to secure people’s basic needs at the eastern border.

Two Red Cross volunteers and two Voluntary Rescue Service volunteers walking near the border area in winter conditions.
“Even if the situation at the eastern border is exceptional, our actions are actually quite ordinary. Upon request, we are systematically doing things we have prepared for as an organisation,” says one of the volunteers at Raja-Jooseppi Border Station in late November. Photo: Mirva Helenius / Suomen Punainen Risti

Together with the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, we organised the Good Holiday Spirit collection now for the 27th time. The donated funds were used to buy a €70 food voucher for 22,000 low-income families with children for buying festive food for their Christmas table.

Mother and child baking gingerbread cookies in their home kitchen.
Photo: Ville Salminen / Suomen Punainen Risti

... And this was of course just a small look at the year of the Red Cross! Learn more about what we do on this website and by following our social media channels on Facebook, X, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Helping will continue in 2024. Join us as a volunteer or member or help by donating. Thank you!


What does the Red Cross do?
What does the Red Cross do?
Welcome on board as a volunteer
Welcome on board as a volunteer
Get help and support
Get help and support