A mother standing and holding a small child in her lap on a beach. In the background, there are two ships driven ashore in a storm.

Humanitarian aid

Photo: Benjamin Suomela / Suomen Punainen Risti

Every year, hundreds of millions of people suffer from the consequences of natural disasters, conflicts and other crises. When disaster strikes, the purpose of the Red Cross is to save human lives, alleviate suffering and maintain life and human dignity.

Amidst crisis, people require basic necessities, such as water, food, shelter, first aid, health care and protection. Help must be delivered quickly and efficiently.

The Red Cross chain of aid

The chain of aid starts when a certain country’s Red Cross or Red Crescent is unable to respond to a situation alone and sends a request for help through the International Red Cross. The Red Cross Societies from other countries reply to the request by offering help.

The Finnish Red Cross is the most prominent Finnish non-governmental organisation offering humanitarian aid. The aid can include financial support, aid supplies or personal aid – or a combination of them. 

The Finnish Red Cross maintains a field hospital and health station, as well as disaster preparedness units specialising in logistics and communications that can be sent quickly to where they are most needed.

We are able to deliver aid thanks to the donations made to the Disaster Relief Fund. About 90 per cent of donations come from private individuals.

Other important funders of the Finnish Red Cross humanitarian aid include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the European Union.

Towards healthier and safe communities

Through its volunteers, the Red Cross is present before, during and after the disaster.

In the relief work of the Finnish Red Cross, humanitarian aid and development cooperation form a seamless chain. Humanitarian aid meets the basic needs of people in crises, whereas development cooperation aims to improve the lives of people and communities in the long term.

Launching disaster relief work is easier in countries where the Red Cross has already helped communities prepare for crises.

After a disaster, people need nutrition, health, homes and livelihoods in order to be able to return to normal and gain strength and skills to prepare for future disasters.

Learn more about the long-term Finnish Red Cross development cooperation in Africa and Asia.


Development cooperation
Development cooperation
How to become an aid worker abroad
How to become an aid worker abroad