As we prepare to celebrate both World Red Cross Day and International Volunteers Week in May I would like to thank our many Red Cross volunteers for the amazing work that they do.
A recent global survey has found that Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers contributed 6 billion dollars worth of services worldwide in 2010, or around 90 cents for every person on earth.
The work of Red Cross volunteers in Australia is valued at more than $82 million a year.
According to the survey, donor dollars go much further with volunteers extending the work of Red Cross staff by a ratio of 1 to 20, meaning that for every paid staff member there are 20 volunteers.
Our community-based volunteer network and workforce reaches around 30 million people each year during disasters alone and even more through community development initiatives that reach vulnerable people each day.
During the recent floods, cyclones and fires in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia Red Cross volunteers assisted more than 27,000 people in evacuation and relief centres
Our volunteers also supported many others in recovery centres and by going door-to-door to visit people in their homes.
As we celebrate volunteers and volunteering worldwide, we urge all governments to formally recognise the economic value of volunteers by incorporating their contribution into key economic and social indicators used in decision-making and planning at the highest levels.
Red Cross volunteers and staff are always among the first on the ground to assist individuals, households and communities affected by disasters and emergencies.
We are among the world's leading humanitarian providers of water, emergency accommodation and sanitation services, we play a major role in assisting refugees and asylum seekers, we prepare breakfasts for school kids who might otherwise go to school hungry, and each day we ring thousands of older or isolated people to check they are safe and well.
If you or your readers would like to learn about the work of our Red Cross volunteers or would like to make a donation to support the work of Red Cross go to www.redcross.org.au or phone 1800 811 700.
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Red Cross
, Sunshine Coast Wide
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