The history of the Hellenic Red Cross is synonym to the modern Greek history. It has always been close to those dealing with difficulties in all emotionally, nationally and politically heavily charged times of Greek society.
From the beginning of its existence, the Hellenic Red Cross has been present in order to support and assist with a sense of responsibility and selflessness. Its task has the support of the collective mobilization of the citizens that indicates the multi-sided and very important work of its volunteers that comes as an undeniable proof of the generous contribution that is innate in Greek society.
10 June 1877
Foundation of the Hellenic Red Cross.
First activities of the Hellenic Red Cross
·Cretan Revolution and liberation movements in Epirus, Thessaly and Macedonia: Improvised Hospitals were formed for the nursing of the wounded.
·Creation of the Hellenic Red Cross Nursing Division.
The big earthquake in Chios island: a mobile operating clinic was formed and also food, clothes and supplies were distributed to the injured (Christians, Muslims and Jews).
The Beginning of the Greco-Turkish War
The Hellenic Red Cross provides nursing assistance to both army and civilians forming hospitals that tour across entire Greece. During the war and after its ending, it takes care of the refugees coming from all regions.
Foundation of the first Practical School of Nurses, an one year course school aiming to have the National Society contributing mainly to the health service for the assistance and the hospitalization of the war wounded. The School constitutes a motivation for the further development of nursing education in the country.
1912 – 1913
Creation of the Hellenic Red Cross medical units across Greece for providing assistance to the war wounded. Fundraising is organized both in Greece and abroad.
Beginning of 1st World War
Foundation of the School of Assistant Nurses, a two year course school and the first professional license to practice Nursing in Greece is issued.
·Foundation of both Committee and Bureau of Prisoners of War in order to search for prisoners of war and missing people that will consist in the future the basis of the files of the Tracing Department.
·Creation of Mobile and Permanent Hospitals and Clinics for the nursing of the wounded.
5 & 6 August 1917
The big fire in Thessaloniki
The Hellenic Red Cross Volunteer Nurses cooperate with the competent authorities and provide health assistance, help and food distribution along with the necessary items to the residents.
1919 – 1922
The Asia Minor Campaign
·Creation of hospitals, infirmaries and other clinics for care and hospitalization of war wounded and for offering humanitarian aid to the refugees.
·Creation of Tracing Files.
Foundation of The Central Fundraising Committee and the 1st Annual Fundraising Campaign across Greece takes place.
·Foundation of the Graduate School of Nurses and Visiting Sisters.
·The Hellenic Red Cross takes over the management of the hospital “Asklepeio Voulas” which used to be a Special Sanatorium of the Pan-Hellenic Association against Tuberculosis since 1920.
·The Treaty of Lausanne and the population exchange: four Health Delegations are sent to organize health centers and camps for refugees of any nationality, where disinfection, lice removing, vaccination, food and clothes distribution are provided.
Foundation The Hellenic Red Cross Youth Department and its Magazine published.
Inauguration of Korgialenio-Benakio Hospital which was built by the donations of the benefactors Emmanouil Benakis and Marinos Korgialenios. The hospital could stand up to the latest developments of science and technology of its time.
The Hellenic Red Cross took over the auxiliary Association called “Sotir” that became the 1st First Aid Station in Athens and thus its activities get more organized and expand further.
·Foundation of the “School of Volunteer Stretcher-Bearers”.
·Earthquake in Halkidiki: The Hellenic Red Cross organizes a health care mission with doctors and nurses fully equipped with the necessary medical supplies for offering assistance to the injured of the earthquake in Ierissos region. It contributes to the temporary accommodation of 25.000 homeless people and distributes clothes and food.
1940 – 1945
2nd World War and the German Occupation
The Hellenic Red Cross provides nursing care, forms hospital units and first aid stations for the treatment of the wounded and organizes distributions of food, blankets and clothes. In one of the most difficult periods of modern Greek history the Hellenic Red Cross basically substitutes the state offering welfare services and providing its infrastructure for the support of Greek people during the war hardships and the harsh time of German occupation.
Earthquakes in the Ionian Islands region: health care services are provided to the earthquake victims and the distribution of first aid supplies as well.
Foundation of the Hellenic Red Cross Social Welfare Division.
Earthquakes in Corinthia region: the Hellenic Red Cross is present offering both material and moral support to our fellow citizens that go through a tough period.
Earthquakes in Kalamata region: the consequences of one of the most catastrophic earthquakes in Greece were enormous. The Hellenic Red Cross participates in provisions of relief assistance to the earthquake victims and in the task of caring and supporting them with volunteers from all the Divisions of the National Society.
In Thesprotia, Ioannina, Kastoria and Florina regions the infrastructures and reception facilities are settled for the needs of migrating population from Albania to Greece.
·Relief assistance is offered to the aid of earthquake victims in Ilia region, as well as in Samos and in Ikaria islands whose residents were fire victims.
·Ratification by law of the establishment of the Public Benefit Foundation Henry Dunant.
·Crisis in Yugoslavia: support and relief assistance, always driven by a sense of benevolence and solidarity, are provided to the victims of the former Yugoslavia Republic regardless their national or religion origin.
·Organized relief assistance and support are provided to the earthquake victims in Pyrgos region.
The Hellenic Red Cross provides care and support to the residents of Karditsa, of Trikala, of Rhodes, of Kasos and of Karpathos regions that this year are hit by devastating floods. In the same year, it is present and provides relief assistance to the earthquake victims in the Aegean Islands.
·Earthquakes in Kozani and Grevena regions: relief assistance and support are provided to the earthquake victims.
·The construction of Henry Dunant Hospital begins.
The removal of Kurdish refugees from Piraeus to Crete is organized.
·Establishment of the Multifunctional Social Center of Support and Integration of Refugees and of the Center for the accommodation of Kurdish, Iraqi and Afghan asylum seekers in Nea Makri.
·The socio-economic changes begin in Albania: The Hellenic Red Cross provides relief assistance to the local population substituting the absent state.
1997 – 1998
Socio-economic crisis in Bulgaria and Georgia: relief assistance is provided by the Hellenic Red Cross.
·Socio-economic crisis in Armenia: relief assistance is provided.
·Health Centers and Health Support programmes are organized in Tirana within the framework of providing Social Welfare assistance.
·Reconstruction of FYROM: the Hellenic Red Cross offers both support and relief assistance to the population providing its services under difficult conditions of complete absence of organized state mechanism.
·Balkan Crisis: fully prepared to deal with emergency situations the Hellenic Red Cross takes action in Pogradec, Albania, offering relief assistance to the refugees.
·Earthquakes in Izmit, Turkey: relief assistance is provided to the earthquake victims.
·Earthquake in Attica: all Hellenic Red Cross Divisions and Services take action offering their services and relief assistance.
·Inauguration of The Henry Dunant Hospital.
·Relief assistance is sent to Tajikistan to cope with the difficult conditions of dry season.
·Beginning the activities of the reception center of asylum seekers in Kallithea Spercheiada region (Lamia).
Relief assistance is provided to the Afghan population within the framework of the principles of delivering impartial and immediate help to the people in need.
·Earthquakes in Lefkada region: nursing and help are provided by the Samaritans Rescuers and Lifeguards Corp and Nurses.
·War in Iraq: Relief assistance is sent.
Relief assistance is sent to the population of Palestine.
·Catastrophic Tsunami in Asia: both medical and relief assistance are sent to the population of Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
·Relief assistance is sent to the earthquake victims in Pakistan.
·Hurricane Katrina: one of the most shocking disasters of the last years. Relief assistance is sent to the victims in New Orleans in the USA.
·Support programmes and information campaigns on HIV/AIDS are organized in Africa, more specifically in Cameroon and in Senegal.
·Relief assistance is sent to the residents of Lebanon victims of the armed conflict.
·Within the framework of its contribution to the international activities, the Hellenic Red Cross supports emergency infrastructures in Zimbabwe and Congo and assists food security in Malawi.
·The first Mediterranean Conference is organized in Greece with large participation of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from 22 countries.
Any recording of some important moments of the Hellenic Red Cross 130 year history course can only show a small part of its contribution. The history of the Hellenic Red Cross is still being written day by day.
The real history of the Hellenic Red Cross can be found in the daily contribution of the Volunteers in the Nursing Division, in the Social Welfare Division, in the Samaritans Rescuers and Lifeguards Corp but also in the non-stop insistence of the Tracing Department in order to help, support and heal the wounds of our fellow-human beings. The history of the Hellenic Red Cross is full of personal stories of outstanding people’s altruistic offers, who voluntarily apply in practice every day the Movement’s ideals.