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Under the tent of humanity: the International Red Cross and Red Crescentat 2010 World Expo Shanghai

07-05-2010 News Release 10/77

Beijing (ICRC/IFRC) – In times of disaster and armed conflict, many people find shelter under the basic white tents commonly used in relief efforts. But at the Shanghai World Expo, visitors step into such a tent not to be shielded but to be exposed to the realities in which the world's largest humanitarian network operates.

From 1 May until 31 October, up to 4,000 people will visit the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Pavilion at the World Expo every day. The world's fair, in which 189 countries are taking part, is expected to attract more than 70 million visitors. On 8 May, the expo will officially commemorate World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

Past the white tent entrance and inside the pavilion, visitors enter an area of darkness where images are displayed that illustrate many kinds of situations in which the need for humanitarian assistance may arise. A short film introduces audiences to the diverse array of activities carried out by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to meet needs and strengthen communities.

Visitors also discover how to translate their humanitarian ideals into concrete reality. A " great wall " of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers consists of faces from around the world, as a way of paying respect to the central role played by individual volunteers. Visitors are encouraged to " make their move " by learning how to join the nearly 10 million volunteers throughout the world who are already part of the Movement, finding out more about specific activities and by meeting Chinese Red Cross staff and volunteers.

" In true humanitarian spirit, Red Cross workers are willing and able to bring aid to each and every member of the population who needs it. They spread sunlight and warmth throughout society, " said Red Cross Society of China President Hua Jianmin. " We hope you will join the ranks of Red Cross volunteers and work together with us for a better and more harmonious world. "

This year's theme for World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, " urbanization, " is closely related to the World Expo's own theme, " better city, better life. " The event on 8 May will be an occasion to remember that while urbanization carries benefits for many people, it also involves challenges that must be addressed. The expo will play host to special events, distinguished guests and a gala charity concert.

Throughout the six-month fair, 165 Chinese Red Cross volunteers and doctors will provide services at first-aid stations located all over the expo site. Their activities will serve as a reminder of just how indispensable Red Cross and Red Crescent programmes are for communities in China and around the world.

The Red Cross Society of China, supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is the Movement's main participant at the World Expo.

  For further information, please contact:
  Long Yi, Red Cross Society of China Shanghai Expo Secretariat, tel: +86 21 3858 5555 ext.141001or +86 138 1836 6162
  Francis Markus, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, tel: +86 10 6532 7162 or +86 139 1009 6892
  Martin Unternahrer, ICRC Beijing, tel: +86 10 8532 3290 or +86 139 1051 3204