Focus: The Red Crescent Society of IR Iran

There to Share

There to Share

May. 12, 2013

Throughout its 90 years of operations, the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRCS) has led the way in providing relief to those in disaster areas. Over its history, it has gained prestige for Iran both at home and abroad and demonstrated the country's commitment to disaster relief and human development.

The Iranian Red Crescent was officially established in 1922 under the name of the Red Lion and Sun Society of Iran (RLSS) and admitted to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society in 1923; however, there are claims that the RLSS predated the Red Cross by many years, with reports that it was first seen in 1864. After the Revolution, the RLSS was officially changed to the IRCS. The IRCS is based out of Tehran; however, it has operations all over the globe. The IRCS is part of the greater organization of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), which was formed in 1919. The IFRC currently comprises 188 different Red Cross and Red Crescent societies throughout the world, which makes it one of the largest humanitarian organizations on the planet. The main vision of all 188 societies is to prevent and alleviate human suffering. This vision is carried out in a wide range of situations from tackling epidemics to large-scale natural disaster relief.


Iran is situated between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which meet in the center of the country. In 2010, Iran experienced 420 earthquakes, with 137 of them above four on the Richter scale, which is an average number for Iran. The IFRC is ever present when such disasters strike to lend help and assistance with medical supplies, expertise, and equipment. On August 11, 2012 a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit the northwestern area of Iran, killing 250 people. The IRCS was one of the first organizations to respond, setting up over 3,000 tents to accommodate the 16,000 people displaced by the quake, as well as supplying food, blankets, and other emergency equipment. Living in a country with such regular earthquakes means that the IRCS has a vast knowledge and ability in dealing with earthquake-related disasters, which it is more than willing to share with the rest of the world. On October 23, 2011, a strong earthquake hit Van in Turkey, close to the Iranian border. Immediately after the incident, the IRCS began relief operations by sending medical supplies, aid equipment, 20 ambulances, food, a desert hospital, and emergency settlement camps. More recently, an earthquake struck Azerbaijan on August 27, 2012. The IRCS sent several thousand medics, doctors, and volunteers and helped over 13,000 people. Although the large majority of the people helped suffered from quake-related issues, the IRCS also began to help people with more everyday problems such as dietary issues. This leads back to the vision of the whole organization, which is the prevention and alleviation of human suffering.

The IRCS spends the majority of its time helping with earthquake relief; however, this is not the only focus of its operations. For example, in June 2011 the IRCS signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This idea behind this MoU was to established a technical Orthopedic Rehabilitation Center in Kinshasa, and cooperate on the training of human resources. During the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip in November 2012, the IRCS sent humanitarian aid, medical equipment, medical supplies, and specialist healthcare teams, including physicians and nurses.

People all over world have benefitted from the help of the IRCS for 90 years and hopefully for many more years to come. When disaster strikes, the IRCS will be there ready to offer aid and the hand of peace.