On behalf of the Red Cross of the Republic of North Macedonia, allow me to greet you and thank you for your presence and participation in the simulation exercise “Humanitarian Response 2023”.
Not so long ago, in 1963 our country and the city of Skopje were faced with a major humanitarian challenge – the disastrous earthquake that struck the city of Skopje and claimed a large number of lives and caused enormous material damage. At that time, thanks to the solidarity of the region and the whole world, we witnessed a humanitarian response that enabled saving many lives and rebuilding our capital.
This event also coincides with the first major humanitarian campaign of the Red Cross in our country. Since then, with pleasure we can conclude that we have grown into an organization that over the years has managed to respond to numerous challenges, such as assisting refugees after the events in the former Yugoslavia, provision of assistance to thousands of migrants who are still transiting through our country, participation in the overall response to the pandemic caused by COVID-19 and providing humanitarian support during disasters in the country and abroad.
Today, we have all shown that united and with joint forces we can successfully deal with the most difficult challenges and provide an effective response to a humanitarian disaster such as an earthquake.
Crises and disasters will unfortunately always be a part of our everyday life, in the region and beyond. Earthquakes, fires, floods, epidemics, migrations, refugees and other humanitarian challenges require from us to constantly invest in what we can and do best in order to make a joint contribution to building sustainable capacities for preparedness, effective response and recovery from disasters, with the primary goal of providing support to the affected population during disasters or humanitarian crises.
In today’s scenario, our attention was focused on presenting our capacities for providing a comprehensive response to rescue victims, providing first aid, psychological support and transportation of earthquake victims and mobilizing volunteer support for humanitarian response. Together with the responsible institutions in the country that participated in the organization and implementation of the exercise, we showed that through joint planning, coordination of capacities and resources, we can be extremely efficient in all phases of providing an adequate response to disasters.
Today, we have demonstrated that all key stakeholders in the social environment are investing and contributing to strengthening our capabilities to reduce risks, take timely action, and build strong capacities for disaster preparedness and response by using the available national and international support mechanisms.
Congratulations to all the teams for the professionalism and expertise in carrying out your tasks.
On behalf of the Red Cross, allow me to express special gratitude to the patron of our exercise “Humanitarian Response 2023”, Mr. Stevo Pendarovski, President of the Republic of North Macedonia, for the overall support in the organization and promotion of today’s event. Special respect and gratitude to all institutions involved in today’s simulation exercise, which showed that together we can successfully upgrade and coordinate our capacities to provide an effective response to any humanitarian challenge that may occur in our country.
To our great satisfaction, a large number of national Red Cross societies from the region and beyond participated in the simulation exercise, showing our unity and solidarity to help and support each other, based on the fundamental principles that unite our humanitarian response worldwide since 1963 when the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was founded. We sincerely thank you for the support of your teams who, with their professionalism and expertise, made a special contribution to the successful realization of the simulation exercise.
What pleases me the most is that we managed to show that we can all provide each other with complementary support that can directly or indirectly have a positive impact on people’s well-being, especially when major disasters strikes. I am confident that our initiative will be an incentive for new collaborations, joint investments in upgrading the overall capacities of the state to respond to possible humanitarian challenges.
We look forward to working on new joint projects and programs, which will mean a safer tomorrow, provided support, saved lives of our fellow citizens.
Special gratitude to the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia and the line ministries and responsible institutions for crisis management that enabled the Red Cross today to present our capacities and resources that are always ready and available to provide complementary support to the overall crisis management system of the country.
Allow me at the end, on behalf of our organization, to thank all the participants of the exercise for their time, resources, willingness and desire to be with the Red Cross, for your support of our humanitarian ideals.