The huge numbers of civilians affected by forced migration during the Second World War resulted in serious refugee problems which continued for many years after the cessation of hostilities.
The British Red Cross worked with other elements of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to provide relief to displaced people and liberated populations in need of basic supplies.
In 1949 the Fourth Geneva Convention made provision to protect civilians caught up in war, especially those who find themselves in the hands of the enemy or occupying power.
Our work today
Working as part of the Movement, the British Red Cross has continued to provide relief to the victims of international conflicts and disasters, including refugees from the Hungarian revolution (1956) and Vietnam (1976) and victims of the Iranian earthquake (1962), the famine in Africa (1980-1989), Gulf crisis (1991), Hurricane Mitch (1998) and the Colombia earthquake (1999). Today we are providing vital aid in Syria as well as helping communities across the world to prepare for and cope with disasters.
In the UK, the British Red Cross has provided emergency relief following disasters such as the collapse of the coal tip at Aberfan (1966), the Lockerbie air disaster (1988), the Easter floodings (1998), and the devastating summer floods in 2007. The Red Cross also provides short-term support to people in crisis in the UK, including services for people who cannot get around easily due to ill health.
Read about our emergency response work
Find out about our health and social care services
Learn about our refugee services