When the earthquake struck Japan in March 2011, Tony Prophet, the senior vice president for operations at Hewlett-Packard was informed within 5 hours and 45 minutes. It was 3.30am in California when his phone rang. By the time he had picked up the call, the Japanese Red Cross had already set up its operations centre, dispatched a field Hospital and sent out 19 medical teams to the worst hit provinces.
The Red Cross may be the world’s largest humanitarian movement – 97 million staff, volunteers and members across 186 national organisations - but it is no slouch when it needs to move; its response team, structure and supply network enables it to be quick off the mark.
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