The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRCS) is an international humanitarian organisation, often better known as the Red Cross or the Red Crescent.
The IFRCS was founded in Paris in May, 1919, after World War I, to assist with co-operation between the different national humanitarian organizations. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 173 chapters worldwide. They are active in disaster relief, blood collection, refugee locating, and civilian medical training.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies must be distinguished from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC is a committee of Swiss nationals (the committee appoints new members to itself to replace those who resign or die) which leads the international Red Cross movement, and has special responsibilities under international humanitarian law.
The IFRCS' purpose is ... to organize, coordinate, and direct international relief actions; to promote humanitarian activities; to represent and encourage the development of National Societies; to bring help to victims of armed conflicts, refugees, and displaced people; to reduce the vulnerability of people through development programs.
Its original symbol, a red cross on a white background, is derived from the cross of the Swiss flag. The IFRCS societies in Islamic countries use a red crescent, rather than a cross, to avoid any ambiguity. See the Red Cross article for more detail on the Red Cross symbol.