The Order of Malta’s Italian Relief Corps (CISOM), counts some 3000 volunteers (medical, paramedical staff and assistants) in the three North-Centre-South units into which the corps is divided in Italy. Founded in 1970, it carries out rescue and assistance operations during natural disasters. It intervened during the earthquakes in Irpinia, Umbria, Puglia, Basilicata and Abruzzo.
In addition to its work in Italy, the Corps has also participated in international humanitarian initiatives such as the consignment of food aid for children in Hungary after the collapse of the Soviet bloc (1990) and, more recently, in Kosovo and in the entire Balkan region.
Since 2005 it has been part of the organizational unit of the Italian Civil Defence. During this year, the Corps also entered into cooperation agreements with the Italian Coastguards, the Forestry Corps and ARES 118 (regional health emergency service).
On the Italian Coastguards’ patrol boats, the Corps’ doctors and specialist volunteers assist immigrants fleeing from hunger, wars and persecutions on unseaworthy vessels in the Sicilian sea.
More recently it has been in the front line in dramatic scenarios such as the earthquake in the Italian region of Abruzzo (2009), the earthquake in Haiti (2010) and the earthquake in the Italian region of Emilia (2012).
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