The Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT; Greek: Ελληνική Ομάδα Διάσωσης or Elliniki Omada Diasosis) is a non-governmental organization of Search and Rescue that operates in Greece. It is run by volunteers and operating since 1978. Since 1994 it is run as an association. HRC is cooperating with the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Union.
The Hellenic Rescue Team was awarded the Nansen Refugee Award in 2016 and Mother Teresa Award in 2017 for its role in the European refugee and migrant crisis. The headquarter of the organization is in Thessaloniki. Overall there are 34 divisions of HRT in Greece. The United Nations International Search and Rescue Advisory Group has officially recognized HRT on the 23 of June 2005.
HRT is also in continuous cooperation with both the OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ECHO (European Community Humanitarian Office). It also the only Greek organization that is part of the International Mountain Rescue Federation (IKAR- CISA) and the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF).
Furthermore, it is also part of the International Rescue Dog Organization (IRDO). The Hellenic Rescue Team works closely with the Civil Protection Secretariat, the Greek Coast Guard, the Greek Air Force, greek Army Air Force, the Hellenic Navy Helicopters School, the Directorate of Transmission of Air Transport and the TENEF.
The organization has over 3.000 volunteers working for it. It carries out search and rescue operations in emergencies and disasters within Greece or in the sea surrounding Greece. The staff and volunteers and scientifically and technically trained to carry out the missions.
International Work and Recognition
The organization has provided aid in international emergency situations since 1999. The first international deployment was in the earthquakes of Turkey (1999), Algeria (2003), Morocco (2004), Iran (2004) and Indonesia (2005) - where full equipment was sent for the operation of a pre-hospital care center for 10,000 people for two months - Pakistan (2005) and lastly the Lebanese crisis where it sent 23.5 tons of food and pharmaceutical products gathered through its network.
The Greek Rescue Team also participated in the relief efforts in the Haiti earthquake in 2010. The HRT received the Nansen Refugee Award in 2016 for its rescue efforts in 2015 where the organizations saved over 2.500 people in the Aegean sea. During that year the organization undertook 1.035 rescue operations and additionally assisted over 7.000 people to safety In 2017 the organization received the Mother Teresa award from the "Harmony Foundation" based in Mumbai, India. They received the award for their "heroic actions" during the migrant and refugee crisis.