On This Day

Ethnic Shan Awarded Red Cross Medal for Icy River Rescue

By Wei Yan Aung 15 March 2019

On this day in 1959, Sai Aung Hlaing Myint, the first person to win the Henry Dunant Medal in Southeast Asia, was born in a small village in Kachin State.

He was only 21 years old when he received the medal at the 23rd International Committee of the Red Cross conference in Bucharest, Romania, in 1977. Eighteen people had won the award before him, but he was the youngest.

He was only the third Henry Dunant Medal recipient in all of Asia.

The Red Cross member and ethnic Shan rescued a solider from a sunken truck after diving for about 20 minutes in the icy Irrawaddy River in Kachin State in January 1976.

Sai Aung Hlaing Myint served as an assistant information officer with the Myanmar Red Cross Society after receiving the award.

He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Mar. 25, 1985. His body was donated to the Institute of Medicine (1).