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Australian Red Cross launches appeal for cyclone-ravaged Bangladesh


Monday November 19, 2007

Australian Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal after Cyclone Sidr tore through Bangladesh leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.

Cyclone Sidr hit the coast of Bangladesh at around 6:45 PM local time on 15 November and reached the capital Dhaka in the early hours of 16 November. Reports from affected areas now put the official death toll at more than 2000.

Hundreds of thousands of people have also been left homeless and there are reports of large numbers of missing fishermen on islands off the Bangladeshi coast.

Relief efforts are underway led by the Government, the UN and the Red Cross. Access remains difficult, with electricity and communications infrastructure still down, and much of the work is focused on search and rescue using ships, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

More than 30,000 local Red Crescent volunteers have worked around the clock, successfully evacuating more than 600,000 people to nearly 1,800 coastal cyclone shelters on the night of November 15th, with the help of megaphones and beating drums.

In a coastal area with a population of 16 million people, it was not possible to accommodate everyone in the cyclone shelters -- others have been temporarily housed in makeshift shelters such as schools and community centres.

Although the devastation was still massive, preparation by Bangladeshi Red Crescent meant many local communities were braced for the cyclone with resources in place.

Australian Red Cross has launched an appeal to support efforts by the International Red Cross Movement to raise approximately four million dollars for the relief effort.

To donate to the Bangladesh Cyclone Appeal 2007 Appeal:

  • Visit www.redcross.org.au to make a secure online donation
  • Call 1800 811 700 toll free
  • Send a cheque to GPO Box 2957 Melbourne VIC 8060 marked Bangladesh Cyclone Appeal 2007

The funds raised through this appeal will be used for the following activities:

  • To support the immediate & short term recovery needs of households affected by Cyclone Sidr including health, water & sanitation, livelihood support, shelter and food and non food items.
  • To support relief, rehabilitation and on-going long term development activities of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement in Bangladesh
  • To fund the deployment of specialist aid workers to the country to assist in the International Red Cross Red Crescent response.

Australian Red Cross will deduct no more than 10% of any donation for an international appeal to cover its appeal costs.

Should the funds raised exceed the amount required to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of the people in the affected areas, Australian Red Cross will use any excess funds to:

  • support future Australian Red Cross programs of assistance in Bangladesh
  • support the ongoing development of Bangladesh Red Crescent.

For further information, or to set up interviews, please contact:

Devendra Tak, Regional Communications Officer (in Delhi and Dhaka)
Tel: + 91 98 1039 3178}

Jason Smith, Communications Officer (Geneva)
Tel: +41 22 730 4302

Media Service Duty Phone (Geneva) Tel: + 41 79 416 3881

Lachlan Quick, National Media Coordinator (Melbourne)
Tel: +61 3 9345 1866

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