Friday March 18, 2005
Australian Red Cross will officially close its Asia Quake and Tsunamis Appeal on March 31.
The appeal has now raised over $103 million and Secretary General of Australian Red Cross, Robert Tickner, said this is by far the largest appeal in the organisation's 90-year history.
'We are announcing the closure of the appeal because we have reached our anticipated level of funding to carry out medium and long-term programs of rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction, including community disaster preparedness.
This was made possible because of the fabulous generosity of Australians, Australian businesses and Australian governments - from local councils to the Commonwealth,' said Mr Tickner.
Australian Red Cross will not receive any more new donations for the tsunamis appeal after March 31. 'We ask anyone who has collected funds on behalf of this appeal to forward them to Red Cross before the appeal closes on March 31,' Mr Tickner said.
Australian Red Cross has so far contributed $24 million dollars (around 23% of the funds raised as at 18 March) to the international aid effort of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
In the first three months the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has reached some 700,000 affected people and provided them with vital aid and support, including food, water, shelter and clothing.
In addition, a total of 26 Australian Red Cross aid workers - with 10 more about to leave in the next few weeks - have so far been deployed as part of a 500-strong International Red Cross team. Also at least 22,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are providing aid in the worst affected areas, including Aceh Province, India and the north and east of Sri Lanka.
'We are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported us,' said Mr Tickner.
'We are currently developing our medium and long-term programs and we will be informing the public about those programs shortly. We are looking at a range of projects to help rebuild and re-establish self-reliant livelihoods in communities through programs such as micro-credit and community banking. The remaining funds will be spent on these and other recovery and rehabilitation activities.'
Mr Tickner said Red Cross would continue to rely on public support for its other activities.
'Locally, in March we are conducting our largest annual fundraising event, Red Cross Calling, which raises funds to support vulnerable Australians, right here in our own communities. Your continued support is what makes us be able to help those in need,' said Mr Tickner.