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In the first 30 days Red Cross aid has reached over 500,000 tsunami survivors

Thursday January 27, 2005

Since the beginning of the emergency response to the largest natural disaster in living memory, the global Red Cross network has provided essential support to over half a million affected people.

This effort has seen the involvement of some 40 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from as many countries, 9,000 local Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and nearly 300 international aid workers, of which 15 are from Australia delivering food and non-food assistance, providing clean water, health care and psychological support, and ensuring survivors have shelter, household and hygiene items.

Already $23.5 million from the Australian Red Cross Appeal has gone to support the purchase, distribution and deployment by the Red Cross network of:

* Clean water and water purification materials for around 115,000 survivors in Sri Lanka and Indonesia
* Medical care to over 1,000 people every day
* 460,000 hygiene parcels in Sri Lanka and Indonesia
* 309,000 blankets to survivors in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Indonesia
* 77 cargo flights of humanitarian relief supplies for affected countries
* Psychological support to some 11,000 people
* Temporary shelter for over 40,000 in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar and Maldives

The Red Cross is assessing the medium and long-term needs of the affected communities, and will soon develop specific projects to meet those needs. Australian Red Cross is part of this planning and it is specifically assessing projects to help affected communities regain economic self reliance, such as micro-credit schemes or community banking programs.

'Once again we convey our deepest thanks to all those who supported us and other aid organisations. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Australian corporate sector and State and Federal governments in responding to this unprecedented disaster, but are especially humbled and grateful to all those individuals who've made a contribution,' said Dale Cleaver, Acting Secretary General of Australian Red Cross.

In just 30 days the Red Cross network around the world has raised AUD$1.5 billion for the tsunami emergency. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies announced yesterday that it is winding down its tsunami fundraising programs.

Individual national Red Cross societies around the world will be reviewing their respective country fundraising appeals and deciding whether they have sufficient funds to sustain their medium and long-term aid programs.

In Australia, Red Cross has to date raised over $80 million.
Mr Cleaver said the Australian Red Cross is closely monitoring and assessing the situation in Australia with a view to making its decision in the coming days.

'There are still many wonderfully generous community fundraising activities underway around Australia and we will closely monitor the potential level of funds raised from these. We will inform the Australian public immediately of any decision to cease our active fundraising for the tsunami appeal,' added Mr Cleaver.