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Red Cross sending rapid response medical team to quake-ravaged Java

Wednesday May 31, 2006

The Red Cross is sending a four-person surgical team to Java to assist thousands of people injured by last weekend's earthquake.

Trauma surgeon Dr Valeria Malka (NSW) and experienced Red Cross Nurses Leanne McKenry (Vic) and Margaret Brewster (NSW) will be leaving Melbourne later today (Wednesday 31 May). Dr Tim Keenan (WA), an orthopaedic surgeon and veteran of more than half a dozen Red Cross missions will be travelling directly to Indonesia from Cambodia.

'Initial assessments carried out by Red Cross personnel in Indonesia indicate that there is an urgent and immediate need for medical assistance in the quake-affected zone,' said Robert Tickner, CEO of Australian Red Cross.

'Thousands of people were injured by the earthquake - many of them suffering fractures and head injuries as a result of falling debris and collapsing buildings. Our team will work with Red Cross staff and volunteers already on the ground to ensure that people injured by the earthquake receive the very best care possible.'

Ten Red Cross medical teams and two mobile field hospitals have already gone to the region to help ease the load on the already strained medical infrastructure in and around Yogyakarta.

According to Mr Tickner, the deployment of this medical team is an example of the important role that Australian Red Cross has played and will continue to play in responding to humanitarian crises close to Australia and around the world.

'Australian Red Cross has long been a leading humanitarian force in the Asia/Pacific region,' he said. 'And we are committed to strengthening and increasing this capacity to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies and disasters close to home and right around the world.

Meanwhile, the Australian Red Cross 'Indonesian Disaster Appeal 2006' has already received strong support from the Australian public, with almost $40,000 donated in the first 36 hours.

To donate to the Indonesian Disaster Appeal 2006:

  • Visit to make a secure online donation or call 1800 811 700 toll free
  • Send a cheque to GPO Box 2957 Melbourne VIC 8060 marked Indonesian Disaster Appeal 2006

Donations to the Indonesian Disaster Appeal 2006 will support communities affected by disasters in Indonesia, including the recent Java Earthquake. Donations will be used for the following activities:

  • To provide support to the Indonesian Red Cross directly or through the International Red Cross Emergency Appeal in responding to disasters in Indonesia
  • To fund the deployment of specialist aid workers to assist in the International Red Cross response
  • To support future Australian Red Cross assistance programs in Indonesia
  • To support the ongoing development of the Indonesian Red Cross

NOTE: Australian Red Cross will not deduct more than 10% of any donation for an international appeal to cover 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 help people affected by emergencies within the same region of the world.