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Tens of thousands of quake survivors still at risk in Pakistan - Red Cross

Wednesday October 26, 2005

The Red Cross warns that tens of thousands of earthquake survivors in Pakistan may die unless they urgently receive enough aid to help them through the coming winter.

This stark warning comes as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launches a revised appeal in Islamabad today, calling for a total of $160 million for the ongoing relief operation in the worst hit quake areas, particularly in the remote, mountainous areas of North Western Frontier Province.

'To date, the global Red Cross appeal has received about $43 million with another $36 million in pledges, showing that governments and the world community are ready to help,' said Mr Robert Tickner, CEO of Australian Red Cross.

'In Australia, the community, the government and corporate partners have responded generously so far, with the Red Cross alone receiving more than $6 million in support. But we urge Australians not to forget the survivors and to continue supporting Red Cross and other appeals, as additional funds are urgently needed. The fact that quake devastation is no longer on our TV screens every night does not mean that the suffering of survivors has stopped,' added Mr Tickner.

The global appeal aims to meet the immediate shelter and relief needs of some 570,000 people. Winterised tents are the highest priority, helping protect homeless families from a certain death this winter. Other critical items include blankets, mattresses, stoves and hygiene articles.

To date more than 200 truckloads of Red Cross and Red Crescent relief items have reached affected areas and some 9,000 tents and 40,000 blankets have been distributed. Forty aid flights with 1,600 tons of relief goods, medical supplies and emergency response equipment have arrived in Pakistan.

'The true heroes of this emergency are the countless Pakistan Red Crescent staff and volunteers, who have worked non-stop from the very beginning and provided first aid, medical evacuation as well as relief distributions. Their ten mobile medical teams alone have already treated more than 16,000 people,' said Mr Tickner.

However, it is of major concern to the Red Cross that not all those in need of aid have yet been reached. Relief efforts continue to be hampered by poor weather, landslides and the difficult mountainous terrain.

'Local authorities estimate that one in five villages in the affected area is yet to be reached by relief teams. As winter approaches, our window of opportunity to assist the survivors and prevent further deaths is rapidly closing,' warned Mr Tickner.

To donate to the Asia Earthquake Appeal:

  • Visit to make a secure online donation
  • Call 1800 811 700 toll free
  • Send a cheque to GPO Box 9949 marked 'Asia Earthquake Appeal' in your capital city

Funds raised through the Australian Red Cross Asia Earthquake Appeal will be used for the following activities:

  • to support the relief and rehabilitation activities of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Partners in the affected countries, through the emergency appeal
  • to fund any deployment of specialist aid workers to the countries to assist in the International Red Cross response
  • to support any Australian Red Cross programs of assistance in the affected countries

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.