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Three months on long-term needs emerge as a priority in Australian Red Cross tsunami plans

Thursday March 24, 2005

Helping survivors overcome trauma of having lost loved ones, rebuilding homes and livelihoods and preparing the communities to respond better to future disasters are at the heart of the Australian Red Cross medium and long term plans for tsunami affected population.

The unprecedented generosity of the Australian public enables the Red Cross to put into place a broad range of vital, sustainable programs that will assist the traumatized population to recover from the immense loss they suffered, regain their dignity and put their lives back together.

'Three months on, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has reached more than 758,000 affected people and provided them with vital aid and support, including food, water, shelter and clothing. But the real task of long-term recovery is still ahead of us,' said Robert Tickner, Secretary General/CEO of Australian Red Cross.

Of the funds raised so far ($103 million as at 22 March) Australian Red Cross has contributed $24 million, or 23% of the funds raised, towards the international relief effort of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

'The majority of the remaining donations are earmarked for use in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, two of the worst affected countries, but Australian Red Cross plans to carry out humanitarian activities in other affected countries, as well as to support regional tsunami programs,' added Mr Tickner.

Australian Red Cross has earmarked available funds as follows:
International Red Cross relief effort - 23%
Sri Lanka programs - 23%
Indonesia programs - 22%
Other affected countries - 8%
Regional tsunami programs - 14%
Contingency funds (emerging needs) - 10%

Note - Australian Red Cross stated from the beginning that its appeal costs will be no more than 10% of the funds raised. Australian Red Cross is increasingly confident its appeal costs will be kept even lower.

'The global response of Red Cross and Red Crescent is divided into three phases. The first one is the emergency phase which is nearly behind us in some countries, while in others it may stretch for another few months, given the scale of destruction.

'The next phase is that of rehabilitation, where the Red Cross will focus on rebuilding communities and supporting livelihoods in the period of up to three years. Although it is anticipated that the bulk of funds will be spent in the first five years of operations, the third phase may stretch for up to ten years, and it will concentrate on longer-term recovery, including things such as strengthening the community's capacity to cope with future disasters,' added Mr Tickner.

The above earmarked amounts are indicative only and adherence to these will be dependent on the need of the Red Cross to remain responsive to emerging and changing needs in the field over time and approval of programs.

'The Red Cross has been working within these communities even before the disaster hit. We will continue to be there, helping the communities recover and rebuild their lives,' added Mr Tickner.

Australian Red Cross program sectors for the tsunami response

Selection of program sectors by Australian Red Cross is based largely on the work of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Australian Red Cross own assessment teams in the field since late December 2004. These assessments have been drawn together by the work of the Federation-appointed Recovery Assessment Teams in consultation with the host Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, public authorities, local population, the UN system and other Non-Government-Organisations (click on the link below for more information).