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Two Australian Red Cross medics on their way to Pakistan

Tuesday October 11, 2005

Two seasoned Australian aid workers are on their way to earthquake-affected Pakistan, to take part in the massive Red Cross Red Crescent response to October 8 earthquake that has left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

According to Dale Cleaver, Acting CEO of Australian Red Cross, Claire Collins (VIC) and Agnes Beaton (WA), will work closely with local Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers to provide much needed medical help and expertise.

'Agnes was already in the region, working in Afghanistan, but given the scale of this disaster she is being rapidly re-deployed to help with the medical response in Pakistan,' said Mr Cleaver.

Clare will be leaving from Melbourne, and she is scheduled to depart this Friday.

The Red Cross is aiming to meet the basic health care, first aid and emergency transport needs of thousands of families in the disaster affected areas of Pakistan.

'The emergency response of the Pakistan Red Crescent and Indian Red Cross has been fantastic, but there is a real need now for international assistance. Australian Red Cross has been on standby since the weekend, ready and waiting to provide any support. We are now responding in a practical way to the call for medical help,' added Mr Cleaver.

Both Claire and Agnes have extensive experience working internationally with the Red Cross. Claire has worked throughout Asia and Africa in health areas in many of the world's worst conflicts. She has also worked as a surgical ward nurse with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Pakistan and a medical logistician in Lokichokio hospital, Kenya.

Agnes has worked with the Red Cross in Indonesia, Iraq, Former Yugoslavia and Kosovo, as well as coordinating Australian Red Cross programs in Bali in the wake of the 2002 bombings.

Agnes has been working as a health coordinator for the ICRC in Kabul, Afghanistan. When news of the earthquake came through, it was decided that her skills and experience could be best used in Pakistan, in the aftermath of the earthquake.

In addition to releasing Agnes to work in Pakistan, the ICRC in Kabul has sent an emergency consignment of 10,000 blankets and 3,000 tarpaulins - enough to assist about 3,000 families - to Islamabad.

Meanwhile, Australians are yet again responding with compassion, pledging so far in excess $200,000 to the Australian Red Cross 'Asia Earthquake Appeal'.

'This is another generous response from the Australian people. But more funds are desperately needed to help assist the many hundreds of thousands of people affected by the disaster, both now and in the longer term,' concluded Mr Cleaver.

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 quake Appeal' in any capital city