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Update 10 on the humanitarian activities of Red Cross and Red Crescent in response to the Asia quake and tsunamis disaster

Thursday January 27, 2005

In the first 30 days the global Red Cross network has provided essential support to over 500,000 affected people. Some 40 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from as many countries are involved in the effort, along with 9,000 local Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and nearly 300 international aid workers, of which 15 are from Australia. In addition, $23.5 million from the Australian Red Cross Appeal has already gone to support the emergency phase of the response.

Key highlights of the first 30 days:

  • Some 77 cargo flights carrying humanitarian relief supplies to the affected countries
  • Over 9,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers delivering first aid and medical assistance, collecting and burying bodies, distributing food and non-food assistance, arranging temporary shelter, and helping trace separated family members
  • 18 Emergency Response Units (ERUs) specialising in water purification, health care, logistics and telecommunications deployed (ERUs description at the end of this document)
  • An additional 300 Red Cross aid workers deployed, 15 of them from Australian Red Cross
  • Clean water for 115,000 people in Sri Lanka and Indonesia
  • Medical care for 1,000 people each day
  • Temporary shelter and food for 40,000 people in several countries
  • Psychological counseling for 11,000 affected men, women and children

Highlights of selected Red Cross and Red Crescent activities as at 26 January 2005


  • Currently the Red Cross is providing assistance in the following towns and locations in Aceh Province: Banda Aceh, Meulaboh, Salamanga, Teunom, Lhokseumawe, Calang and Lam NoPresently more than 1,000 Red Cross volunteers engaged in the response supported by an additional 50 Red Cross specialist aid workers
  • Red Cross has so far delivered 450 tons of relief items along the west coast of Aceh
  • In Banda Aceh, the Red Cross is delivering health services, family kits, food and blankets, and continues to help reunite families
  • In Meulaboh, a Red Cross water & sanitation unit has so far pumped 3 million litres of clean water
  • Red Cross is using five helicopters and five boats to deliver relief and medical supplies
  • Red Cross plans to provide items such as buckets, tarpaulins and clothing for up to 300,000 people in Aceh; has deployed a 100-bed field hospital; and plans to provide additional equipment to increase the supply of clean water in camps for internally displaced people
  • Currently there are six Red Cross ERUs operational in Indonesia, including Basic Health Care, Water & Sanitation, Telecommunications and Logistics ERUs
  • Procurement of six-month food rations for 22,000 families has begun


  • Thousands of Red Cross volunteers engaged in relief activities throughout the country, supported by an additional 60 Red Cross aid workers
  • Assistance delivered to 150,000 people (household items, bed sheets, buckets and cooking sets)
  • Currently 8 ERUs operational - 3 Basic Health, 2 Water & Sanitation, 1 Telecommunications, 1 Logistics and 1 Relief Unit
  • Four to five Red Cross planes with relief goods reach Colombo every day
  • Water & Sanitation ERUs are providing clean water for more than 35,000 people
  • 40,000 more people being assisted and housed in 66 Red Cross camps
  • Red Cross teams have cleaned 2,100 wells
  • In the southeast 4,413 families have received family tents, and further 5,001 families have received non-food assistance


  • 300 Red Cross volunteers are involved in relief distribution and directing people to hospital in branches across the country. Disaster mental health volunteers are providing psychological support and collecting the bodies. The Red Cross is assisting in the relief camps in Tamil Nadu through its 25 doctors and 15 ambulances. Altogether 10,000 family packs have been sent to the region
  • Five water purification plants are being set up in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • Indian Red Cross sent 8,000 family packs, 600,000 water purification tablets and a water purification unit for Andaman and Nicobar Islands


  • Red Cross established 17 generators to provide electricity to affected people
  • Red Cross trained 40 counsellors to assist the affected population throughout the country
  • 3,440 families will be housed in temporary shelters, which are being constructed
  • Relief supplies for 10,000 people distributed


  • Over 4,000 people are estimated to be homeless. The Malaysian Red Crescent has provided relief items, registration of beneficiaries, tracing services and psychosocial support services
  • Red Crescent teams from Malaysia are in Aceh, including 5 doctors and paramedics


  • Red Cross is the lead agency for all food distributions
  • 57 trucks, each with 6-7 tons of relief goods, reached affected areas of Thailand
  • Red Cross delivered 5,000 packs of food every day to the affected population and volunteers
  • Red Cross tracing teams are working to help reunites separated families


  • The Myanmar Red Cross and Federation have provided 612 family packs 50 kg of rice and funding support to beneficiaries for construction materials to rebuild their homes

Red Cross Emergency Response Units (ERUs) at a glance

Basic Health Care
Health facilities can be severely damaged or their resources stretched during an emergency. A Basic Health Care ERU provides immediate curative, preventative and community health care. Existing health care structures are assisted, rehabilitated or further developed, wherever possible. This ERU can serve the primary health care needs of up to 30,000 people. The unit also has 20 beds for overnight care.

Organising the flow of relief goods and other logistics tasks is key to a quick and effective response to emergencies. This ERU has been developed to effectively manage the arrival, clearance, storage and distribution of relief. The team can also prepare the arrival of other ERUs.

Water and Sanitation
In the aftermath of any crisis, it is vital to ensure the supply of safe water and proper sanitation for affected communities to ensure there is no spread of water-borne and other diseases. A Water and Sanitation ERU comprises four modules:

  • Treatment and supply unit, which treats up to 600,000 litres per day and provides drinking water for up to 40,000 people
  • Distribution and trucking unit; which stores and distributes 75,000 litres of drinking water per day to three separate storage and distribution systems
  • Specialised water and sanitation unit, which treats and provides safe drinking water and basic sanitation for health installations, and for up to 15,000 people
  • Mass sanitation unit, provides sanitation for up to 40,000 people.

For more information about the Red Cross response go to our special section on the appeal (see link below).