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Update 15 on the humanitarian activities of Red Cross and Red Crescent in response to the Asia quake and tsunamis disaster

Thursday May 5, 2005

The Red Cross and Red Crescent continue to work with the tsunami-affected communities across twelve countries in Asia and Africa.

According to the authorities, the disaster left more than 176,000 people dead, 49,956 missing and more than 1.7 million displaced in a dozen countries of south Asia and eastern Africa.

The massive relief operation - the largest in living memory - shows no sign of abating. At least 22,000 local Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers continue their humanitarian task of getting aid to the most vulnerable in the worst affected areas, including Aceh Province, India and north and east of Sri Lanka.

Here in Australia, Red Cross alone has so far deployed 39 aid workers to deliver thousands of tonnes of aid such as food and tarpaulins for shelter as well as millions of litres of clean drinking water to thousands of vulnerable people.

In total nearly 500 international Red Cross and Red Crescent aid workers from more than 40 countries as far a field as Britain and Austria, Saudi Arabia and Malta have mobilised to assist in the relief effort. Together they will work for as long as it takes to ensure the people whose lives were shattered can once again live with dignity.

The Asia Quake and Tsunamis appeal launched by Australian Red Cross on December 27 but now officially closed, raised over $105 million. Of this total, $24 million has been contributed towards the international relief effort of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

But the real task of long-term recovery and rebuilding shattered lives and communities is still ahead of us. Red Cross is moving from emergency relief to the rehabilitation phase.

Tens of millions of dollars donated by the Australian community will be invested in long-term programs. For instance, in Indonesia houses, schools and medical facilities will be built. And in Sri Lanka hospitals refurbished and livelihood support programs set up.

Australian Red Cross will maintain a presence for as long as it takes in the affected regions of Indonesia and Sri Lanka and possibly other affected areas.

Key Red Cross & Red Crescent highlights of the tsunamis operation:

  • Since the beginning of the relief operation over 840,000 people affected by the disaster have received humanitarian assistance
  • Nearly 263,000 people have received food and non-food items such as blankets, tarpaulins, family and hygiene kits in Aceh Province
  • A total of 285 relief consignments (232 by air and 53 by sea) have now arrived in the affected countries, with a further 13 in the pipeline
  • Nearly 34,000 people in Indonesia and Sri Lanka have been able to restore family links and learn whether their family members are still alive

Highlights of selected Red Cross and Red Crescent activities as at 28 April 2005


  • A total of 262,940 people have received non-food items such as blankets, tarpaulins, cooking pots and mosquito nets as well as food items
  • In excess of 970,000 litres of water is being produced everyday, providing some 105,000 people with access to clean water
  • 6,344 patients have been treated by a Red Cross clinic in Teunom
  • Over 70,000 patients have received specialised health care at the Red Cross field hospital in Banda Aceh
  • In Calang 1,322 families have received additional baby kits, hygiene kits and stoves
  • The Red Cross continues to repair the water pipes at Meulaboh's main hospital and also take care of clinical waste. So far 70 per cent of the pipes have been repaired by water engineers
  • To date a total of 2,779 patients have been treated by the Red Cross basic health care unit in Meulaboh, with the unit also having administered 2,826 vaccinations


  • Red Cross has committed to the construction of 15,000 new houses for people whose homes were destroyed during the tsunami
  • More than 200,000 people have received non-food items such as blankets, tarpaulins as well as family and hygiene kits
  • 16,249 tarpaulins and tents have been distributed to families in Pottuvil, bringing the total number of families assisted with temporary accommodation in eastern Ampara district to over 11,900
  • Red Cross is providing approximately 35,000 people with daily access to clean water
  • Nearly 241,000 people have received bed sheets and blankets in east and south Sri Lanka
  • Red Cross continues to produce approximately 200,000 litres of water every day in Pottuvil
  • In Galle, Matara and Hambantota over 24,500 tarpaulins and 61 tents have been distributed to 13,999 families
  • Red Cross has now distributed more than 21,000 school bags and uniforms to children affected by the tsunami


  • The relief and rescue operation is nearing completion
  • In and around Port Blair - capital of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Red Cross is producing 100,000 litres of clean drinking water daily; enough to support 1,300 people


  • Red Cross has signed an agreement with the Maldives Minister of Finance to fund the construction of temporary shelter housing for over 9,000 people whose homes were lost during the disaster
  • Red Cross has restored electricity for more than 30,000 people
  • A new shipment of 8,000 family hygiene packages, as well as 5,000 mattresses and 10,000 pillows arrived to support 20,000 homeless people and their host families over a six-month period
  • A water and sanitation delegate from Australian Red Cross is helping support the rehabilitation and re-development of water and sanitation activities