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Update 5 on humanitarian activities of Red Cross and Red Crescent in response to the Asia quake and tsunamis disaster

Friday January 7, 2005

Red Cross and Red Crescent has so far reached some 200,000 affected people, and the relief activities are increasing. Below is a brief summary of some of the key relief activities and assistance provided so far:

  • More than 30 Red Cross flights with relief goods have arrived

  • Some 14 Emergency Response Units (ERUs) specializing in water purification, health care, logistics and telecommunications have been deployed

  • Over 9,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are providing survivors with food, clothes and other emergency articles throughout the region

  • Over 100 international Red Cross staff deployed, 8 of them Australian Red Cross


INDONESIA 6 Australian Red Cross delegates deployed (water & sanitation expert, logistician, disaster response expert, information officer, project manager, health expert)

Five trucks carrying relief supplies have left Medan for Meulaboh by road containing family kits consisting of tents, tarpaulins, kitchen utensils, blankets and water containers for 1,000 families.

Additional non-food emergency relief supplies for a further 20,000 people will be transported to Meulaboh by US Navy ship.

There are currently 6 emergency response units (ERUs) in Indonesia. In Meulaboh district, Red Cross is treating 300 patients, of which 80% of cases are for trauma, while a water & sanitation unit is producing clean water at the rate of 75,000 litres a day.

Indonesian Red Cross volunteers continue to evacuate bodies from the rubble and ruins of towns and villages struck by the tsunami along the west coast of Sumatra. Currently more than 600 volunteers are working in locations across Aceh province.

Markku Niskala, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is visiting Red Cross operations in Medan today and Aceh tomorrow, after attending an ASEAN meeting in Jakarta.

SRI LANKA 2 Australian Red Cross delegates deployed (health and tracing)

Colin Powell is due to visit Red Cross relief distributions in Galle tomorrow. A Sri Lankan Red Cross distribution to between 500-600 disaster victims of non-food parcels containing plastics sheets, kitchen utensils, saris and sarongs, bed sheets, lanterns and hygiene items taking place today in Dampa.

There are currently eight emergency response units in Sri Lanka. One of them, a Basic Health Care ERU, is based in a local hotel in Pottuvil, which has been provided by the local community. So far this ERU has assisted on average 40 people per day. There is also a mobile medical team covering scattered temporary shelters south of Pottuvil. Another Basic Health Care ERU is in the damaged general hospital in Pottuvil and is treating between 80-100 patients per day.

In Trincomalee, another Red Cross Basic Health Care ERU is seeing about 320 patients per day, in an area where there are more than 13,000 people still living in temporary shelter.

Sri Lanka Red Cross is supporting 40,000 people in 66 Red Cross camps, and they are also assisting in other camps. More than 8,000 Sri Lankan Red Cross volunteers are active in the response.


Thai Red Cross is the lead agency in food distributions for the country. Food is being provided to affected populations through a mobile canteen in Ban Muang, where 5,000 packs of food are distributed daily to the affected population, rescuers and volunteers.

In Tak Kua Pa district, a Red Cross mobile kitchen has been catering to 2,000 people, who have been evacuated to a school, since 27 December. Another 400 people from Baan Nam Khem village, staying in an evacuation centre, are also receiving food.

Thai Red Cross mobile health teams have visited and are treating people at emergency camps in 12 locations in Phang Nga, Phuket and Ranong provinces. The mobile medical teams are dressing wounds, conducting operations, and transporting the injured to the Phuket hospital, or to the Phuket airport where they are then transported to hospitals in Bangkok.


Three hundred Indian Red Cross (IRCS) volunteers are involved in relief distribution and directing people to hospital in branches across the country. Disaster mental health volunteers are carrying out relief work, psychological support and the burial of dead bodies. The IRCS is continuing its services 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 from IRCS headquarters.

The Indian Red Cross will be sending 10 psychologists to address the psychosocial needs of those affected in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Society's disaster health response unit is also due to be sent to the islands.


Myanmar Red Cross yesterday sent family kits including one (21kg) bag of rice, plastic sheeting for temporary shelter and cash contributions towards the purchase of housing materials.

So far, Myanmar Red Cross has distributed 200 household kits and predicts a need for rehabilitation and water and sanitation in the future.


Relief items including 500 blankets, 20,000 tins of beans and 10,000 tins of fish are expected to arrive shortly on the main island for distribution, while a seven member Red Cross Field Assessment and Co-ordination Team (FACT) is working in the country.

To donate to Australian Red Cross Asia Quake and Tsunamis Appeal, log onto, call toll free 1800 811 700 or make a donation over the counter at any branch of theCommonwealth, St George Banks, Australian Credit Union in NT & SA, New England Credit Union or Adelaide Bank.