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Update 9 on the humanitarian activities of Red Cross and Red Crescent in response to the Asia quake and tsunamis disaster

Wednesday January 19, 2005

Red Cross and Red Crescent has so far reached over 300,000 affected people, providing food and non-food assistance, safe water, medical aid and helping trace missing family members. A summary of some of key relief activities and assistance provided so far:
  • Over 9,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers have been providing emergency assistance since the beginning of the crisis throughout the region
  • In total, 63 Red Cross relief flights sent out to affected regions, with many more scheduled
  • 14 Emergency Response Units (ERUs) specialising in water purification, health care, logistics and telecommunications have been deployed (for more information on ERUs please see below)
  • An additional 200 Red Cross specialist aid workers deployed, 10 of them from Australian Red Cross
  • Red Cross has established two logistics bases - one on Batam Island (between Singapore and Indonesia) and one in Singapore
Highlights of selected Red Cross and Red Crescent activities as at 18 January 2005


  • Currently the Red Cross is providing assistance in the following towns and places in Aceh Province: Banda Aceh, Meulaboh, Salamanga, Teunom, Lhokseumawe, Calang and Lam No
  • Presently more than 700 Red Cross volunteers engaged in the response supported by an additional 50 Red Cross specialist aid workers
  • Red Cross has been given the task of delivering food assistance on behalf of the World Food Programme - so far 700 metric tons of food delivered to the affected area
  • 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 2 million litres of clean water for the affected population
  • In Lam No, Calang, Teunom and Meulaboh, five helicopters and three boats delivered relief and medical supplies on 15 and 16 January
  • 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 IDPs camps
  • Currently there are six Red Cross ERUs operational in Indonesia, including Basic Health Care, Water & Sanitation, Telecommunications and Logistics ERUs
  • A plan of action is being prepared to provide emergency disaster response services for 50,000 families (250,000 people) in western and eastern Aceh over the next three months.
  • 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 20,000 people
  • 40,000 more people being assisted and housed in 66 Red Cross camps
  • In Trincomalee, Pottuvil and Ichichilampattai, Red Cross Health Care ERUs are treating over 700 patients each day
  • Red Cross teams have cleaned 2,100 wells.
  • In the southeast 4,413 families received family tents, and further 5,001 families 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 carrying out relief work, psychological support and the burial of bodies. The Red Cross 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.
  • 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 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 have arrived and been distributed to the affected population
  • Over 4000 people are estimated to be homeless. The Malaysian Red Crescent is providing relief items, registering beneficiaries, providing tracing services and psychosocial support services
  • Red Crescent teams from Malaysia are in Aceh, including 5 doctors and paramedics
To donate to Australian Red Cross Asia Quake and Tsunamis Appeal, log onto, call toll free 1800 811 700 or donate at any Commonwealth Bank, St. George Bank branch.

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

Red Cross Emergency Response Units 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.

Referral Field Hospital
Serves a first level referral hospital with medical and surgical units organised in a modular way. This unit can provide a full range of services when local medical facilities are insufficient or have been destroyed. The unit has 120 to 150 beds and can serve a population of up to 250,000 people.