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Update 11 on the humanitarian activities of Red Cross and Red Crescent in response to the Asia quake and tsunamis disaster

Tuesday February 8, 2005

The Red Cross and Red Crescent is active in seven countries hit by last December's earthquake and subsequent Bay of Bengal tsunamis. From Malaysia and the worst affected Aceh Province in Indonesia to Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Maldives and India, the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network has flexed its muscles to deliver thousands of tonnes of humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people across the disaster area.

In addition, more than 12,000 local Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and nearly 500 international aid workers, 15 of whom are Australians, are involved in what has been described as one the largest relief operations in living memory.

Here in Australia, Red Cross has raised over $90 million, of which $23.5 million has already gone to support the emergency phase of the operation.

Key Red Cross & Red Crescent highlights of the last two weeks

  • A total of 125 Red Cross relief flights have carried humanitarian relief goods to the affected countries
  • More than five million litres of clean water have been produced and distributed to some 80,000 people in Aceh Province
  • Every day 20,500 people in Sri Lanka have access to Red Cross clean water

Highlights of selected Red Cross and Red Crescent activities as at 4 February 2005


  • 41,628 bodies recovered by Indonesian Red Cross
  • Relief goods distributed to some 40,400 people along the west coast of Aceh between 11 and 26 January
  • In Meulaboh, doctors, nurses and surgeons from Japanese Red Cross treat 342 patients between 25 and 30 January
  • In Banda Aceh, a six member Malaysian Red Crescent medical team arrive to bolster existing Red Cross and Red Crescent activities on the ground as well as operate mobile clinics where 80 patients per day are treated
  • Essential household items, such as blankets, soap and water containers distributed to 300,000 people
  • 1,500 patients treated at 100-bed Red Cross field hospital in Banda since it opened at the beginning of January
  • 79,842 children in Aceh and Sumatra have been vaccinated against measles in a campaign coordinated with UNICEF and partners including the Red Cross and Red Crescent


  • In Pottuvil and Komarri, Red Cross delivers non-food items to 2,400 families
  • 30,000 people have access to clean water as well as sanitation facilities; 20,500 of which have access to clean water provided on a daily basis from Red Cross water teams
  • In Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Jaffna, Killinochichi and Mullaitivu districts, the Red Cross has distributed 30,000 family kits containing essential households items such as cooking pots, jerry cans, plastic sheeting, matches, candles as well as plastic plates, cups, forks and knives
  • In Batticaloa, the Red Cross mobile clinic has been visiting 180 patients every since December 26 2004.
  • 26,000 families in Sri Lanka have received food and non-food items
  • More than 28,000 tarpaulins and tents have been distributed by the Red Cross providing much needed shelter to affected families
  • In southern Galle district, distributions have reached over 60,000 people


  • In and around Port Blair - the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Red Cross is producing 100,000 litres of clean drinking water daily; enough to support 1,300 families per day


  • The Red Cross continues to generate electricity for 7,900 people


  • 1,205 families have received cash donations as well as relief items including rice, sugar, mineral water, canned drinks, noodles as well as clothing


  • In the six affected provinces in the south of the country nearly 1,500 Red Cross volunteers have supported some 35,460 people with relief supplies including both food and non-food items.

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 patients needing 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.