Saturday January 1, 2005
In response to the unprecedented disaster in Asia, the Red Cross and Red Crescent has put in place what looks set to be the largest emergency relief operation ever.
Local Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers already providing emergency support in affected countries are being joined by staff from nearly 20 other countries, including Australia, Sweden, Germany, USA, Canada, UK, and Japan. Despite difficulties faced by these teams on the ground due to lack of access and transport and communications problems, a massive relief effort is under way.
Highlights of some Red Cross and Red Crescent humanitarian activites as at 1 January 2005
- Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia, PMI) is working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide relief in the most affected area of Aceh.
- More than 800 PMI volunteers deployed to assist throughout the region, distributing tarpaulins, clothing and emergency supplies.
- On 29 December 1,000 tarpaulins and 1,800 family kits distributed
- 2 hospitals in Aceh received medical supplies from the ICRC
- The ICRC is planning distribution to 300,000 people and deployment of a 100-bed field hospital
- 3 flights with relief goods from Denmark, France and Canada arriving today to Medan, Indonesia
- Hundreds of volunteers engaged
- 6 ERUs Emergency Response Units on the ground - 2 Basic Health, 2 Water sanitation, 1 Telecom and 1 Logistics Unit, two more in the pipeline
- Medical supplies and medicines for 125,000 people being distributed by Sri Lanka Red Cross volunteers
- 40,000 people being assisted and housed in 66 Red Cross camps
- 5 fully equipped and manned basic health care clinics established and operational in key areas of southern Sri Lanka
- 5 relief flights with emergency teams and relief items (tents, medicines, food) arrived
- Tamil Nadu: 4,000 saris, bed sheets and towels released from Red Cross warehouse for distribution. 300 volunteers, 25 doctors and 15 ambulances joined the relief effort. 5,000 families received 'family kits' of blankets, mosquito nets, cooking utensils, clothes and other items
- Andra Pradesh: 2,000 kitchen sets and 4,000 blankets being distributed
- Kerala: a team of Red Cross doctors and nurses on their way to support the relief effort
- Hundreds of volunteers continue with the massive relief effort, delivering body bags, distributing hygiene items and deploying medical staff to provide medical services.
National Societies in other affected countries are continuing to provide immediate relief to survivors.
To donate to Australian Red Cross Asia Quake and Tsunamis Appeal, log onto www.redcross.org.au, 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.
For more information about the Red Cross response go to our special section on the appeal (see link below).