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British Red Cross launches Asia Pacific Disasters Appeal in response to multiple disasters

30/09/2009
For further information please contact
Penny Sims
Telephone: +44 207 877 7044, email: PSims@redcross.org.uk, out of hours: 07659 145 095

British Red Cross launches Asia Pacific Disasters Appeal in response to multiple disasters
• Typhoon Ketsana affects hundreds of thousands across Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia and Laos
• Tsunami wrecks devastation on Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga
• Earthquake strikes off Sumatra, Indonesia
• To donate go to www.redcross.org.uk/asiapacific or 0845 054 7201

The Red Cross is now responding to three near-simultaneous disasters across the Asia Pacific region. The British Red Cross is appealing for funds in response to the escalating situation in Samoa, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines.

75 people have been confirmed dead in the Sumatran island capital of Padang, but potentially this number could increase to thousands. The Indonesian Red Cross have deployed teams to the area to conduct evacuations and assessments.

The Asia Pacific region is tragically living up to its reputation as one of the most disaster-prone regions of the world. Early warning systems supported by local Red Cross volunteers have helped to save many lives, but the scale of the disasters has had a huge and devastating impact.

Mike Goodhand, head of disaster management at the British Red Cross, said:
“These multiple disasters have wreaked havoc across the region. Local staff and volunteers have been working to evacuate families, set up shelters and distribute emergency aid, but much more will be needed and we need to act now.”

Typhoon Ketsana

In the Philippines, 600,000 people are now homeless. The Red Cross has opened 130 evacuation centres and more than 75,000 survivors are receiving safe shelter, hot meals and blankets.

Volunteers have been carrying out search and rescue operations and have saved more than 400 people from rooftops and high walls during severe flooding. They are also distributing relief items and comforting traumatised families, as well as giving first aid to the sick and injured.

In Vietnam, Red Cross volunteers helped evacuate more than 160,000 people before Typhoon Ketsana hit. They are also providing 1,600 household kits, including mosquito nets, blankets, water containers and kitchen sets to people affected by the typhoon.

The Red Cross has also deployed emergency assessment teams to find out the needs of people affected by flooding as a result of Typhoon Ketsana moving through Cambodia and Laos.

Samoan islands tsunami

The Samoa Red Cross has released £197,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to respond to the tsunami. It has established five camps on higher ground where it is evacuating people as aftershocks continue.

A team from the Australian and New Zealand Red Cross has been deployed to assess the needs for shelter, water and sanitation and psycho-social support.

Indonesia earthquake

Initial reports suggest 75 people have died in the Sumatran island capital of Padang, but potentially this number could increase to thousands. The Indonesian Red Cross have deployed teams to the area to conduct evacuations and assessments.

The Red Cross has also deployed a disaster management specialist to Indonesia to assess the needs of those affected by the earthquake.

Emergency appeal

The British Red Cross already released £50,000 from its own Disaster Fund as part of an initial response to the devastation. Tesco have donated £30,000 to support the Red Cross response in Philippines and Vietnam.

Money raised by our Asia Pacific Disasters Appeal will help address the immediate needs of the hundreds of thousands of people affected in the region.
To donate go to www.redcross.org.uk/asiapacific or 0845 054 7201

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Penny Sims 020 7877 7044 psims@redcross.org.uk or out of hours pager 07659 145 095

Note to editors:


British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

www.redcross.org.uk

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