5 October 2009
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Today (5 October 2009), the British Red Cross has launched an appeal for Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, to support people affected by the 8.3 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck on 29 September at 6:48am local time. Latest figures are that 129 people have died and 30,000 people are affected.
Samoa Red Cross and Tonga Red Cross staff and volunteers helped move people away from coastal areas as soon as the tsunami warning was issued and over 200 volunteers have been providing emergency support in the aftermath.
Rosemarie North, International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) communications officer, currently in Samoa, said:
“Thousands of people have lost their homes and livelihoods. Nearly a week on from the disaster and there is still devastation everywhere. The Red Cross is rebuilding lives and getting communities back on their feet.
“I have met so many people who have lost members of their families and hundreds have fled to the hills, scared to return and be near the ocean.
“The Red Cross continues to tackle immediate needs by providing food, water, blankets, cooking pots and tarpaulins to those affected, but is now looking ahead to providing safe water until damaged water supply systems are restored, preventing the spread of disease, and reconnecting families who have been separated.”
The British Red Cross is one of the charities benefiting from the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) East Asia Appeal currently raising money for Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.
Due to the scale of the Red Cross operation in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, the British Red Cross has launched the Samoa Tsunami Appeal specifically to raise funds to help those affected in the region.
Willie Poching, head coach of the Samoan national rugby league team and assistant coach of Super League finalists Leeds Rhinos, said:
“I have spoken to my sister back home in Samoa and everyone is still in shock at the scale of the disaster. There hasn’t been anything like this in living memory. Please give generously to the British Red Cross Samoa tsunami appeal and support their life-saving work.”
To donate, visit www.redcross.org.uk/samoatsunami or call 0845 054 7200
For more information on the British Red Cross please visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk
Notes to editors
To set up interviews with Rosemarie North in Apia, Samoa or Willie Poching in Leeds, UK – please ring Heron Holloway on 0207 877 7520.
The 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.