Friday, October 2, 2009

Global Red Cross Effort Underway To Aid Disaster-Stricken Pacific Nations

Somoa tsunami damage:

Somoa tsunami damage:

As Southeast Asia and the South Pacific islands grapple with devastating earthquakes, a typhoon and a tsunami, the American Red Cross is helping to provide relief as part of the global Red Cross relief network.

The tsunami that hit American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga on September 30 destroyed villages and displaced thousands of residents, and the Red Cross is responding.

In American Samoa, the American Red Cross branch on the island is leading the response, focusing on providing food, water and needed supplies. The American Red Cross has a warehouse on the island with stocks of cots, flashlights, cooking supplies and clean-up supplies, and will be sending in additional supplies as flights become available. A leadership team of about 70 volunteers is also on its way to the island to supplement the local Red Cross workforce.

In the sovereign nations of Samoa and Tonga, their respective Red Cross societies are running relief efforts to provide assistance to affected residents, including operating five camps for now homeless families.

The American Red Cross is working with other Red Cross organizations in the other disasters that have hit the Asia Pacific area in recent days.

“We’re working closely with the countries that have been hit by these terrible disasters to make sure they have the resources they need—most importantly, clean water, food and shelter,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of International Services at the American Red Cross.

In Indonesia, two devastating earthquakes 24 hours apart have left nearly 1,000 dead and many others trapped. The Indonesian Red Cross has dispatched hundreds of volunteers to the quake zone to offer first aid services, shelter and other assistance for those in need, and is moving thousands of relief supplies to Padang.

The American Red Cross is providing an initial $100,000 from the International Response Fund to support the Indonesian Red Cross and stands ready to provide additional support, should it be requested. It is also sending three staff members, already working in Indonesia, to the quake zone.

Last week’s Typhoon Ketsana wreaked havoc across the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, causing record-level floods, destroying houses and taking lives. In addition to the thousands of local Red Cross volunteers and employees who are providing emergency relief in their countries, the American Red Cross is contributing an initial $100,000 worth of supplies — including mosquito nets, jerry cans and blankets — to the Philippines from the Red Cross warehouse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. An additional $50,000 cash is going to Vietnam to support their relief efforts.

The American Red Cross is also sending a shelter specialist to the Philippines, and in preparation for an unrelated storm, Typhoon Parma, which is on track to hit the Philippines, the organization is sending a leadership team to Saipan to supplement the local chapter. Additional volunteers and supplies will be sent as needed.

Joining us on today's News Talk Online on the Paltalk News Network at 5 PM New York time to tell us of the efforts and the need for donations will be Alex Mahoney who oversees the American Red Cross Pacific disaster relief efforts.

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