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Red Cross $60,000 to tsunami-affected countries

New Zealand Red Cross pledges $60,000 to tsunami-affected countries

New Zealand Red Cross will give an immediate $60,000 to assist Red Cross societies in Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand with relief operations following tsunami which have killed at least 11,000 people.

Volunteers and staff from national Red Cross societies in the six devastated countries have been helping with the evacuation of survivors, dispensing first aid and providing emergency relief materials such as tents, blankets and food.

New Zealand Red Cross Acting Director General Andrew McKie said the $60,000 from New Zealand Red Cross disaster relief funds would assist with the relief operations, including the ongoing distribution of non-food items such as water containers, mosquito nets and first aid supplies.

New Zealand Red Cross worker Douglas Clark will fly to the Sri Lanka capital, Colombo tomorrow to join an international Red Cross team to assess the level of damage and needs in the six countries, and to help co-ordinate relief efforts.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched a preliminary appeal for 7.5 million Swiss Francs to assist some 500,000 people and bring immediate support to relief operations.

One million Swiss francs was released earlier today from the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund.

The International Federation is sending medical supplies for 100,000 people into Sri Lanka, the country hardest hit by the disaster from Copenhagen, Denmark. Additionally medicines to treat up to 2,000 possible cases of diarrheal disease will also be part of the shipment.

Mr McKie said the biggest health risk would be the spread of waterborne diseases, particularly malaria and diarrhea, as well as respiratory tract infections.
”Basic needs for victims of the disaster are shelter, tents, blankets, clean water, food and family utensils and mosquito nets,” Mr McKie said. “An important part of the operation will also be tracing lost relatives.” NZAID, the Government’s international aid and development agency, has also said several hundred thousand dollars will be made available to relief efforts. $20 donations to the New Zealand Red Cross appeal can be made by phoning 0900 31 100.

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