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Red Cross launches appeal for Sth Asia earthquake

10 October 2005

Red Cross launches appeal for South Asia earthquake

New Zealand Red Cross today launched an appeal for those affected by the earthquake in South Asia, which struck the region bordering Pakistan, northern India and Afghanistan on 8 October.

Funds will go to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent which is initially seeking NZ$8.4 million to assist 30,000 families (some 120,000 beneficiaries) affected by the devastating earthquake.

New Zealand Red Cross Director General Andrew Weeks says funds will be used to provide survivors with food, tents, mattresses, blankets and cooking sets and to support Pakistan Red Crescent Society operations.

"Large numbers of people have been made homeless either through their dwellings being destroyed or severely damaged. The affected people require shelter, food, clothing and medicines," Mr Weeks says.

The Red Cross is coordinating with the United Nations, Non Governmental Organisations and the Pakistan Government to ensure aid relief gets to those most in need, and will continue to respond to the situation as it develops, Mr Weeks says.

"This is an initial response to the emergency, meant to mobilise resources rapidly. The Red Cross is ready to revise this appeal as new information arrives about the extent of damages and priority needs for the victims."

Pakistan Red Crescent and Indian Red Cross staff and volunteers were among the first on the ground contributing to rescue and relief efforts.

The Pakistan Red Crescent teams continue to lead the search and rescue effort in Islamabad where several apartment buildings collapsed. According to the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, some 150 people may still be trapped under the debris. So far 26 bodies have been taken out.

The Indian Red Cross Society has also mobilised some 400 volunteers to carry out rescue and relief work in the worst-affected areas, Baramulla and Uri.

New Zealanders can make donations to the South Asia earthquake appeal by calling 0900 33 200 or on-line at www.redcross.org .

ENDS

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