Agencies appeal for aid as they aim to provide clean water and prevent outbreak of disease
Monday 27 December 2004
International rescue missions and aid began arriving in the disaster-hit regions of south Asia yesterday.
As well as providing medical supplies and shelter, one of the main concerns is to avoid an outbreak of disease by providing clean water.
"We've had reports already from the south of India of bodies rotting where they have fallen and that will immediately affect the water supply especially for the most impoverished people," said Dominic Nutt emergency officer for Christian Aid.
Specialists from Britain and other European Union countries flew to Sri Lanka and the Maldives to assess what emergency aid was needed. The British Government is also considering chartering helicopters for search-and-rescue missions.
The International Federation of the Red Cross launched an appeal for donations, and said it was seeking an initial £3.4m, after releasing £455,000 from its disaster relief fund to get assistance moving in the region.
The EU made an immediate donation of ¤3m (£2.1m), the United States confirmed it would also be supplying aid and Britain's Department for International Development offered £52,000 to the World Health Organisation's response team.
Much of the focus for aid was on Sri Lanka; both the worst hit country and one blighted by a chaotic and under-developed emergency services system.
Oxfam has already begun distributing water and food to the worst hit areas. Head of the charity in Sri Lanka Phil Esmond said: "This is a massive humanitarian disaster and the communications are so bad we still don't know the full scale of it. Unless we get aid quickly to the people many more could die."
Save The Children said it had a team flying out last night from Britain to help workers already in Sri Lanka, and the International Rescue Corps said it had a team on standby.
David Alexander, international director of the British Red Cross, warned: "We are in for a big emergency disaster response, and we will be at it for many months to come.
"In this situation we have the unusual aspect that we have got wealthy international tourists who are affected," he added. The Red Cross Federation said it would be sending medical supplies for 100,000 people in Sri Lanka.
"The biggest health challenge we face is the spread of waterborne diseases, particularly malaria and diarrhoea, as well as respiratory tract infections," said Hakan Sandbladh, the federation's senior health officer in Geneva.
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 5 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...
£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...
£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...