American Red Cross Increases Pakistan Flood Support to $5 Million

  Aid includes supplies and financial assistance as two disaster experts leave for Pakistan

Washington, D.C., Tuesday, August 24, 2010 – As flood waters continue to wreak havoc on communities across Pakistan, the American Red Cross is increasing its support to $5 million to help families who have lost their homes and jobs and have little access to clean water and food.

“The need for increased support could not be more urgent, given that more than 10 million people in Pakistan are in need of humanitarian relief,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services for the American Red Cross. “Given this dire need, we are using reserve funds in addition to donations received for Pakistan to get more aid into Pakistan more quickly.”

The American Red Cross had previously committed $1 million in supplies and financial support to Pakistan relief, and today’s announcement is for a $4 million increase in support for the flood-ravaged country. The aid will go to support the efforts of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network on the ground in Pakistan. In addition to aid, two disaster experts are being deployed to Pakistan to help coordinate the relief efforts.

Tens of thousands of Pakistan Red Crescent staff and volunteers continue to work around the clock to distribute relief items, such as tents, water, and food to nearly 400,000 people. Thirty-seven Red Crescent field medical teams are now working up and down the flood zone and have treated more than 48,000 people, including – with epidemic fears growing – nearly 12,000 cases of diarrhea.

“One of our major concerns is that when people, especially children, are desperately thirsty they will drink from contaminated water sources, which can result in water-borne diseases such as cholera,” said Alex Mahoney, Asia disaster response manager for the American Red Cross.

The Pakistani government has not confirmed any cases of cholera, but tens of thousands of people are said to be suffering from the acute diarrhea that invariably follows major floods, which instantly contaminates natural water sources.

The global Red Cross and Red Crescent network is also increasing its response, with an increased appeal to help more than 900,000 people for 18 months. Seven Red Cross Emergency Response Units for relief, logistics, water and sanitation, and health are being deployed to support the ongoing relief efforts.

 The Pakistan Red Crescent Society, the equivalent of the American Red Cross in Pakistan, was formed in 1947 and similarly responds to floods, fires, droughts, earthquakes and other natural disasters in the country. It has approximately 130,000 volunteers and provides first aid and CPR training, blood collection, ambulance services, HIV/AIDS education and prevention and operates several auxiliary medical service centers.

 To help those affected by the flooding, please make a donation to the American Red Cross online at www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

 You can help people affected by disasters, like the floods in Pakistan, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.  Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.  Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

The American Red Cross increases aid to flood-ravaged Pakistan

Financial support and relief supplies totaling $1 million sent to help flood-affected communities

A family wades through flood waters while evacuating Baseera, a village in the Muzaffargarh district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

 

Washington, D.C., Tuesday, August 17, 2010 – As flood waters threaten to engulf new communities in the south of Pakistan, the American Red Cross is increasing its support to $1 million to help families affected by the worst flooding in that country in more than 80 years.“The extent of the devastation is massive, with the Pakistan government now estimating 20 million people are significantly affected by the floods,” says David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services for the American Red Cross. “With food supplies and crops destroyed, millions of people will need food aid, water and emergency relief for months to come.”

Thousands of Pakistan Red Crescent volunteers continue to distribute relief items, reaching approximately 350,000 people since the flooding started. And all of their available mobile emergency units are out in flood-affected communities and have now provided medical care to more than 30,000 people across the country.

The global Red Cross and Red Crescent network estimates that, in the near term, at least 6 million people will need emergency humanitarian assistance, in the form of safe water, tents and shelter materials, and medical help.

According to the United Nations, waterborne diseases continue to pose a risk to millions of people, especially children, living in the flood-affected areas. Contaminated water and the lack of medication are causing some of the main flood-related illnesses, such as respiratory tract infections and diarrhea, to be potentially deadly. Snake bites have also become a major medical issue.

In the northwest of the country, where the flash floods first struck, the waters have receded in many places and the devastation resembles an earthquake more than a flood, with bridges collapsed and houses destroyed. In the south, much of the affected area is still underwater, but hundreds of villages and countless thousands of acres of standing crops are still submerged, and the waters may not recede fully for more than a year.

Until now the American Red Cross had already pledged $250,000 for Pakistan relief – $150,000 worth of tarps, blankets and kitchen items as well as $100,000 in immediate financial support.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.