Bangladesh + 2 more

Asia Floods: Appeal passes £100,000 milestone

As the British Red Cross Asia Floods Appeal exceeds =A3100,000, local volunteers continue to come to the aid of millions of people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

"I'm delighted with the response to the appeal so far," said Mark Astarita, director of fundraising. "This shows how moved people have been by the sheer scale of the crisis in South Asia. But we need to raise at least another =A3150,000 to help those who have lost everything and are relying on local Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers for support."

The appeal, which was launched on 29 July, was given a welcome boost this week by a =A310,000 donation from the Freemasons' Grand Charity. Amy Cruse, trusts officer, said: "The Freemasons' Grand Charity are always quick to contact us when there is an emergency appeal. They have supported the Red Cross for many years and are committed to alleviating human suffering."

The floods have so far claimed at least 1,800 lives across South Asia. A staggering 67 million people have been affected. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is at the heart of the humanitarian response. Local staff and volunteers are distributing vital relief including food, shelter and clothing. They are also provided much-needed emergency healthcare.

With many people living in temporary shelters, in cramped and unsanitary conditions, the risk of disease is dramatically increased. In Bangladesh, for example, diarrhoea cases have risen substantially, with up to 10,000 new cases reported every day.

"In Bangladesh, the problem is that people are living together in very crowded conditions, so disease can spread quickly," said Simon Parry, a British Red Cross logistics expert. "With the monsoon expected to last for another month or so, it is unlikely that there will be an early end to this emergency."

Simon flew out to Bangladesh last week. He will help coordinate the distribution of relief aid to one million people.

The British Red Cross continues to help disaster-prone communities in Bangladesh and India to be better prepared by supporting community-based disaster mitigation programmes and training local volunteers in essential skills such as first aid, tracing and search and rescue.