Fiji

Red Cross Red Crescent appeal for victims of Fiji's cyclone Ami

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The risk of serious outbreaks of water-borne diseases has increased in Fiji as victims of last week's cyclone Ami still lack access to clean water. At least 14 people were killed and more than 133,000 people affected by the destruction caused to homes, crops and infrastructure by the 185km strong-winds and subsequent floods and landslides on January 14.
With tens of thousands of people still in need of clean drinking water, shelter and other emergency relief supplies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an appeal for 820,000 Swiss francs (US$ 552,000).

The funds will be used to support the Fiji Red Cross to assist more than 30,000 people on Vanua Levu, the second largest island in the archipelago, Taveuni and other islands known as the Lau Group. Assistance will primarily focus on providing potable water, non-food relief supplies, shelter and reconstruction materials for community facilities such as schools.

"We really have to work fast to prevent an outbreak of water-borne diseases which is a serious risk now. People in urban and rural areas are using contaminated water sources as water systems have been damaged," warned Alison Cupit, director general of the Fiji Red Cross. "We also have to ensure the provision of clean water until those systems have been repaired."

Using its existing buffer stocks, the Fiji Red Cross has already helped more than 53,000 people with relief items including clothes, blankets, hygiene articles and tarpaulins. It has also distributed water containers and water purification tablets as well as deploying a water purification plant to the district hospital at Labasa on Vanua Levu, among the worst affected islands.

For further information, or to set up interviews (ISDN line available in Geneva), please contact:

In Suva, Fiji
Alison Cupit, D-G Fiji Red Cross Tel: + 679 331 4133

In Geneva
Jemini Pandya, Press Officer Tel: + 41 22 730 4570 / + 41 79 217 3374
Media Service Duty Phone Tel: + 41 79 416 38 81

The Federation, the national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross together constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. For further information on Federation activities, please see our web site: www.ifrc.org