Red Cross winding down tsunami fundraising

from Canadian Red Cross
Published on 27 Jan 2005
Ottawa, January 27, 2005 -- The Canadian Red Cross is winding down its fundraising in support of tsunami relief in Asia.

"The outpouring of care and generosity has been overwhelming here in Canada - and around the world," says Canadian Red Cross Secretary General Dr. Pierre Duplessis. "With donations we now have - and those we are counting on from initiatives not yet concluded - Red Cross is confident we'll have enough to complete our tsunami relief, recovery and rehabilitation programs over the next ten years."

The 181 national societies belonging to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have now collected $1.4 billion for tsunami aid - including $160 million from individuals, corporations and governments of Canada. This does not include funding from the federal government's matching program.

Dr. Duplessis, who returned Sunday after meetings in Sri Lanka and India, says the IFRC's decision to wind down fundraising was based on progress of damage and assessment reports, consultation with other relief agencies, and Red Cross experience in disaster management.

"There's enough information to forecast that we will have sufficient funding," says the Secretary General. "In Canada, we're still counting on proceeds from upcoming tsunami fundraising events and initiatives that have been coordinated with Red Cross, but those approaching us to fundraise from this point forward will be encouraged to consider the plight of those affected by other disasters and conflict for which aid is underfunded."

The International Red Cross has already completed 77 tsunami relief flights. More than 9,000 trained Red Cross workers continue relief efforts in Asia that are only now moving beyond the 'emergency' phase. In the 30-plus days since the disaster, Red Cross has provided ongoing assistance to more than 500,000 people - giving them clean water, temporary shelter, food and basic relief items.

On Monday, Dr. Duplessis outlined Canadian Red Cross plans to allocate more than $60 million of donations made by Canadians to emergency tsunami relief in the first three months. The remainder is earmarked for long-term recovery and rehabilitation programming - including health care; psychological support; the reconstruction of homes, schools and other important community facilities; and helping survivors regain their economic ability through job creation and support.

"The devastation I witnessed was so complete that I can only commend all aid workers for their determination and ingenuity in delivering aid in the early days of this response," says Dr. Duplessis. "I'm pleased to tell you that there has been tremendous improvement in access - and aid is now flowing swiftly and effectively."

Dr. Duplessis also commended all Canadians who made financial donations and the thousands who volunteered their time and talents to support response efforts at Red Cross offices across the country. "It's been a remarkable demonstration of the power of humanity," he says. "We deeply appreciate the support - and will continue making every effort to turn your care and concern into meaningful help."

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 181 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The Canadian Red Cross mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

For more information, contact:

Suzanne Charest
Canadian Red Cross
Manager, Media Relations
Tel: (613) 740-1928
Cel: (613) 222-6196