In recent days, the world has paused to commemorate the passing of six-months since the devastating earthquake and tsunami destroyed so many lives. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, galvanized by the courage and steadfastness of those affected, continues to work in ten countries to provide assistance. To date, more than one million people have received aid from the International Federation and its members.
Launch of new tsunami web section
While work to provide relief and rehabilitate lives, livelihoods and economies continues apace in affected countries, the Federation recognizes the importance of providing practical, user-friendly information to the public, including all of the people who have generously donated to Red Cross and Red Crescent appeals around the globe. Because of this, an ambitious expansion of the information provided on the Internet was launched on 24 June, to coincide with an increase in public interest around the time of the commemoration.
The site is designed to be both informative and interactive. Everybody, from the youngest to the oldest, from people highly familiar with Federation operations to those whose interest has been piqued for the first time can benefit from the broad range of information on offer. From country-by-country statistics; video interviews with Red Cross and Red Crescent delegates; stories from the field; opinion pieces, to Red Cross and Red Crescent programmes and relief parcels 'at a glance' - the new site has something for everyone.
The Federation encourages all people interested in Red Cross and Red Crescent tsunami-related operations to visit and enjoy the site at www.ifrc.org
The registration of beneficiaries and distribution of ration cards to each family has been completed. The total number of relief beneficiaries of the Federation and the Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia/PMI) now stands at 616,350 in Aceh province.
Relief distributions on Nias Island are also well underway, benefiting an additional 27,870 people affected by the 28 March earthquake. These distributions include tents, tarpaulins, bed sheets, mosquito nets, kitchen and cooking equipment, food, toolkits, hygiene supplies, blankets, jerry cans, and specialized relief parcels for families.
Training sessions have commenced for 22 Satgana (rapid deployment disaster response volunteer teams) in eight districts of Aceh province. Each Satgana team will be qualified to provide logistical support for relief response reaching 20,000 people, or a combined logistical response capability for up to 440,000 people.
A special distribution was arranged of replacement tents for those damaged by high winds and unseasonably heavy rains in a camp for internally displaced persons in Banda Aceh. Additional mosquito nets were provided to help protect against the impact of an increase in malarial mosquitoes breeding in standing waters not normally present in the dry season.
An estimated 10,000 people in 20 temporary living centres in Aceh province benefited from the launch of a community-based campaign to promote the importance of early warning mechanisms. Activities included a children's educational cartoon show and billboard displays for communicating awareness of disaster preparedness. The billboards also outlined the basics for building earthquake-resistant safe homes and the benefits of planting mangrove trees to act as tsunami wave buffers.
Distributions by the water and sanitation units have increased to 1.58 million litres per day throughout tsunami-affected areas of Indonesia.
The number of health facilities the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement will be reconstructing or rehabilitating in Sri Lanka has increased from 34 to 60. The agreement to undertake this work, worth CHF 100 million, was signed between the Federation, Sri Lanka Red Cross Society and the Ministry of Health and will improve primary health care facilities, hospitals and other facilities such as training schools and equipment storage buildings.
Virtually all the first phase temporary housing is completed and discussions are now taking place with the Government of Maldives to build additional accommodation blocks to assure SPHERE standards (minimum humanitarian benchmarks in disaster response) are fully met.
Federation delegates joined a United Nations-coordinated consultation meeting with representatives of displaced people on Raa Atoll as part of the process of involving communities in plans for new housing and related community infrastructure.
Southernmost Kaingthoung Island communities are building makeshift seawalls to protect coastline buildings from erosion and the impact of waves. This building project is supported by Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) through the provision of building materials and assistance with transportation costs.
MRCS is in the process of dispatching 3,500 family sets which include items such as cutlery, crockery, cooking supplies, soap, candles, clothing and plastic sheeting to replace distributed and re-stock warehouses in priority (flood prone) areas.
Extensions to health clinics in the Bari region have been agreed upon by German Red Cross, with the implementation of plans to commence in the near future.
A 3,695 kg consignment of disaster preparedness stocks, from the International Federation arrived in the Seychelles in early June. The relief items include 20 family tents, 10 office tents, 50 blankets, 50 tarpaulins and 50 kitchen sets.
The French Red Cross has assisted the Seychelles Red Cross through the provision of VHF radio communication equipment. Training has also been provided to more than 30 volunteers in radio communication.
For more details and news stories, photos and all operational updates related to the tsunami visit: http://www.ifrc.org/what/disasters/response/tsunamis/index.asp