Red Cross assists after deadly Spanish quake

Thousands of residents of the Spanish town of Lorca are relying on emergency aid after two earthquakes caused severe damage and led to eight deaths (including two pregnant women) on Wednesday afternoon. Some 170 people were injured, three of them critically. Among the most urgent needs are basic health care, psychosocial support, food and shelter.

Spanish Red Cross has deployed some 250 staff and volunteers to the town, along with 24 ambulances, three field hospitals and two Coordination Centres. Since yesterday afternoon, the Red Cross has been distributing 10,000 blankets, 2,000 beds, maternal and child health kits, water and food to alleviate the most pressing needs of the population.

Six Rapid Response Emergency teams (ERIE) are operational in the area. They are coordinating their relief actions with 800 military and civil guard personnel who have erected 370 army tents and a camp hospital. The Red Cross has activated its Humanitarian Emergency Agreement with Carrefour Foundation to provide food and water for 10,000 people, and today augmented its humanitarian operation in Murcia with psychosocial support teams from Madrid, Alicante, Almeria and Murcia.

One of the affected, Edgar Rosales, told media: "We spent the night outside here in the square. The emergency workers are giving us food and blankets. We're not allowed to go into our apartment until an engineer comes and looks at our building.”

"The direct and indirect victims need shelter, food and water but also, more than ever, psychosocial support to get over the emotional impact ", José Ramón Delgado, volunteer of the Psicological Support Emergency Team of the Spanish Red Cross in Lorca, Murcia.

Wednesday's earthquake was revised down by the USGS from an initial estimate of magnitude 5.3, but was relatively close to the surface at a depth of just one kilometre.