Sri Lanka + 2 more

Five years later AmeriCares still aiding Tsunami survivors

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STAMFORD, Conn., Dec. 18, 2009 - When a massive tsunami rocked Southeast Asia on the day after Christmas in 2004, AmeriCares quickly delivered seven emergency airlifts of medical aid and relief supplies for survivors in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India.

Five years later, AmeriCares is still assisting survivors through the humanitarian aid organization's largest relief effort to date. An unprecedented outpouring of support allowed AmeriCares to invest more than $45 million in recent years to rebuild schools, hospitals, water systems and livelihoods in tsunami-ravaged communities.

AmeriCares recently completed one of its largest tsunami relief projects - a new, $3.5 million hospital wing for the District Base Hospital at Elpitiya in Sri Lanka. AmeriCares built and fully equipped the four-story addition, which increased the medical services offered and doubled the number of beds to 300. The hospital was inundated with patients after the tsunami because so many other health care facilities were destroyed or unable to handle the demand.

AmeriCares relief worker Rachel Granger, who was in Sri Lanka earlier this week for the opening, said it was rewarding to see patients receiving care in the new facility.

"After the tsunami we immediately began rebuilding the health care systems in Indonesia and Sri Lanka from the ground up, training nurses to replace health care workers who lost their lives and renovating or rebuilding more than 40 health care facilities," Granger said. "AmeriCares has provided tsunami-affected communities with the resources they need to provide medical care for thousands of patients."

AmeriCares is also helping communities impacted by the tsunami prepare for future disasters.

"Preparing communities for the next emergency is a critical component of our work, especially in disaster-prone regions around the world," said Christoph Gorder, Vice President of Emergency Response for AmeriCares. "With better coordination among all responders, more lives can be saved in those critical first 48 hours after a catastrophe."

Since 2004, AmeriCares has also:

- Outfitted nearly 100 hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities with new medical equipment and medicines

- Trained more than 20,000 health care workers

- Provided job training and other livelihood support for more than 7,500 families

- Built or renovated more than 20 schools

- Built more than 20 community water systems

CONTACTS:

Peggy Atherlay
203-658-9626
patherlay@AmeriCares.org

Donna Porstner
203-658-9579
dporstner@AmeriCares.org

About AmeriCares

AmeriCares is a nonprofit international disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization, which delivers medicines, medical supplies and aid to people in crisis around the world. Since it was established in 1982, AmeriCares has distributed more than $9.0 billion in humanitarian aid to 137 countries. For more information, visit www.AmeriCares.org.