Red Cross raises funds for the victims of the Vanuatu earthquake

Suva [Fiji Isl.]/Geneva, December 2

The Vanuatu Red Cross and the International Federation are raising funds and organising relief to assist victims of the massive 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Vanuatu on November 27. The earthquake caused a giant tidal wave that killed 12 people, injured scores and destroyed the homes of over 1,000 people.

On Wednesday, December 1, the International Federation launched a preliminary appeal for US$122,000 to assist 1,000 worst affected families in the islands of Pentecost, Ambrym, Paama and Epi, which bore the brunt of the earthquake and the tidal waves that followed. Entire villages have been destroyed and numerous landslides badly damaged roads, bridges and buildings.

"The water supply system is severely affected as almost 90 per cent of the concrete storage tanks were damaged," says Godwin Ligo, the Vanuatu Red Cross Society's chief executive officer. The tanks are the islands chief water source.

The International Federation earlier released US$32,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Funds for immediate procurement of urgently needed relief materials. The Vanuatu Red Cross is locally raising funds for food, clothes, blankets and medicines.

The International Federation's Head of Regional Delegation in Suva, Fiji, Abbas Gullet will assist the Vanuatu Red Cross to undertake detail assessment of needs in the affected areas. The Australian Red Cross is ready to support the health and water and sanitation aspects of the assessment.

Vanuatu's National Disaster Coordinating Committee, of which the Red Cross is a member, requested the Red Cross to raise and distribute rice, tinned fish and sugar to affected people.

"There is an urgent need for shelter materials, blankets, cloths, water containers, basic medicine, rice and tin food such as fish and meat and portable water," says Gullet.

To date, the Vanuatu Red Cross has distributed 200 tarpaulins, 150 blankets, 20 bales of clothes, cooking sets, 25 Calico rolls, 1,000 water purification tablets and 50 jerry cans to affected families.

For further details, please contact:

In Port Vila, Vanuatu:
Godwin Ligo
Vanuatu Red Cross Society - (678) 27418

In Suva, Fiji
Abbas Gullet
Head of Regional Delegation (67)- 9 - 311855