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The Asia Pacific region has been hit by a series of calamitous natural disasters over the past seven days leaving tremendous destruction across four areas. The global Red Cross network has been among the first responders to provide relief and emotional support to traumatized families as well as first aid to the sick and injured.

In Indonesia, two devastating earthquakes 24 hours apart have left nearly 1,000 dead and many others trapped. The Indonesian Red Cross has dispatched hundreds of volunteers, including 45 doctors, to the quake zone to offer first aid services, shelter and other assistance for those in need, and is moving thousands of relief supplies to Padang.

On September 29, an 8.3-magnitude earthquake, followed by a tsunami, affected the Pacific islands of Samoa, Tonga and America Samoa, a United States territory. The American Red Cross is providing food, shelter, water and other needed supplies in American Samoa, as well as helping with debris removal. A leadership team of about 70 volunteers is also on its way to the island to supplement the local Red Cross workforce. In the sovereign nations of Samoa and Tonga, their respective Red Cross societies are running relief efforts to provide assistance to affected residents, including operating five camps for now homeless families.

Last week’s Typhoon Ketsana wreaked havoc across the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, causing record-level floods, destroying houses and taking lives. In addition to the thousands of local Red Cross volunteers and employees who are providing emergency relief in their countries, the American Red Cross is contributing an initial $100,000 worth of supplies — including mosquito nets, jerry cans and blankets — to the Philippines from the Red Cross warehouse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. An additional $50,000 cash is going to Vietnam to support their relief efforts.

Chronology of disasters striking Asia Pacific region:

  • Oct. 1: A second major earthquake shook Jambi province in Indonesia, 180 miles from the epicenter of the September 30 quake
  • Sept. 30: A 7.6-magintude earthquake was recorded off the West coast of Indonesia, about 30 miles from Padang, the capital of West Sumatra
  • Sept 29: A tsunami follows in the wake of the earthquake which affected the Pacific Islands of Samoa, Tonga and America Samoa
  • Sept. 29: An 8.3-magnitude earthquake affects the Pacific islands of Samoa, Tonga and America Samoa
  • Sept. 26: Typhoon Ketsana made its first landfall and dumped torrential rains in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos

The Red Cross urges those who have been able to contact loved ones on American Samoa to register them with Safe and Well, the best way to share information about their status. You can register on the Red Cross Safe and Well Web site at www.redcross.org/safeandwell. If you do not have internet access, call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-866-438-4636 to register your loved ones. The information you post will let other loved ones know about the well-being of those on the island. For any questions about Safe and Well email safe@usa.redcross.org.

You can help the victims of countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. Donations to the International Response Fund can be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at http://www.redcross.org.

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