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Stamford, CT, December 27 2004 – AmeriCares is mobilizing relief efforts to Asia today, in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami waves that killed more than 22,000 people. AmeriCares’ initial response includes a major airlift to Sri Lanka and additional relief shipments to other affected countries such as Indonesia, India and Thailand, where more than a million people have been displaced from their homes.An AmeriCares emergency response team will leave for Sri Lanka this evening. The airlift to Sri Lanka is expected to depart from the AmeriCares operational hub in Amsterdam, and will bring medicines and medical supplies, water purification treatments, personal hygiene items and other relief supplies to the affected areas. In the wake of the disaster, local authorities fear an outbreak of disease and report that the availability of safe drinking water is limited in many areas. The AmeriCares relief effort will include water purification treatments to provide four million liters of clean drinking water.
“We are moving quickly to help the survivors and to prevent further loss of life on the other side of the world,” said Carol Shattuck, chief administrative officer of AmeriCares. “We have spoken to our partners and to government officials in the affected countries and will continue to bring aid as long as it is needed.”
The tragedy began yesterday morning when a massive 9.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island in the Indian Ocean. In its aftermath, staggering tidal waves of up to 30 feet high obliterated seaside resorts and villages in the surrounding countries, causing death and destruction in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives, Burma and Bangladesh.
For the AmeriCares team, this disaster is a stark reminder of last year’s earthquake in Iran, which also occurred on December 26. That quake, which lasted just 13 seconds, killed 40,000 people and entirely destroyed the ancient city of Bam. AmeriCares responded immediately to that emergency, sending an airlift of 72,500 pounds of medicine and supplies to aid the 20,000 survivors.
To support AmeriCares relief efforts in Southern Asia, log onto www.americares.org or call AmeriCares directly at 1-800-486-HELP (4357).