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AmeriCares Airlift Departs for Sri Lanka

  • December 29, 2004

Medical Relief Will Aid Victims of Earthquake and Tsunamis

Stamford, CT, December 29 2004 – An AmeriCares airlift has left Amsterdam and will arrive in Sri Lanka on Thursday, bringing 30,000 pounds of medical relief to aid the millions of people affected by Sunday’s earthquake and tsunamis.

The aircraft left Amsterdam at 1 p.m. local time (7 a.m. EST) and is scheduled to arrive in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo at 3 p.m. local time Thursday (2 a.m. EST). The plane is carrying disaster relief supplies including antibiotics, analgesics, basic first aid supplies, and enough water purification treatments to purify four million liters of water. Accompanying the airlift are Carol Shattuck, senior vice president of AmeriCares, and Dr. Jonathan Fine, a pulmonary specialist based in Norwalk, CT. The two will be met on the ground by a team of AmeriCares relief workers who arrived in Colombo yesterday, and will work with the prime minister’s office, local authorities and relief agencies to distribute the aid to those most affected.

This airlift is the first in a series of flights that AmeriCares is organizing to aid the survivors of the devastating earthquake and tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, estimated to have killed more than 60,000 people. AmeriCares is now at work mobilizing a second airlift for Colombo. In addition, the aid agency is also planning relief efforts to aid survivors in India and Indonesia.

“In the aftermath of this tragedy, millions of people are now at risk for diseases,” said Christoph Gorder, vice president of international programs for AmeriCares. “Without proper medical aid and attention, it is certain that will we see a massive public health crisis and epidemiological disaster across all of the affected countries. By working with the local health authorities and non-governmental agencies already in place, we can ensure that our medicines and other aid will reach those who need it the most as quickly as possible.”

The American public has responded with great generosity to support AmeriCares’ relief efforts. Pharmaceutical partners have been expediting donated shipments of antibiotics, wound care materials and other necessary relief materials for the upcoming airlifts. Many companies have also been making generous financial contributions, such as New York-based Altria Group, Inc., which donated $150,000 to help underwrite the cost of the AmeriCares’ airlift into Sri Lanka.

To support AmeriCares relief efforts in Southeast Asia, log onto our donation page for South Asia, or call AmeriCares directly at 1-800-486-HELP (4357).