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Reports From the Field
Stamford, CT, December 31 2004 – An AmeriCares airlift arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka yesterday afternoon (2 a.m. EST), bringing 30,000 pounds of medical and water purification supplies, as well as an emergency response team to aid the millions of people affected by Sunday’s earthquake and tsunamis.The airlift was met by a team of AmeriCares workers who have been in Colombo since Tuesday. AmeriCares Project Manager Amy Daniels made this assessment of the area:“Working with the prime minister’s office, we were able to do a fly-over via helicopter to assess the damage areas. Hardest hit was the Southern District, which includes the towns of Galle, Hambantota and Matara. The north and northeast areas were also strongly affected. We are working locally with ADRA (the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International) to coordinate our shipments to these areas. Our medicines will be given to inpatient hospitals and clinics, which are in desperate need for antibiotics, additional medicines and other supplies.”AmeriCares has also donated enough water purification treatments to provide four million liters of clean drinking water. “Because this disaster has created a dire situation of unsanitary conditions and dirty water, millions of people are now at risk for disease,” 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 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.