Bangladesh: Red Cross urges Canadians to give generously in wake of cyclone
(Ottawa - November 20, 2007) As the impact of Cyclone Sidr on Bangladesh is becoming apparent, the Canadian Red Cross is appealing to Canadians to help assist more than three million people affected by the devastating storm. Ferocious winds and widespread flooding have destroyed an estimated 700,000 homes and left millions of people in urgent need of shelter and basic supplies.
“Immediate needs for the survivors include food, shelter, clean water and basic health care,” says Charlie Musoka, emergency response manager for the Canadian Red Cross. “Long-term needs in affected communities are also likely to include psycho-social support, shelter rehabilitation, restoration of water and sanitation facilities, as well as livelihoods provision and support.”
Nearly 40,000 Bangladesh Red Crescent Society volunteers began supporting evacuation efforts and working in 2,000 evacuation shelters two days before the storm. This effort is being lauded as having saved countless lives. Volunteers are currently on the ground helping to distribute relief items including dried food, drinking water and first aid.
“Emergency preparations made by the Red Cross Red Crescent, the government and other humanitarian organizations have effectively mobilized early warning systems and cyclone shelters,” says Musoka. “As we reach the remote communities, the full scale of the devastation is becoming visible.”
To help alleviate the impact of storms on the disaster-prone region, the Cyclone Preparedness Program run by the Government of Bangladesh was supported by the Bangladesh Red Crescent, the Government of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross to build shelters, train volunteers and mobilize an early warning system to reach rural communities.
In response to this disaster, the Canadian International Development Agency has generously donated $250,000 to support Red Cross relief efforts in the area. The International Federation in Geneva has also released $217,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to support Bangladesh Red Crescent relief operations. Canadians have already given close to $20,000 on the Canadian Red Cross website since Friday, but much more is needed.
Funds raised will be used to provide survivors with basic supplies, emergency shelter, and to ensure people have access to health care and clean water. More detailed assessments are being carried out to determine the longer-term needs of the affected communities.
Canadians wishing to make a financial donation may give online at http://www.redcross.ca/, call 1-800-418-1111 or contact their local Canadian Red Cross office. The 24-hour toll free line accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked “Bangladesh Floods” and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 170 Metcalfe Street, Suite 300, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2P2.
For more information, photographs or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Canadian Red Cross
Media Relations Line