Contributions needed for tsunami relief

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2005

WASHINGTON – The American Red Cross is responding to the large-scale disaster in southern Asia after the earthquake off the west coast of Indonesia struck on December 26th and triggered a number of tsunami waves that caused massive flooding and severe damage in several countries.

An American Red Cross volunteer will be deployed from the United States in the next few days, and will join a team of British Red Cross responders in Sri Lanka, one of the hardest hit areas. Additional disaster relief personnel are on standby to travel to the region in the coming days.

Relief supplies, such as plastic sheeting, family size tents and hygiene kits, are ready for shipment to be distributed to people in the affected areas. These supplies are in a specifically designated area near the region so they can be mobilized quickly. It is estimated that nearly one million people living in the coastal areas have been affected.

When disasters like this strike, whether domestically or internationally, people want to help and often offer individual and/or collections of goods or in-kind items to show their support for the victims. However, the Red Cross does not have the capacity to accept or collect, and does not actively solicit individual or collections of in-kind donations in times of disaster.

With disasters of this magnitude, we understand the concern people have for their loved ones in the affected area. Information about U.S. Citizens living or traveling in the southern Asia region may be obtained by calling the U.S. Department of State at 1-888-407-4747.

The American Red Cross urges you to continue to try contacting your loved ones through normal means of communication. Keep in contact with relatives who may live close to, but outside the affected area.

The American Red Cross has an adequate response capacity with bilingual, internationally-experienced relief workers, and does not anticipate requiring further assistance from volunteers for this disaster. We encourage volunteers to contact their local chapter for volunteer opportunities now and in the future.

There is a tremendous outpouring of support from the public for victims of this disaster. The best way to help those affected is to make a contribution to a disaster relief organization like the American Red Cross. Your donation will allow the Red Cross to purchase relief items directly in the region, eliminating the costs of shipping and transport from the United States. Please support the International Response Fund at the American Red Cross by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW or visiting us at

You can help those affected by this crisis and countless others 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. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish).Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting