Fund Raiser for Asian Relief Effort will be held in January in Tumbler Ridge

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am going to tell you a little about the Red Cross involvement with the devastation that has occurred in Southeast Asia. As many of you know, I am a Red Cross Disaster worker and I?m going to talk about what we can do to help out.

Initially, the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies began coordinating flights of essential supplies to be shipped from around the globe.

Within 24 hours, medical supplies and medicines for some 120,000 people were sent to Sri Lanka. Supplies being sent to all affected countries include: clean drinking water, food, blankets, tents which provide shelter and protect against malaria, medicines to treat waterborne disease and medical supplies to help the injured. Emergency response units that specialize in water and sanitation, health care, aid distribution, telecommunications and logistics have been deployed.

The Red Cross is also working to reunite families. An international website listing names of survivors and those seeking news of a loved one has been set up. Red Cross offices around the world are helping people make links.

The Canadian Red Cross began helping immediately, sending $200,000 from its existing International Disaster Relief Fund and launching an urgent appeal for funds.

Within the first two days after the disaster, Canadians had donated over $7 million to this cause. However, the need is enormous. The Red Cross has launched an appeal for more than $70 million (CAD) to help the victims of this horrific tragedy.

The needs of people affected by this disaster will be great for a long time to come. Financial donations are the best way to get the most appropriate help to the regions quickly as donations of food, clothing and other items come with a tremendous processing and transportation cost, which makes shipping them impractical. Therefore donations of items are not being accepted.

I told you that plans were already underway to organize a benefit concert to raise money and awareness for the Red Cross Asian relief effort. This event is being held on Saturday, January 15th in rooms 4 and 5 at the Tumbler Ridge Community Centre. Watch for signs around town for more information on times.

Any musicians wishing to perform, groups or organisations wishing to make donations, or if you have any other ideas on making this fund raiser a success, please contact me at Let?s work together to show we care.