Canadian Red Cross

Canadian Red Cross

May 08, 2008 23:12 ET

First Red Cross Relief Flight Lands in Myanmar

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 8, 2008) - The first plane load of aid for the victims of Cyclone Nargis arrived in Myanmar this morning from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The chartered flight carried six tonnes of emergency shelter items, and also included tarpaulins, ropes, and tools.

This flight and the others scheduled to follow are vital for the growing relief operation says Bridget Gardner, the International Federation's head of delegation in Myanmar.

"One of the immediate needs is to get shelter to the people," says Ms. Gardner. "Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes and are sleeping in temples and pagodas or in the open."

An additional eight tonnes of shelter supplies will leave Kuala Lumpur this evening. The Thai Red Cross has also loaded mosquito nets, food and health and hygiene kits for 1,000 families onto a Thai government plane.

The Canadian Red Cross is making a $200,000 contribution to the Federation effort to provide aid to those devastated by the cyclone in Myanmar. Combined with the initial $100,000 contribution announced earlier this money, generously donated by Canadians, will help deliver essential supplies to the hardest hit areas of the country.

The Canadian International Development Agency has approved a $500,000 contribution to the Federation's appeal while an additional $100,000 has been contributed by the Ontario government.

"These contributions will allow life-saving supplies like emergency shelter kits, clean water, mosquito nets and other items to reach to the Myanmar Red Cross for distribution to the most vulnerable," says Charlie Musoka, emergency operations manager for the Canadian Red Cross."

According to latest reports as many as 22,500 people have died, with an additional 41,000 reported missing.

Estimates show that 95 per cent of houses in the affected delta region are destroyed, and more than one million people are homeless.

On this World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, the Canadian Red Cross honours the 27,000 Red Cross volunteers who have been working tirelessly on the ground in Myanmar since this disaster happened.

"Thousands of Myanmar Red Cross volunteers have been working around the clock to help the people - many of them family, friends and neighbours - affected by this cyclone," says Mr. Musoka. "It has been an extraordinary effort and the Canadian Red Cross will continue to support their response efforts in the days and weeks to come."

Canadians wishing to make a financial donation may give online at 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 "Myanmar Cyclone" and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 170 Metcalfe Street, Suite 300, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2P2.

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 186 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

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