TAMPA - The American Red Cross is responding to the large-scale disaster in southern Asia.
An earthquake off the west coast of Indonesia struck on Dec. 26 and triggered a number of tsunami waves that caused massive flooding and severe damage in several countries.
It is estimated that nearly one million people living in the coastal areas have been affected.
American Red Cross disaster relief personnel are on standby to travel to the region in the coming days.
International Red Cross and Red Crescent society partners in the region have begun to mobilize staff and volunteers and deploy teams to the affected areas. Emergency Assessment and First Aid teams have already been deployed to some areas.
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 already located in an area near the region so they can be mobilized quickly.
When disasters such as this strike, whether domestically or internationally, people want to help and often offer individual 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 toll free at (888) 407-4747.
The American Red Cross urges people to continue to try contacting 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.
For information about volunteering to respond to disasters locally, contact the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross at (813) 348-4820.
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. A 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 (800) HELP-NOW or visit www.redcross.org. Contributions can also be mailed to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
Governed by volunteers and supported by community donations, the American Red Cross is a not-for-profit nationwide network of nearly 900 field units dedicated to saving lives, serving the community and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Led by one million volunteers and 36,000 employees, the Red Cross annually mobilizes relief to families affected by more than 70,000 disasters, provides training for almost 12 million people in lifesaving skills and helps U.S. military families stay connected worldwide. All Red Cross disaster relief assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. Donations enable the organization Red Cross to provide direct and immediate shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those who are in need.