The ABC is supporting the Australian Red Cross and other aid agencies with a national emergency relief appeal for the people of the Pacific affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam.
The Red Cross is the ABC’s partner for this national appeal, to be run across all ABC Radio, Television and online networks on Friday March 20.
ABC audiences will be encouraged to support Red Cross or the charity of their choice to fund humanitarian support for people affected by Cyclone Pam, especially in Vanuatu.
Tropical Cyclone Pam hit the Pacific region last weekend and at Vanuatu was measured at Category Five strength, the worst cyclone since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. The popular holiday destination has seen multiple fatalities and widespread destruction of homes and buildings.
Thousands of people urgently need first aid, shelter, healthcare, clean water and access to sanitation facilities. Red Cross is providing immediate relief across the island nation, working alongside other major Australian aid agencies in a coordinated response to the disaster.
Red Cross emergency response teams are also active in all parts of the Pacific affected by the cyclone including Kiribati, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands.
The ABC has a unique connection to the Pacific Island states, broadcasting and providing development support for decades. Radio Australia’s program Pacific Beat is broadcast throughout the day providing urgent relief information and connecting communities across the region.
Radio Australia will also broadcast ABC Local Radio on Appeal Day and programs highlighting the relief effort will be broadcast across all ABC platforms.
Managing director Mark Scott said the ABC had used the same approach with other appeals.
“We encourage our own community to consider how they can best offer support to a regional neighbour with whom we share a special connection,” he said.
“The Australian Red Cross is currently on the ground providing immediate relief through shelter, food and water. However while we will point to the Red Cross’ fundraising efforts on air and online, we will also highlight the efforts of other organisations working in the region including Save The Children, Oxfam and UNICEF so our audiences have plenty of options on how to help.”
Michael Raper, acting chief executive officer of Australian Red Cross welcomed the ABC’s support.
“There are critical needs across the country, with water cut off and food supplies getting very low. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes,” he said.
“Funds raised in the appeal will go to meeting the immediate needs of people in Vanuatu and Pacific countries, including clean water, food and shelter. Red Cross will also be helping communities to recover in the long term.
“This terrifying cyclone has severely affected at least half the country’s population and we ask all Australians to please help our Pacific neighbours get back on their feet.”
Donations can be made at redcross.org.au or 1800 811 700 or by supporting their preferred overseas agency listed at abc.net.au/appeals.