• A woman and two children in Asia
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The Challenge

Asia faces disasters of all types, including cyclones, floods, earthquakes and conflict. The region’s vulnerability is exacerbated by trends such as urbanization, environmental degradation and climate change. In 2010, more than 255 million people in Asia were affected by disasters.1 Population density amplifies the impact of any disaster and also makes infectious disease management a particular challenge. The majority of global measles deaths are now in India, and the HIV and AIDS epidemic is growing across the region, particularly among sex workers and drug users.

Disaster Response and Recovery

The American Red Cross plays an important role in responding to these challenges. By working with our humanitarian partners, we train and mobilize Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers to deliver lifesaving services in their communities. Our programs focus on responding to disasters and building safer communities. During times of disaster the Red Cross works with our Red Cross and Red Crescent partners to provide relief when a disaster hits and support recovery activities to help communities get back on their feet.

We meet the needs of disaster survivors by providing technical support, relief supplies and financial assistance to bolster operations led by Red Cross and Red Crescent partners. To respond quickly, we pre-position relief supplies in global warehouses, including one in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to serve this region. In recent years, the American Red Cross has responded to a range of disasters in Asia and the Pacific from an earthquake and tsunami in Japan to floods in Vietnam.

Disaster Preparedness

We help prepare communities for the dangers of disasters by building the skills of emergency responders. We also work with community members to better understand the risks they face, develop community action plans and conduct disaster drills.

The Measles & Rubella Initiative

The Measles & Rubella Initiative – a partnership between the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization – works to reduce measles deaths globally by providing financial and technical assistance to governments and communities for vaccination campaigns worldwide.

For any campaign to be successful, the community must participate. The American Red Cross provides financial support and training to Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in Africa on community education and mobilization. This training prepares volunteers to go house-to-house to educate families about the importance of getting vaccinated and where they can access immunization services. Volunteers then ensure that all children – even those in the most remote villages – are vaccinated during campaign week.

Since the Initiative began in 2001, it has helped vaccinate 1 billion children in more than 80 countries. In 2013, American Red Cross support will contribute to millions of children being immunized in more than 30 countries through the Initiative.

HIV Prevention and Care

The American Red Cross is helping to mitigate the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS through prevention education and support for people living with the disease. We are strengthening our partners’ capacity to mobilize communities and volunteers to provide prevention education, reduce stigma associated with HIV and AIDS, and mobilize communities and volunteers to provide counseling, peer support and home-based care. Through work with the Vietnam and China Red Cross, the American Red Cross aims to reach 11,000 people in Vietnam and 127,000 people in China.

Our Work in the Asia Region

1. World Disasters Report, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 2011.