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The American Red Cross and World Wildlife Fund Team Up to Ensure an Effective and Healthy Recovery for Tsunami Survivors

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2006 - The American Red Cross and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are partnering in tsunami-affected countries to restore communities and ensure that fish, wood and other essential natural resources are available for generations to come.

"Many communities rely on the natural environment as a source of food, medicine and shelter," said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund. "Utilizing the strengths of both organizations, we hope to help the people in the region recover their livelihoods, but also ensure the natural resources they rely on are kept healthy and available for this and future generations."

Now in the second year since the tsunami, the American Red Cross is helping survivors through long-term recovery programs that focus on areas such as community health and disease control, rebuilding and disaster preparedness. Through these programs, the American Red Cross is helping to restore communities and making sure that recovery efforts will not cause further damage to essential resources like fisheries and forests. By addressing underlying environmental issues, the American Red Cross will better prepare communities and reduce the risk of future disasters.

World Wildlife Fund is acting in an advisory role with the American Red Cross to carry out programs that adhere to accepted environmental standards. WWF is supporting the American Red Cross in areas such as fisheries management, fresh water supply, waste disposal and sourcing sustainable building materials.

For example, WWF is providing technical guidance to the Red Cross on programs to bring back people's access to clean water and to create sanitation systems that will not pollute groundwater or coastal resources. These programs are essential for a long-lasting and effective recovery.

"The American Red Cross is very excited to be bringing the experience and expertise of the World Wildlife Fund into our recovery programs," said David Meltzer, senior vice president of International Services for the American Red Cross. "Through this partnership, we will protect the environment and make sure that the recovery will benefit survivors and their communities for the long term."

WWF has developed Green Reconstruction Policy Guidelines, which the American Red Cross and others will use as a blueprint for designing, carrying out and monitoring recovery activities. The Guidelines cover issues ranging from using responsibly sourced building materials to developing sustainable fishery, agriculture and aquaculture industries.

By combining resources and expertise, the American Red Cross and WWF will restore livelihoods, reduce environmental vulnerabilities and make communities stronger and safer for the future.

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