took only a few seconds to shatter the lives of millions in
northern Pakistan and India. The earthquake which struck on
8 October, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, brought death,
terror, pain and destruction across an area the size of Italy.
Survivors’ accounts evoke an end-of-the-world scenario.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement swiftly mobilized
its resources to save lives, giving priority to health and
restoring contact with isolated villages and among relatives
separated by the disaster. The Movement is now concentrating
on helping the victims to survive the harsh winter ahead,
through an integrated response providing emergency food, shelter,
health care and water, thus helping to preserve community
life. Given the difficult terrain, providing comprehensive
assistance is a huge logistical challenge, but the ICRC, the
International Federation and the numerous National Societies
involved continue to act decisively and are taking advantage
of the invaluable experience gained during the conflict in
Afghanistan and in responding to the tsunami earlier in the
The Americas, too, have seen their share of natural disasters
in recent months. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wreaked havoc
in several southern states of the United States, causing widespread
destruction and human suffering. Faced with an unprecedented
logistical challenge, the American Red Cross, with the support
of numerous Movement partners, mounted the biggest relief
operation in its history in response to a natural disaster.
Hurricane Stan and torrential rains in Central America had
particularly devastating effects in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras and Mexico. These disasters, along with the drought
Niger, are stark reminders of worldwide climate changes.
Two new National Societies have just been admitted to the
Movement. The Red Crescent Society of Comoros and the National
Red Cross Society of Timor Leste were admitted unanimously
to the International Federation at the General Assembly in
Seoul, Republic of Korea on 11 November 2005.
Lastly, we are delighted to announce the launch, with this
issue, of the Arabic-language version of Red Cross Red Crescent,
enabling the magazine to widen its circle of readers.