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It 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 year.

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 afflicting

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.

Jean-François Berger
ICRC editor

Jón Valfells
International Federation editor

Red Cross Red Crescent would like to thank Jean Milligan for her invaluable contribution to the magazine during her seven years as International Federation editor. She has recently joined the ICRC Communication Department.

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