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Emergencies tear across Asia during holiday weekend

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American Red Cross
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Torrential rain across Indonesia and East Timor (also known as Timor-Leste) is causing widespread floods, landslides and cold lava flow, quickly submerging and burying homes in its path. According to news outlets, more than 150 people have died with many feared still trapped beneath the mud.

Strong winds, flood waves and downed power lines are making communication difficult as the river (14 feet high) continues to rise, hampering rescue efforts carried out by Red Cross workers.

Volunteers in Indonesia and East Timor are helping thousands of people evacuate their homes and relocate to safer ground across the region. Teams are also providing food, water, blankets, tarps and supply kits to help families during this frightening time. The Red Cross is managing evacuation centers in the region.

“Families are facing back-to-back tragedy after being devastated by a powerful storm just last week. Tens of thousands have already lost so much and are once again facing uncertainty,” said Jenelle Eli, global spokesperson for the American Red Cross.

Meanwhile, a tragic train derailment in eastern Taiwan has reportedly killed more than 50 people and injured dozens more over the holiday weekend.

In Taiwan, while many were traveling home to honor their ancestors for the annual Tomb Sweeping Festival, an express train derailed in a mountain tunnel carrying nearly 500 passengers. This is being reported as the worst train wreck in Taiwan’s history.

The Taiwan Red Cross immediately dispatched rescue workers to the scene to help free passengers trapped in the crash. Days later, Red Cross search and rescue teams are still on the scene looking for missing family members. They are providing mental health support to survivors and connecting missing family members via phone.

“As families across Taiwan traveled to honor their ancestors during Tomb Sweeping Festival, the unthinkable happened. A devastating and deadly train wreck occurred in east Taiwan impacting its nearly 500 passengers. This disaster has now permanently separated families and injured survivors. Local Red Cross volunteers are conducting critical ongoing search and rescue operations,” said Emily Osment, global spokesperson for the American Red Cross.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

American Red Cross: All American Red Cross disaster assistance is provided at no cost, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. The Red Cross also supplies nearly half of the nation's lifesaving blood. This, too, is made possible by generous voluntary donations. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. To donate blood, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or contact your local Red Cross to find out about upcoming blood drives. © Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.