BEIJING (Reuters) - Victims of an earthquake in northern China desperately need medicine to combat outbreaks of influenza spreading in sub-zero temperatures, a Red Cross statement said on Saturday. The January 10 earthquake in Hebei province near the Great Wall of China killed 50 people, injured about 10,000 and left tens of thousands homeless. The Geneva-based International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an appeal for 1.7 million Swiss francs ($1.14 million). "Infectious diseases like influenza are already spreading and cases of bronchitis and pneumonia are increasing," an IFRC statement said. "We urgently need medicines to prevent these growing health problems and to reestablish the health care system." First aid posts and hospitals run by the Chinese Red Cross had collapsed along with other buildings, seriously undermining health care in the area, the statement said. The IFRC would also provide food because stocks in the province were low following drought last summer. "Food stocks in the area are very limited," said Helge Kvam, an IFRC official in Beijing. "A lot of the food they have in stock is at the moment buried under the broken houses," he said, adding that residents were afraid to dig out their supplies in case of further collapses. Kvam said not even basic drugs were available because village clinics had been destroyed along with dwellings made of mud and brick. Temperatures as low as minus 27 Celsius (minus 16.6 Fahrenheit) had added to the misery. Kvam said flu, bronchitis and pneumonia were the result of sleeping in the open. "If we don't get the medicine it will be very serious," he said. He said the IFRC hoped to deliver the first batch of medicine to the region in the next few days.