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American Red Cross Issues Two-Month Progress Report for Haiti Earthquake

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–March 12, 2010.  The American Red Cross today issued a two-month progress report describing its efforts since the January 12 earthquake and sharing its plans to address longer-term needs such as emergency and longer-term shelter.

“While there is still massive need everywhere you look, I have seen signs of resilience, recovery and renewal in Haiti,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross, one day after returning from his second trip to the country since the earthquake. “In the months and years ahead, the American Red Cross will continue to invest millions of generously donated dollars and form partnerships to improve the lives of thousands of Haitians on behalf of the American people.”

Since the earthquake, the American Red Cross has raised approximately $354 million for the Haiti relief and development efforts. To date, it has spent or allocated $106.4 million, with approximately 52 percent of the funds going for food, water and relief supplies; 36 percent for shelter; 8 percent for health and family services; and 4 percent for livelihoods.

As the response progresses and recovery begins, the Red Cross will continue to support these priority areas and longer-term assistance initiatives until the last donated dollar is spent.

More than 50 disaster specialists representing the American Red Cross are in Haiti working alongside thousands of Haitian Red Cross volunteers as part of a broader and coordinated network of Red Cross and Red Crescent responders from nearly 40 nations.

In the two months since the earthquake, the global Red Cross network has:

  • Provided relief items for 400,000 people.
  • Handed out nearly 99,000 tarps, tents and toolkits.
  • Supplied meals for more than 1 million people.
  • Distributed 40 million liters of clean drinking water.
  • Built more than 1,100 latrines.
  • Helped vaccinate more than 125,000 people.
  • Coordinated the shipment of more than 1,800 blood units to medical facilities.
  • Treated more than 55,000 people at Red Cross hospitals or mobile clinics.
  • Sent more than 23 million text messages with critical health advice to survivors.
  • Received more than 28,400 registrations on its family linking Web site.
  • Assisted more than 25,000 people who arrived in the U.S. following the earthquake.
  • Deployed more than 600 international responders to Haiti.

With an estimated 1.3 million left homeless by the earthquake, the Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies collectively have already distributed emergency shelter materials to an estimated 650,000 people–half of the people without a place to live. The organizations are on track to reach the remainder of people without shelter on or before May 1, which is the peak of the rainy season.

“We are gravely concerned about how severe weather expected this spring and summer will affect the hundreds of thousands of Haiti’s homeless people,” said Meltzer. “The Red Cross is working feverishly to get tents and tarps to everyone who needs them, but we also recognize that these temporary shelters are not hurricane proof.”

The Red Cross is spearheading plans to provide more durable cover, including the construction of transitional shelters for 250,000 of Haiti’s most vulnerable people. It has developed different shelter designs, some made of timber and others of steel, that are safe and robust and can be moved and extended by families where space and resources allow. Construction of these shelters will be done in phases as land ownership issues are resolved and debris is cleared.

Food, Water and Other Relief Items
At the same time that it is addressing immediate and longer-term shelter solutions, the Red Cross continues to provide life-sustaining food, water and relief items for Haitians. Up to 12,500 people are receiving food and basic supplies every day through sustained distribution efforts by the Red Cross.

Relief workers are also providing 1.5 million liters of water each day in more than 120 locations throughout Port-au-Prince and outlying areas. And sanitation experts are constructing latrines, developing waste-disposal solutions, and installing hand-washing facilities and showers in support of spontaneous settlements.

To complement ongoing aid distributions in Port-au-Prince and reach additional families in need, the American Red Cross announced March 10 that it will provide financial assistance to help an initial 16,000 families purchase and replace essential items over the next six months through a partnership with Haiti’s largest microfinance institution, Fonkoze.

“Financial assistance gives families choices; they can evaluate how best to cope with and recover from their losses, which ultimately provides a sense responsibility and empowerment,” said Meltzer. “The program will also help stimulate the fragile economy and restore livelihoods for not only the families directly receiving aid, but also farmers, store owners and service providers in the community.”

Among this group receiving financial assistance from the American Red Cross are 6,000 host families in rural communities now caring for loved ones who fled the disaster zone. An additional 10,000 women who have lost their homes, business or both will also receive a grant to help meet their families’ immediate needs as well as a small loan to restart their businesses and restore their families’ source of income.

When the Haitian government decided that it needed to resume vaccination campaigns to help prevent the spread of disease among the spontaneous settlements, the Red Cross was one of the first organizations to respond by making resources available to protect at least 250,000 children and adults from measles, diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. With 120 volunteer vaccinators on the ground, the Red Cross and its partners began vaccinating as many as 10,000 people in a single day. To date, 50 percent of the targeted people have received this lifesaving opportunity.

Additionally, more than 55,000 people have been treated at Red Cross hospitals and mobile clinics in Port-au-Prince and surrounding communities. Approximately 500 children are welcomed each day to Red Cross sites, where volunteers play games, create art projects and provide psychosocial support. The American Red Cross has also coordinated the shipment of more than 1,800 units of blood to Haiti for treatment of the ill and injured.

Looking Ahead
In coming months and years, the American Red Cross will work with partners to rebuild the many services that communities require to function, including establishing water and sanitation systems, health programs and sustainable livelihoods. The American Red Cross will also play an important role in helping to prepare the country for future emergencies, including the upcoming Caribbean hurricane season.

To accomplish this, the American Red Cross will be expanding its pre-earthquake delegation in Haiti and partnering with the Haitian Red Cross and other local organizations. As additional recovery plans are confirmed, they will be shared with the American public, which has generously invested in Haiti through the work of the American Red Cross.

To learn more and read the complete report, please visit redcross.org/haiti.

You can help the victims of countless crises, like the recent earthquake in Haiti, around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation by mailing your donation with the designation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter. Donations to the International Response Fund can be made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at www.redcross.org.


Source: redcross.org

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