American Red Cross releases $200,000 in aid to help communities affected by earthquake in Haiti

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 — The American Red Cross has pledged an initial $200,000 to assist communities impacted by today’s earthquake in Haiti, and is prepared to take further action as local responders assess the situation.

On Tuesday, January 12, less than one hour before sunset, a 7.3 earthquake struck Haiti near the capital of Port au Prince, causing catastrophic damage and loss of life.

· Initial estimates are that up to 3 million people may be affected.
· Government offices, including the Presidential palace, have collapsed. Hospitals and the local Red Cross office have sustained major damage.
· Many areas remain accessible as roads are covered with debris and bridges have collapsed. Telephone lines and electricity are still out in many places.
· The next 48 hours are critical for life-saving operations such as search and rescue and first aid.
· The American Red Cross is contributing an initial $1 million to support the relief operation.
· We committed $200,000 last night, and increased that amount this morning to $1 million.
· The American Red Cross also is releasing supplies from our warehouse in Panama that will be able to meet the immediate needs of 5,000 families. Included are tarps, mosquito nets and cooking sets.
· The American Red Cross is deploying six disaster management specialists to the disaster zone to help coordinate relief. These join the staff we already have on the ground there.

In Haiti, the local Red Cross worked throughout the night to rescue people from their trapped homes and provide first aid. Priority needs now are food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support.

The American Red Cross already has seen an outpouring of support and concern from the public.

· People who want to help those affected by the Haitian earthquake can make a donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund at or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
· The Red Cross is also receiving money through a third party mobile fundraising effort sponsored by Mobile Accord. Mobile donors can text "Haiti" to 90999 to send a ten dollar donation to the Red Cross. The funds will go to support the Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.
· To date we have not received any request for blood products from the government of Haiti. We will respond to any request that we receive for blood products based on availability.
· At this time, we are only deploying Red Cross volunteers specially trained to manage international emergency operations. Please consider supporting your community’s local needs by volunteering with your local Red Cross.
· Locally, the Greater Toledo Area Chapter of the American Red Cross is able to accept donations at their office at 3100 W. Central Avenue, Monday through Friday, 8:30AM-4:45PM. For individuals interested in donating goods or supplies, please contact International Services of Hope at 419/878-8584.

The American Red Cross had staff in Haiti when the earthquake struck.

· The American Red Cross has a 15-person office in Haiti focused year-round on HIV/AIDS education and disaster preparedness.
· We have had limited contact with our staff in Haiti, but do know that they are safe and responding to the survivors’ needs.

We know that people in the United States may be very concerned about loved ones living or traveling in Haiti.

· Telephone, Internet and other communication lines are often disrupted in times of disaster.
· If your loved one has citizenship in Haiti, please be patient and continue to call or contact other family members who live nearby.
· If you’re trying to reach a U.S. citizen living or traveling in Haiti, you should contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747.

Sadly, Haiti and the surrounding areas are some of the most disaster-prone areas in the world.

· The Red Cross, however, is uniquely positioned to help communities around the world prepare for emergencies and meet the resulting humanitarian needs.
· The Red Cross is one of the largest humanitarian networks in the world.
· Collectively, our more than 97 million volunteers and employees give the Red Cross the expertise, scale and scope to manage catastrophic disasters from the moment they strike.


“Initial reports indicate widespread damage in Port au Prince, with continuing aftershocks,” says Tracy Reines, director of international disaster response for the American Red Cross. “As with most earthquakes, we expect to see immediate needs for food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support.”

The American Red Cross has made available all of the relief supplies from its warehouse in Panama which would provide for basic needs for approximately 5,000 families. In addition, it is deploying a disaster management specialist to Haiti, and has additional disaster specialists on standby if needed.

The American Red Cross has an extensive partnership with the Haitian Red Cross, which is expected to lead the Red Cross response to the earthquake.

The American Red Cross has staff on the ground in Haiti who provide ongoing HIV/AIDS prevention and disaster preparedness programs. At this time, all the three American Red Cross staff in Haiti have all been reported safe.

The Haitian Red Cross was founded in 1932 and is one of the primary organizations in the country responding to disasters. Although earthquakes are less common, Haiti is frequently impacted by hurricanes including those in 2008, and the Haiti Red Cross has developed experience in disaster response due those disasters.

For more information and to schedule interviews, please contact Mat Morgan: or 202-262-9148.

We are not accepting volunteers to travel to Haiti. If you would like to volunteer for the American Red Cross, please contact your local chapter. For inquiries about relatives living and who have citizenship in Haiti, please be patient and call repeatedly until the lines clear or contact other family members who live nearby. Telephone, Internet and other communication lines are often disrupted in times of disaster. People trying to locate U.S. citizens living or traveling in Haiti should contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225.

You can help the victims of countless crises 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. Donations to the International Response Fund can be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at

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