The president of the American Red Cross, Mark W. Everson, got a first-hand look yesterday at the devastation in the flooded regions of Southern Mexico.
At the invitation of Daniel Goni Diaz, president of the Mexican Red Cross, Everson traveled to the State of Tabasco to observe relief efforts for the flood victims. Diaz and Andres Rafael Granier Melo, the governor of Tabasco, accompanied Everson on the tour of the devastated area.
"It's as if 70 percent of the state of Vermont was under water. You just see tree lines where the roads should be," Everson said. "The waters are receding slowly, tens of thousands of people will need significant long term relief, and we're prepared to help the Mexican Red Cross with this effort."
Even though the rescue phase is complete, 70 percent of Tabasco is still flooded, and the waters are not expected to recede for another 2-3 weeks. The Red Cross is now focusing on providing food and drinking water and supporting shelters to help people stay healthy and safe until they can return to their homes.
"We need each other," said Diaz of the two Red Cross societies. "When the American Red Cross needed help with the wildfires in Southern California, we came. And, when we asked for American Red Cross assistance to respond to these floods, you came."
"This is a neighbor in need, and you always reach out to neighbors in need—it's a basic humanitarian concept," Everson said. "The Mexican Red Cross just helped us with the wildfires in Southern California. Now, it's our time to help them."
The American Red Cross is responding to the emergency relief efforts by providing more than $500,000 in financial assistance and supplies. This includes $250,000 in partnership with USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. The American Red Cross is also supporting a Spanish-speaking international relief worker and is weighing additional response options.
You can help those affected by 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. Call 1-800-RED CROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org. 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.