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Haiti Relief Operation a Global Red Cross Effort
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January 25, 2010
The scope and abilities of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network are on display as never before in Haiti.

More than 430 Red Cross and Red Crescent workers from at least 30 countries are in the country supporting thousands of local volunteers. Of them, more than 100 represent the American Red Cross, including a group of Creole interpreters on board the USNS Comfort.

The relief operation in Haiti is already the largest single-country personnel deployment in global Red Cross history. The number of emergency response teams in or en route to Haiti equals those that responded to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami—a disaster that spanned 14 countries.

Each Red Cross team has its own roles and expertise, and they are working together to form a powerful engine for relief.

Red Cross responders from eight countries are treating approximately 500 people each day at medical facilities throughout the capital city. An additional 100-bed Red Cross field hospital arrived this weekend and has been set up in the Carrefour soccer stadium.

Other Red Cross teams are focused on purifying the water supply and are delivering clean drinking water to 400,000 people each day. So far, more than 2 million liters of water has been distributed.

Local Haitian Red Cross volunteers are providing first aid as well as emotional support for traumatized survivors. A special area has been established at each medical center where volunteers are comforting children, many of whom are too young to even understand what happened.

Relief Supplies
Although bottlenecks still remain, relief supplies are arriving more frequently and in larger quantities now.

So far, more than 38 flights carrying Red Cross aid have arrived in Haiti. Additional planes, ships and trucks carrying Red Cross humanitarian assistance are expected every day.

Together with relief partners like the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Red Cross is helping to meet temporary shelter needs, whether in camps or in spontaneous settlements, and is working to provide support for host families sheltering the displaced. This immediate relief includes providing family-sized tents and kits with tarps, ropes and tools to construct shelter. At the same time, the Red Cross is developing a strategy to meet long-term housing reconstruction needs.

The American Red Cross and its partners are also distributing other relief items—such as hygiene kits, blankets and water containers—for up to 1,000 families (6,000 people) each day.

Worldwide Public Support
Last Friday’s “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon, broadcast in the United States and internationally, raised $58 million, which will be split evenly among seven charities: the American Red Cross, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Oxfam America, Partners in Health, UNICEF, the United Nations World Food Programme and the Yele Haiti Foundation.

If you missed the broadcast and would still like to help, individual audio performances are available for purchase and download for 99 cents each on iTunes. The entire “Hope for Haiti Now” digital album is also available for $7.99. Apple, the record labels and the artists are donating their share of the proceeds to the Haiti relief funds managed by “Hope for Haiti Now.”

Because of the generosity of donors, people in Haiti will receive more than immediate relief— they will receive resources, support and training from the Red Cross that will help them thrive for years to come.

The American Red Cross is applying experience gained following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. For the past five years, the organization has been constructing water and sanitation systems, providing emotional support and healthcare, building shelters, restoring livelihoods and preparing communities for the next disaster. The American Red Cross plans to offer a similar level of support in close collaboration with Red Cross partners and other international and local aid organizations in 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.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org

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