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Red Cross Provides Haitian Mothers and Children with Medical Care and Emergency Shelter
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Mat Morgan, International Communications, American Red Cross
February 18, 2010

A line of men, women and children stretches around the corner of the white tent, each waiting patiently to tell their story to the attending doctors and midwives from the Red Cross mobile health clinic.

They stand in the corner of La Piste, the largest settlement in Port-au-Prince. Behind them sprawl makeshift homes for thousands of people. In front of them are two Red Cross water tanks that hold almost 37,000 gallons of water.

Patricia is one of the mothers present, rocking her young baby Neroege.

Patricia visits a Red Cross clinic to receive assistance for her 1-month-old son
Patricia visits a Red Cross clinic to receive assistance for her 1-month-old son.
Bonnie Gillespie, American Red Cross
Rosie and her family of five are now covered by a tarp provided by the Red Cross.
Rosie and her family of five are now covered by a tarp provided by the Red Cross.
Bonnie Gillespie, American Red Cross

“His eyes hurt whenever he opens them,” she says. “He needs to see a doctor, and I was not sure where else to go. I am thankful for this clinic.”

The baby is less than a month old, born a week after the earthquake. The same week, his father passed away under the rubble of their collapsed home.

A midwife applies a gauge bandage over Neroege’s eyes, while offering consoling words to the baby.

He was born into the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake, but many are working to ensure that he does not know the hardship his mother faced.

Only hundreds of feet away, Carole sits under a light gray tarp provided by relief workers during a Red Cross distribution a few days before. Before this she was without shelter and living in the street.

“I can sleep without fear of the rain,” she says. “My family and I – seven people in all – now have shelter.”

Volunteers from around the world, including those from the American Red Cross, are actively distributing food and other supplies, like tarps, rope, hygiene kits, water containers and cooking items. So far, at least 1.3 million people, like Patricia and Carole, have received these basic, yet life-sustaining items.

Distributions continue regularly throughout urban settlements and in surrounding areas reaching approximately 12,500 people each day.

Aid Workers Continue Difficult Work

The gravity of this situation, as well as the opportunity to make a profound impact in the community, is not lost on those responding.

Sam Loic is a wiry French doctor working with the Red Cross, supporting the parents and children gathering for medical treatment. While he has a generous smile, it is clear from the pauses in his speech, and a tired look in his eyes, that his work in Haiti has not been easy.

As a member of the Red Cross mobile health clinic, he visits three locations within Port-au-Prince, rotating to a new site each day. The team addresses basic health needs.

“We treat everything from fever to heartburn, which has been caused by stress from the earthquake,” he says.

Two weeks since his arrival, he is proud of his team’s impact. They treat about 150 people per day, and devote significant time to each person so that they can provide the physical and emotional support they need.

Across the capital city, Red Cross teams have treated more than 20,000 people since the earthquake. That translates to more than 1,000 patients per day.

Working with the support of thousands of Haitian Red Cross Society volunteers, and other Red Cross teams from around the world, the people of Haiti are rebuilding their lives one tarp and treatment at a time.

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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