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How we are Helping in Haiti
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February 19, 2010

An Historic Relief Effort

On January 12, 2019, a series of earthquakes ranging from magnitude 6.5 – 7.3 struck the island nation of Haiti, killing an estimated 200,000 people, and forcing 3 million Haitians to cope with the loss of loved ones, homes, schools and livelihoods. The earthquakes and their aftershocks, which repeatedly hit just outside the country’s capital city Port-au-Prince, reduced most buildings to rubble and left an estimated 1.2 million people instantly homeless. It is a monumental catastrophe, inflicting massive damage and suffering in Haiti – already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Once the first quake ended, the American Red Cross began working around the clock to provide emergency relief and assistance to survivors. One month later, the Red Cross has reached hundreds of thousands move with relief supplies, food, medical services, water, sanitation support and shelter.

Relief Workers

The global Red Cross network is responding on a massive scale – more than 600 Red Cross and Red Crescent workers from 30 nations are in Haiti today supporting thousands of Haitian volunteers. The international relief operation has involved more emergency response teams than any other single-country disaster in Red Cross history.

Each Red Cross team as its own role and expertise, and we collectively form a powerful engine of relief.

More than 100 people are representing the American Red Cross in Haiti:

-  30 specialists are responding through activities like relief distribution and telecommunications support

-  14 employees, who were permanently based in Haiti prior to the earthquake, are helping to guide the response

-  More than 50 Creole-speaking interpreters are stationed offshore supporting a military hospital ship, the USNS Comfort

Food, Water and Other Relief Items

In addition to deploying relief workers and other disaster management specialists, the American Red Cross is providing:

-  Relief supplies for 130,000 people, including blankets, kitchen sets, hygiene kits, water containers and mosquito nets

-  Three million pre-packaged meals to the United Nations World Food Programme

-  Funding to help feed an additional 1 million people for a month

-   More than 1 million water-purification sachets, thanks to Population Services International

To meet the dire need for clean water, the global Red Cross network as collectively provided 17 million liters, reaching approximately 300,000 people per day, since the earthquake. In addition, to address sanitation needs and reduce the spread of disease, relief workers are constructing hundreds of latrines and portable toilets as well as collecting tons of garbage in and around Port-au-Prince.


The earthquake destroyed many of the hospitals and healthcare facilities in Port-au-Prince. To help meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands injured and prevent the spread of diseases common after disasters of this scale, Red Cross teams from around the world partnered to:

- Establish two field hospitals and four mobile healthcare clinics, which are providing medical services to approximately 1,600 patients per day

-  Support a government-led immunization and hygiene promotion campaign that will initially help to protect and educate more than 250,000 children. Read More. 

Additionally, the American Red Cross has:

-   Provided nearly 750 units of blood for earthquake survivors

-   Funded $600,000 worth of food for the mobile clinics


More than 1 million people in Haiti are in need of shelter. In coordination with other relief agencies, the Red Cross aims to address this complex situation through a combination of strategies, including:

- Providing local families with solutions that will encourage them to rebuild safely near their pre-disaster homes

-  Supporting the needs of host families who are housing displaced people

-  Supporting people in post-quake settlements by providing both tarps and tents

Assistance in the U.S.

The American Red Cross has been providing welcoming services, shelter and other support for repatriated citizens and medical evacuees who arrived in the United States following the earthquake. In addition, the American Red Cross is helping people fine and reestablish contact with their loved ones in Haiti through its international family tracing service – a form of assistance that is also being provided by the Red Cross in Haiti. Read More.

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