Two months after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, the American Red Cross continues its efforts to assist with recovery. To date, the Red Cross has committed $106.4 million, with its latest allocation focused on building shelter for the thousands of people who are still homeless following the earthquake.
The latest allocation of Red Cross funds includes $16.1 million to support the construction of transitional shelters that will be coordinated by the global Red Cross network. An additional $3.7 million will go to Habitat for Humanity for the purchase of emergency shelter materials, and $4.6 million will support cash grants to 16,000 families, so they can buy essential items as part of a program to be run in close coordination with Fonkoze, Haiti's largest microfinance institute.
"We are gravely concerned about the upcoming rainy season, as well as the hurricane season for hundreds of thousands of Haiti's homeless people," said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. "The Red Cross is working feverishly to get tents and tarps to everyone who needs them, but we also recognize that these temporary shelters are not hurricane proof. We hope that this additional infusion of millions of dollars to Habitat for Humanity, among others, will provide emergency shelter to more people who are now sleeping out under the stars."
The American Red Cross previously spent or allocated $82 million for food, water, emergency care, shelter, relief supplies and family services in Haiti. To date, the American Red Cross has raised approximately $354 million for Haiti relief and recovery efforts.
Since the earthquake struck, the Red Cross global network and its partners have provided emergency shelter materials to more than 650,000 people ahead of spring rains and are reaching 80,000 people a week by delivering tens of thousands of tarps, tents, ropes, timber uprights and toolkits.
The remainer of the people in need are on track to receive emergency shelter on or before the beginning of May.
"No one ever feels that humanitarian relief is moving fast enough," said Meltzer. "We know there are immediate and long-term needs in Haiti, and we are determined to meet them."
In additional to shelter supplies, more than 400,000 people have received basic relief items from teh Red Cross, such as hygiene kits, cooking tools, buckets, blankets and mosquito nets. The Red Cross and its partners resumed a wide ranging vaccination campaign that will protect at least 250,000 children and adults from measles, diptheria, pertussis and tetanus. To date, more than 100,000 people have received vaccinations.
Red Cross priorities in the months and years ahead will include shelter, water and sanitation, livelihood programs and disease prevention. The American Red Cross will also play an important role in helping to prepare Haiti for future emergencies, including the upcoming Caribbean hurricane season.
"The American people have entrusted us with their hard earned money to help the people of Haiti survive and thrive following the earthquake in January," added Meltzer. "We at the American Red Cross take this responsibility very seriously and are doing our best to ensure that every dollar counts today, tomorrow and in years to come."
You can help the victims of countless crises, like the recent earthquakes in Chile and Haiti, around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immedate 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. You may donate online, by phone at 1-888-4-HELP-BAY (1-888-443-5722) or by mail to the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter at 85 Second Street, 8th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105.