By Caitlin Cobb, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter
April 2, 2010
Nearly three months after the devastating earthquake that shook the island nation of Haiti, there is still much work to be done. The American Red Cross will continue to support earthquake survivors in the months and years ahead – until the last donated dollar is spent. The Red Cross’ Haiti Assistance Program, which will run for three-to-five years, will be multi-faceted, holistic and comprehensive. The program will bring multiple programs to each community in order to address the complex problems of those in need.
The Red Cross and other organizations have so far distributed emergency tarps and tents to about 1 million people, or more than 75 percent of the estimated 1.3 million survivors without a place to live following the earthquake. Efforts are on track to get tarps or tents to the remainder of the survivors by May 1st.
Like many others, we wish that the pace of help could be faster. However, it is important to understand that even if transitional shelters were assembled the day after the earthquake, there would still not have been enough time, land, or skilled instructors and workers to build shelters for the 1.3 million people left homeless.
The American Red Cross is committed to getting more aid to Haiti and its people as quickly as possible, and to do so in the most transparent and practical way to meet longer-term needs such as restoring water and sanitation systems, providing adequate shelter and creating sustainable livelihoods.
In less than three months, the American Red Cross has allocated more than $108 million on food and water, shelter, and health and family services. More than half (approximately 52 percent) of that money has been for food, water and relief supplies; approximately 36 percent has been used for shelter, and approximately 12 percent has been used for health services, family services, and livelihoods.