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While signs of aid can be seen throughout Haiti, three months after the devastating earthquake that struck the island nation, there is no question that needs remain great. Earthquake survivors will no doubt face additional threats with the arrival of the rainy season this month and, later this summer, hurricane season.
The American Red Cross relief and recovery plans are part of a broader coordinated effort by other Red Cross societies from around the world as well as hundreds of other international aid groups and governments. Ultimately, the American Red Cross Haiti Assistance Program, which is likely to be needed for at least the next three to five years, will address many complex issues facing Haitians as well as improve the resiliency and capacity of their communities for the future.
While the crisis is far from over, the Red Cross has made significant progress in the past 90 days. Together, the Red Cross and Red Crescent teams from 40 nations, including the American Red Cross, have overcome many challenges to meet the emergency needs of approximately 2 million people.
"You can see the progress that's been made just by looking at people's faces. Three months ago, fear, pain and shock were the only expressions to be found. Today, you'll see people walking down the streets in Port-au-Prince with a sense of purpose, offering an occasional smile. The roads are cleared; vendors line the sidewalks; and children are even found flying kites made from bed sheets."
- Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, following her second visit to Haiti since the earthquake.
Collectively, Red Cross societies around the world have deployed more than 900 international responders to Haiti over the past three months, including 165 representing the American Red Cross.
While the Red Cross has made great progress in providing shelter in Haiti, shelter remains a priority now and in the months and years ahead. I one of the fastest shelter-relief operations in recent years, the Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies provided emergency shelter supplies to nearly 1.1 million people – 90 percent of the 1.3 million homeless – as of April 5. Efforts are on track to get emergency shelter supplies to the remaining families in need by May 1.
Like many others, the Red Cross wishes that the pace of help could be faster, there is still deep concern about the continuing dire and heartbreaking situation in Haiti. Red Cross volunteers are continuing to work around the clock to get aid and assistance where it is due in Haiti.