American Red Cross Issues Three-Month Progress Report for Haiti Earthquake

WASHINGTON, April 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross today issued a three-month progress report on its efforts in Haiti since the January 12 earthquake and described its plans to support Haiti's recovery over the next three to five years by investing in shelter, water, sanitation, livelihoods, disaster preparedness and health programs.

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"While the crisis in Haiti is far from over, you can see many signs of progress, with roads cleared, vendors lining sidewalks and Haitians walking down the streets of Port-au-Prince with a sense of purpose and even an occasional smile," said Gail McGovern, president and CEO with the American Red Cross.

Since the January 12 earthquake, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams from 40 nations, including the American Red Cross, have overcome many hurdles to meet the emergency needs of approximately 2 million especially vulnerable people.

Progress Made

In the past three months, the global Red Cross network has:

  • Handed out tarps, tents and toolkits to nearly 373,000 people – 93 percent of its original target.
  • Provided relief items for 400,000 people.
  • Distributed 60 million liters of clean drinking water.
  • Built more than 1,300 latrines.
  • Treated more than 86,000 people at Red Cross hospitals or mobile clinics.
  • Helped vaccinate more than 152,000 people against deadly diseases.
  • Coordinated the shipment of more than 2,100 units of blood to medical facilities.
  • Registered more than 28,400 people with missing loved ones on its family linking Web site.

Collectively, Red Cross societies around the world have also deployed more than 900 international responders to Haiti over the past three months, including 165 representing the American Red Cross.

The approach used by the American Red Cross in responding to international disasters is different from the response to disasters that occur in the U.S.  In a disaster that occurs in another country, rather than send in large numbers of American Red Cross volunteers who may not speak the language or know the culture, the American Red Cross instead works through that nation's Red Cross or Red Crescent society. In this disaster, the American Red Cross and the Red Cross network are working with the Haitian Red Cross to deliver relief supplies through the network of 10,000 Haitian volunteers.

"This model has repeatedly proven effective over decades of international disaster responses because local Red Cross societies know the people, language, and geography and have established relationships with other organizations and the government," McGovern said. "By working through the Haitian National Red Cross Society, the American Red Cross can empower local volunteers and help the Haitian people become self-sufficient more quickly."

Relief and Recovery Plans

Since the earthquake, the American Red Cross has raised more than $409 million for the Haiti relief and recovery efforts. To date, it has spent approximately $111 million, with about 50 percent of the money spent on emergency relief, such as food and relief supplies; 39 percent for shelter; 5 percent for livelihood development through activities such as cash assistance; 5 percent for water and sanitation; and 1 percent for health.

Of the more than $400 million raised to date, the American Red Cross expects to spend approximately $200 million to meet the survivors' immediate needs — mostly in the first 12 months following the earthquake. The remainder of the funds raised, now a bit more than $200 million to date, will be allocated for long-term recovery.

During the next three to five years, the American Red Cross expects to apply:

  • 39 percent of the total funds raised for shelter;
  • 18 percent for emergency relief;
  • 17 percent for water and sanitation projects;
  • 16 percent for helping families rebuild their lives through grants, loans and other financial assistance;
  • Other spending areas in the multi-year plan include helping communities prepare for future disasters such as floods, hurricanes and earthquakes and strengthening health programs.

The allocations in the American Red Cross plan likely will shift somewhat in the years ahead in order to be responsive to the fluid situation in Haiti and the evolving needs of the Haitian people

Shelter is a Priority Now and in the Months and Years Ahead

In 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. Of the total 1.3 million homeless, the Red Cross network is responsible for providing tarps, tents and tool kits to 400,000 people in Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Carrefour and Jacmel, and so far has reached 93 percent of that group.

Today, Red Cross volunteers in Atlanta are helping to assemble emergency shelter kits to benefit 50,000 Haitian families in partnership with Habitat for Humanity International. The emergency shelter kits are funded by a $3.8 million grant from the American Red Cross.  

"Shelter is one of the greatest needs in Haiti, especially with the rainy season upon us," said McGovern. "We are so pleased to be partnering again with Habitat for Humanity in order to provide basic, temporary shelter for people who lost so much as a result of the earthquake."

The Red Cross network in Haiti is working toward providing enclosed, transitional shelters for 250,000 people currently living in settlements at risk for catastrophic flooding. These shelters are safe and robust and can be moved or extended by families where space and resources allow. An initial shipment of building supplies for 1,000 shelters has already arrived in Haiti, and enough materials for an additional 5,000 shelters will be delivered in coming weeks. Together, these first shelters will house up to 30,000 people.

However, the Red Cross and other groups cannot build large numbers of transitional shelters without access to land. In most cases, the Red Cross must wait for the Haitian authorities to identify, approve and prepare the land before construction can begin.

While this challenge continues, some progress has been achieved, as the Red Cross has been successful in securing two sites for shelters in Cite Soleil, a neighborhood in Port-au-Prince. Soon these sites will support 500 wood-frame shelters. Ultimately, the Red Cross plans to support construction of transitional shelters in Leogane, Gressier and Jacmel as soon as appropriate land there becomes available.

In the meantime, the Red Cross is helping families whose homes were damaged but not destroyed by distributing tools, timber and corrugated metal sheets that can be used to repair homes.

To learn more and read the complete three-month progress report, please visit redcross.org/haiti.

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.

SOURCE American Red Cross



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