WASHINGTON, March 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross today announced its long-term recovery plan for spending the rest of the nearly $400 million it has received in Haiti donations.
The announcement comes two days before an international donor's conference hosted by the United Nations to discuss ways that governments and non-governmental organizations can help rebuild Haiti, which was devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on January 12.
"The crisis is far from over in Haiti, and the American Red Cross will continue to support the brave and resilient people of this country until the last dollar donated for Haiti is spent," said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. "It would not have been possible to provide so much help in this extremely difficult situation without the tremendous outpouring of support from the American public."
To date, the American Red Cross has raised $396 million for the Haiti relief and development efforts. In just 11 weeks, the American Red Cross has already spent or allocated a record $106.4 million, with approximately 52 percent of the funds being used for food, water and relief supplies; 36 percent for shelter; 8 percent have been dedicated for health and family services; and 4 percent for livelihoods through cash grants and loans.
Today's announcement provided the broad outline of the expected plans of the American Red Cross for spending the remainder of that money over the next three-to-five years to help families and communities recover from this devastating tragedy.
"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 possible to meet longer-term needs such as restoring water and sanitation systems, providing adequate shelter and creating sustainable livelihoods," said David Meltzer, senior vice president for International Services at the Red Cross.
Meltzer said that the American Red Cross expects to spend a total of approximately $200 million for emergency relief, such as the provision of emergency food supplies, tarps, tents, relief supplies, financial assistance programs and the initial transitional shelters – mostly in the 12 months following the earthquake. The remainder of the nearly $400 million raised to date, also approximately $200 million, will go toward long-term recovery over the following several years.
The biggest share – expected to be between 35-40 percent – of the planned American Red Cross spending for the recovery period will be for shelter, with the effort undertaken in coordination with a number of other organizations working to provide shelter in Haitians. The Red Cross focus will shift from the current provision of emergency shelter materials such as hundreds of thousands of tarps and tents, to providing transitional shelters capable of lasting a few years and that offer more living space to residents and then, finally, to building permanent shelters. Plans to devote tens of millions of dollars to the provision of safe, durable, housing to Haitians depend upon the relevant authorities identifying land upon which the transitional and permanent homes can be built.
Another top priority for the recovery phase—estimated to be approximately 20-25 percent – will be water and sanitation projects in Haiti. In addition, the American Red Cross plans to place a growing emphasis – estimated to be between 15-20 percent of the American Red Cross' spending on Haiti's recovery – on helping families rebuild their lives through cash grants, loans and other financial assistance that they can use to buy essential items and empower them as they work to rebuild their lives.
Other spending areas in the multi-year American Red Cross plan will include developing health programs, building the capacity of the Haitian Red Cross to provide humanitarian assistance to the Haitian people, and helping Haitian communities prepare for future disasters such as floods, hurricanes and earthquakes.
The allocations in the American Red Cross plan most 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.
The American Red Cross relief and recovery plan is part of a broader coordinated effort with the global Red Cross network as well as with other aid groups. A recent preliminary assessment by the United Nations and World Bank estimated that it will cost $11.5 billion over three years to rebuild Haiti, an amount that is far more than any single organization can manage alone.
Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross, will represent the international Red Cross and Red Crescent network at the U.N. Donor Conference on March 31. The international Red Cross and Red Crescent network will pledge its continued collaboration as part of the global effort to help the Haitian people, and also will call on the Haitian government and international community to find solutions to the lack of available land in Haiti for transitional and permanent shelter.
"The needs in Haiti remain immense and the challenges are widespread – both in emergency relief and for long-term recovery," McGovern said. "Help is reaching people, but we are especially concerned about a possible second humanitarian disaster, with makeshift camps containing hundreds of thousands of Haitians for whom it has not been possible to provide shelters capable of fully protecting them from the severe weather conditions of the rainy season or a hurricane."
The Red Cross network and other organizations have distributed hundreds of thousands of tarps and tents to more than 1 million people or roughly 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 by May 1st.
In the meantime, the American Red Cross and other groups are working to mitigate the impact of the rains through disaster preparedness activities such as pre-positioning of relief stocks, replacing dug-in toilets with elevated ones, supporting communities along with the Haitian Red Cross volunteers to dig new drainage gullies and keep old ones clear, putting in place Early Warning Systems and looking for ways to establish safe havens.
"We believe that coordination among the U.S. government, the Haitian government, UN and international NGOs is critical to maximizing donor dollars and getting aid to people of Haiti as efficiently as possible and the American Red Cross is committed to participating in such coordination efforts," McGovern said.
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.
SOURCE American Red Cross