Plan Disaster Teams on the Ground in Haiti

Jan 13, 2010, 16:32 ET from Plan

WARWICK, R. I., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Plan, an international child-centered community development organization, has announced the release of USD $100,000 in emergency funds to help Haiti recover from the country's worst earthquake in recorded history. While the death toll from the 7.23 magnitude quake is not yet known, some three million people may have been directly affected.

When the earthquake struck, buildings and public infrastructure, including at least one major hospital in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, were destroyed or severely damaged. Many houses, office buildings, and schools collapsed with many people still trapped inside.

Plan, which has worked closely with Haitian communities since 1973, has launched an international appeal for funds for Haiti that will support immediate emergency operations, with a special concern for meeting the needs of the children. Plan disaster response teams are now coordinating an immediate response with government agencies, emergency services, and other organizations.

Roger Yates, Plan Director of disasters and humanitarian response, said that "of all the countries in the region, Haiti is the most vulnerable. Plan's priority is assisting children and their families and getting people at risk into safe accommodation wherever possible."

Plan, which currently has a presence in 92 Haitian communities, has four field offices located directly in the devastated areas around Port-au-Prince (Croix-des-Bouquets, Dolney, Beudet, and Freres). In the southeast region of Haiti, Plan's three field offices (La Vallee de Jacmel, Jacmel and Cayes-Jacmel) were also affected, with Jacmel reported to have been the most severely damaged by the quake. Collecting and distributing information from the regional staff on the ground is a key role for Plan. When the earthquake struck, these areas were still in the process of recovering from last year's hurricanes, Gustav and Hanna. After these disasters, Plan implemented a special program to help re-launch micro-enterprises, and as a result, 1,700 women were assisted.

In 2009, Plan invested over $4 million in community development programs in Haiti, and a total of over $14 million in the last five years, with a particular emphasis on health and education. Haiti also has a robust child media program.

Plan, founded in 1937, raises funds in 21 countries and works in 48 developing countries worldwide. Plan's vision is of a world in which all children realize their full potential in societies that respect people's rights and dignity. Its innovative and cost-effective programs work holistically across the areas of education; health (including HIV/AIDS); child rights and protection; household economic security; water and sanitation; as well as disaster risk preparedness and management.

Plan USA has offices in Washington, DC, and Warwick, RI. For more information, please visit