WARWICK, R.I., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Children's charity Plan International has already raised US $1 million in emergency aid through public appeals to help Haiti recover from the devastating earthquake, but much more will be needed, especially for the long-term. According to Winnie Tay, International Programs Team Director, Plan was one of the first humanitarian relief organizations to mobilize and provide quake survivors with water, food, and hygiene packs.
Plan, which has been working in Haiti since 1973, has an office in Port-au-Prince, which was one of the few structures in the capital city not destroyed by the quake, and amazingly out of 143 staff, only one was injured. Plan staff reported severe damage in Jacmel and Croix-des-Bouquets, two of the 10 areas where it operates.
"Fortunately, Plan has a lot of local knowledge, having worked in Haiti for more than 35 years, so we are in a strong position to help communities survive, recover and rebuild," said, Roger Yates, Plan International's Director of Humanitarian Response & Disasters, who is on the ground in Haiti, coordinating Plan's response alongside other agencies.
Plan International invests in community development programs in 48 developing countries worldwide, including Haiti, and played a central role in the 2005 Tsunami recovery efforts in Southeast Asia. Tay said, that "the lessons learned through the Tsunami have been freely shared throughout the Plan network and will help us implement the best strategies for helping Haiti at this difficult time."
"We know that Plan can bring something very unique to the recovery efforts, which is safe spaces for children, where they receive counseling to help them cope with the traumatic effects of disaster," he added. Experienced Plan staff, trained in this kind of psychosocial support, will be on hand in makeshift camps that are being setup in Port-Au-Prince, Jacmel and other quake-affected regions.
Yates also said the money raised is going to be lifesaving for many of the region's children. "The situation out there is utterly beyond anyone's imagination. The needs of the children and their parents are immediate and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future," he added.
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. To make a donation to Plan, please visit www.planusa.org.
SOURCE Plan USA