Money will go to assist Japanese Red Cross and other relief and recovery efforts
WASHINGTON, March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross today announced that the public has generously donated $120.5 million to help the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The announcement was made Tuesday at a press conference at the Japanese embassy with Japan's Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki and American Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter.
The money will go to the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami response, specifically the Japanese Red Cross, which is providing direct emergency relief, medical services and emotional counseling to affected communities. The American Red Cross committed an initial $10 million in the early days after the disaster and will provide the Japanese Red Cross with another $50 million in the next few days. The remainder of the funds will be made available as they come in.
In addition to the funds provided to support work by the Japanese Red Cross, the American Red Cross has given $500,000 to the United Nation's World Food Programme for logistics support for the delivery and storage of relief items for survivors. The American Red Cross also has been assisting in the voluntary evacuations of military families from Japan.
"Almost three weeks after one of the most devastating earthquakes in history, we are immensely grateful to the American public for their continued generosity," said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. "As part of the world's largest humanitarian organization, the American Red Cross is eager to support our counterparts in the Japanese Red Cross, whose staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to meet the immense needs of their people."
"The American public and we at the American Red Cross have not forgotten the generosity of the Japanese people when we suffered tremendous loss after the 9/11 attacks and, more recently, after Hurricane Katrina," said Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross. "Collectively, the Japanese Red Cross sent us contributions of close to $30 million. Now it is our opportunity – and our duty – to do what we can to help you."
The American Red Cross expects these funds will be used to fund immediate relief activities such as providing supplies and medical care. Over time, it is likely that some of the contributions will be used for longer-term recovery. The American Red Cross has been in close contact with its partners in the Asia Pacific region since the earthquake to offer its support. The Japanese Red Cross has expressed its gratitude for the support of the American people and the American Red Cross.
The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with 2 million registered volunteers, many of whom have responded to help their neighbors affected by the earthquake, tsunami and evolving nuclear emergency.
Red Cross volunteers and staff in Japan continue to provide health care, emotional support activities and relief items to people affected. The Japanese Red Cross has dozens of medical teams operating in Red Cross hospitals and mobile clinics treating those affected by the disasters.
Immediately after the earthquake and tsunami, the Red Cross dispatched relief items from stocks to assist those affected, and has provided 125,500 blankets and 25,000 emergency kits. The Red Cross is increasing its relief operations for survivors in evacuation centers and is planning to provide supplies for 100,000 people. It is also working with local authorities on ways to help people still living in evacuation centers.
Overall, the conditions for survivors appear to be improving: the number of people in shelters in Japan has dropped to 244,000 from what had been the high of nearly half a million. More supplies and fuel are also reaching affected areas. However, the needs are still overwhelming and uncertainty around several Japanese nuclear reactors and associated health risks remains a major concern.
The American Red Cross also has been assisting in the voluntary evacuations of military families from Japan. Over the past week, American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces staff stationed at military installations in the Far East assisted with the voluntary departures of military families from Japan. The Red Cross helped register departees, escorted people and assisted in military sheltering operations.
American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces staff also provided a range of support including: canteen services; registering passengers; helping people find out where to secure all the required military clearances; and assisting people to the aircraft. Once the families reached the U.S., Red Cross staff was also on hand to provide families food, snacks and comfort items.
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