Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The American Red Cross has pledged an initial $200,000 to assist communities impacted by todays earthquake in Haiti, and is prepared to take further action as local responders assess the situation.
Initial reports indicate widespread damage in Port au Prince, with continuing aftershocks, says Tracy Reines, director of international disaster response for the American Red Cross. As with most earthquakes, we expect to see immediate needs for food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support.
The American Red Cross has made available all of the relief supplies from its warehouse in Panama which would provide for basic needs for approximately 5,000 families. In addition, it is deploying a disaster management specialist to Haiti, and has additional disaster specialists on standby if needed.
The American Red Cross has an extensive partnership with the Haitian Red Cross, which is expected to lead the Red Cross response to the earthquake.
The American Red Cross has staff on the ground in Haiti who provide ongoing HIV/AIDS prevention and disaster preparedness programs. At this time, all the three American Red Cross staff in Haiti have all been reported safe.
The Haitian Red Cross was founded in 1932 and is one of the primary organizations in the country responding to disasters. Although earthquakes are less common, Haiti is frequently impacted by hurricanes including those in 2008, and the Haiti Red Cross has developed experience in disaster response due those disasters.