WASHINGTON, January 14, 2010 – With estimates that as many as three million people may be affected by the catastrophic earthquake which hit Haiti Tuesday, the American Red Cross is releasing an additional $9 million for earthquake relief, bringing its total commitment so far to $10 million to support relief efforts in Haiti.
Priority needs in Haiti are food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support. Thousands of local Red Cross volunteers are aiding their fellow Haitians. American Red Cross Disaster management specialists are scheduled to arrive today from the United States, Peru and Mexico to join local Red Cross staff already on the ground in the disaster zone. As soon as airports begin accepting relief shipments, tarps, hygiene items and cooking sets for approximately 5,000 families will come from the Red Cross warehouse in Panama.
The American Red Cross is also helping the injured who may need blood. More than 100 units of blood and blood products were shipped to the U.S. Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, and then on to Guantanamo Bay to help Haitian evacuees and patients.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has a plane full of mostly medical items on the way to Haiti from Geneva. ICRC staff, including engineers, a surgeon and family linking specialists are expected to arrive in Port-au-Prince this morning. Other Red Cross partners have deployed a mobile hospital, medical teams, and 40 staff to help with sheltering, providing water, sanitation, and telecommunications.
ICRC is helping reconnect separated families in Haiti through a special web site which enables people in Haiti and outside the country to search for and register the names of relatives missing since the earthquake. In the first twenty-four hours, more than 6,000 people have been registered.
Countless requests have come from people wanting to help. The best way to do that is to make a donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund at redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. Donors can designate their gifts to Haiti relief. Donations to the International Response Fund allows the American Red Cross to respond to global emergencies and disasters.
In addition, several hundred thousand people have chosen to make a mobile donation. Donors can text “Haiti” to 90999 on their cell phone to send a $10 donation to support Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti. The mobile giving effort raised more than $3 million by Thursday morning, and all money raised goes to support Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.