The aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake has posed logistical challenges for all humanitarian organizations, including Red Cross responders, who are working around the clock to meet the challenges and ensure aid reaches the survivors.
The difficulties include damaged transportation and power systems; an unreliable airport tower, which had led to many flights being diverted; and damaged cranes at the capital city’s port, which is not expected to reopen until January 18. Some roads are also covered with debris, making travel within the capital city difficult.
Despite these challenges, the American Red Cross has dozens of disaster specialists in Haiti, assessing the damage, addressing urgent needs and establishing the foundation for a long-term recovery operation. These individuals joined the 15-person staff who were already in country, and 12 Red Cross teams from other countries who arrived on Thursday. Among these teams are engineers, surgeons and family linking specialists. These teams will establish field hospitals, restore water and sanitation systems, distribute supplies and restore family links facilities.
Two planes carrying Red Cross humanitarian assistance are due to land Friday afternoon in Port-au-Prince. The first carries a field hospital, and the second carries tarps, blankets, hygiene items, buckets, shelter supplies and kitchen sets.
The American Red Cross is also working today with airport authorities to transport additional items from its warehouse in Panama into Port-au-Prince.
An Outpouring of Support
The American Red Cross and other relief organizations have seen an incredible outpouring of support in response to the Haiti earthquake.
So far, the American Red Cross has received $37 million in donations, breaking records for pledges to the Red Cross made within the same time period after a disaster. More than half of the donations have been through online contributions, with strong support from corporations and record-setting activity in mobile giving.
First Lady Michelle Obama also released a Public Service Announcement asking people to join her in supporting the Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti:
“The images from Haiti are heart-breaking—homes, hospitals and schools destroyed; families searching for loved ones; parents trying to feed their children. But we can all do something. We can help the American Red Cross as it delivers the food, water and medicine that can save lives. Donate $10 by texting “HAITI” to 9-0-9-9-9. Visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Thanks for your help.”
How to Help
While the American Red Cross appreciates heartfelt offers to travel to Haiti or to donate household items, at this time, what the Red Cross needs the most are financial contributions – whether by check, online or by phone.
You can make a donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund at http://www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. Donors can designate their gifts to Haiti relief. You can also donate $10 to Haiti relief by texting “HAITI” to 90999.