Earthquake in Haiti: Update #26

Red Cross Aid Reaches Haitian Earthquake Survivors

American Red Cross President & CEO Gail McGovern to travel to Port-au-Prince Monday

Editorial Note: Call (202) 303-5551 to speak with an American Red Cross spokesperson.

WASHINGTON, January 16, 2010 – Truckloads of Red Cross supplies arrived in Port-au-Prince today and thousands of responders are traveling the streets, providing water and first aid as well as finding lost loved ones and transporting people with serious injuries to nearby health facilities.

“America’s support – donations made in the United States to the American Red Cross – is reaching the hands of survivors in Haiti,” said Steve McAndrew, disaster relief specialist with the American Red Cross in Port-au-Prince.

Within the convoy that arrived today are 50-bed field hospitals and purification equipment capable of producing 10,000 gallons of drinking water per day. The mobile hospitals have a dedicated section to help people cope with emotional trauma. Toys and specially-trained volunteers will be available to comfort children, who are particularly vulnerable.

An additional seven truckloads of equipment and materials including medical supplies, that were on Red Cross planes re-routed to the Dominican Republic Friday, are traveling overland and are expected to arrive in Port-au-Prince by Sunday. Two flights will arrive in the capital city, carrying enough relief supplies for more than 32,000 families, on Monday as well.

The American Red Cross team and responders from more than 30 countries, totaling 100, have now arrived and are providing a wide-range of support, including food, water, field hospitals, emotional support and sanitation services, alongside thousands of local volunteers.

“We are working with the Haitian Red Cross volunteers, who have intimate knowledge of the community,” said McAndrew. “Survivors are receiving aid from their neighbors, who they know and trust, with support from the international community.”

On Monday, American Red Cross President & CEO Gail McGovern will travel to Port-au-Prince to join other Red Cross leaders in assessing the relief efforts and planning for long-term recovery.

“Our focus now is on the immediate relief for the people of Haiti, but make no mistake, this is going to be a massive long-term recovery operation,” McGovern said.

Since the earthquake struck, more than 19,300 people have registered with the International Committee of the Red Cross-sponsored Web site (www.icrc.org/familylinks) helping to reconnect families separated during the earthquake. Almost all of the registrations were from people searching for news about their relatives, although around 1,400 people have so far used the site to say they are safe and well.

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 http://www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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