Photos: Yazoo City, MS

April 27, 2010

Photos from Yazoo City, MS response to tornadoes. Please click through for caption and courtesy information.

Yazoo City, MS Tornadoes (April 26, 2010)

Yazoo City, MS Tornadoes (April 26, 2010)

Disaster Alert: Tornado in Alabama

April 25, 2010

In addition to responding to the devastating storms in Mississippi last night, the Madison Marshall chapter in Alabama has been busy responding to damage done by tornado touchdowns in DeKalb and Marshall Counties.

The Red Cross opened 1 shelter and is providing material support to 3 others:

Boaz Senior Center
112 Church Street
Boaz, AL

The chapter has deployed Emergency Response Vehicles with shelter supplies to both Marshall and DeKalb Counties.

Video: Supply Distribution

February 9, 2010

Below are three videos. First, a walk through our warehouse of supplies in Haiti. Second, one of our volunteers explains how he’s going to distribute the supplies. Third, a look at how supplies are actually distributed to survivors.

Video: Sample Distribution Items

February 5, 2010

Tracy Reines, Director of International Disaster Response, shows you a few examples of the items we’re distributing to survivors in Haiti.

Earthquake in Haiti: Update #42

January 25, 2010

The American Red Cross is in Haiti as a part of the broader and coordinated Red Cross and Red Crescent network.

More than 430 Red Cross and Red Crescent workers from around the world are in Haiti supporting thousands of local volunteers. Of that, more than 100 are representing the American Red Cross (Includes the Creole interpreters on the USNS Comfort).

Each Red Cross team has its own roles and expertise, and we’re all working together. That is a very powerful engine for relief.

For example, Red Cross responders from eight countries are treating approximately 500 people each day at medical facilities throughout the capital city. An additional 100-bed Red Cross field hospital arrived this weekend and has been set up in the Carrefour soccer stadium.

Others are focused on purifying the water supply available in country and are delivering clean drinking water to 400,000 people each day. So far, more than 2 million liters of water has been distributed.

Local Haitian Red Cross volunteers are providing first aid support as well as emotional support for traumatized survivors. A special area has been established at each medical center where volunteers are comforting children, many of who are too young to even understand what happened.

This is already the largest single-country relief operation in global Red Cross history. The number of emergency response teams in or en route to Haiti equals those that responded to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami – an emergency that spanned 14 countries.

Video: Distribution of Relief Supplies in Haiti

January 25, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti: Update #39

January 22, 2010

Logistical bottlenecks remain, but American Red Cross volunteers on the ground say that “Haiti is coming back to life.”

Red Cross leaders are working with the U.S. government to find ways to get much needed aid through the bottlenecks and into the hands of the Haitian people.

Despite all of the logjams, supplies are slowly getting through. The pipeline to get resources into Haiti was a straw following the earthquake; it’s now a garden hose, but it needs it to become a fire hose.

So far, more than 32 flights carrying Red Cross aid have arrived in Haiti. Additional planes and trucks carrying Red Cross humanitarian assistance are expected every day.

Next week, approximately 3 million pre-packaged meals from the American Red Cross will arrive, and we will partner with the World Food Program to distribute them to the survivors.

Shelter remains an urgent need on the ground. Together with relief partners like the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Red Cross is helping meet temporary shelter needs, whether in camps or in spontaneous settlements throughout the capital city, and is working to provide support for host families sheltering the displaced. This immediate relief includes providing family-sized tents and kits with tarps, ropes and tools to construct shelter. At the same time, we are developing a strategy to meet long-term housing reconstruction needs.

While we still need to reach many more people, in two days (Wednesday and Thursday), the American Red Cross and our partners on the ground were able to provide 1,900 families (9,500 people) with basic supplies like tarps, hygiene kits, water purification tablets and blankets.

On Friday, nearly 70 American Red Cross Creole-speaking volunteers joined the USNS Comfort offshore in Haiti. While aboard, they will serve as interpreters for patients receiving medical care from the U.S. military.

The American Red Cross is also coordinating shipments of blood and blood products to Haiti at the request of the Pan American Health Organization.

Earthquake in Haiti: Update #38

January 21, 2010

The American Red Cross is in Haiti as a part of the broader and coordinated Red Cross and Red Crescent network.

* We all have our roles; we all have our expertise, and we’re all working together. That is a very powerful engine for relief.

* For example, Red Cross responders from seven countries are treating injuries and performing surgery at hospitals and medical centers throughout the capital city.
* Red Cross teams from Latin America and Asia, trained in urban search and rescue, are supporting local authorities.
* Others are focused on purifying the water supply available in the country and expect to deliver clean drinking water to 200,000 people (17 settlements) each day by truck.
* Local Haitian Red Cross volunteers are providing emotional support for traumatized survivors and providing first aid support.
* The ICRC family links Web site (, designed to help reconnect separated families, has received 23,900 registrations since the earthquake. Yesterday (Wednesday), the Red Cross helped more than 340 people in Haiti make international phone calls to their families to say they are safe and well as well as register an additional 178 on the site.

Earthquake in Haiti: Update #36

January 21, 2010

In just the first week of the Haiti response effort, the American Red Cross already has spent or committed $34 million (approximately 25 percent of what has been pledged or received) as of Thursday, January 21.

* The infrastructure of Haiti is severely damaged-airports are clogged, roads are treacherous, and there is no large seaport available. This is causing bottlenecks and making it very difficult to get aid into the hands of survivors. Despite those problems, aid is starting to slowly make its way to those who need help.
* We want aid to move faster, too. But it’s going to take government and relief agencies working together quickly to establish security and expand and repair, airports, roads and seaports to get the relief supplies moving.
* We know this relief effort will take place in two phases: The short term relief effort is underway now and will continue for many weeks. We are starting to plan for a long term recovery effort that will continue for months, if not years.
* In just the first week of the short term relief operation we’ve committed and spent funds in three basic areas: food and water, relief supplies and logistical and support services.
* 50 percent of what has been committed or spent is being used to bring food and water to earthquake survivors. The American Red Cross is providing more 3 million pre-packaged meals, more than 1 million water purification packets and thousands of jerry cans so people can collect and transport clean drinking water.
* 30 percent of what has been committed or spent so far is purchasing and distributing relief supplies. This includes items such as blanket, tarps, soap, hygiene supplies, kitchen sets and first aid supplies.
* 20 percent of what has been committed or spent is providing the logistical support and other items needed to keep the relief effort running. This includes the purchase of vehicles to deliver relief supplies, warehouse space, gasoline, transportation costs and the deployment of our relief specialists. This category also includes the costs associated with the training and deployment of nearly 70 Creole speaking volunteers to the USNS Comfort.
* The American Red Cross is one part of the international relief operation in Haiti. While many of these items are being distributed by our own workers on the ground, we are also providing supplies, food and logistical items to other Red Cross societies and groups, such as the World Food Program to assist in their efforts.
* This is only the beginning of the American Red Cross relief and recovery effort for Haiti. Over the next several days and weeks, as the international relief effort will grow so will the monetary commitment of the American Red Cross. Right now, it’s important to get relief there as quickly as possible, but also be thoughtful and responsible in how we spend the funds the American people have entrusted to us.
* We want to ensure that we manage our money wisely so we can ensure that long term relief is available as well. We are already looking at how the American Red Cross can help meet longer term needs such as providing reliable shelter, water and sanitation systems.

Earthquake in Haiti: Babies

January 21, 2010

Two babies were born yesterday at a Red Cross field hospital in Port-au-Prince. The babies – a boy and a girl – and their mothers are reported to be doing well. They were born within 90 minutes of the 6.1-magnitude aftershock that struck early in the morning.

“A patient suddenly arrived on whom we had to do a caesarean, and another who we thought we would have to do a caesarean,”

explained Arthur Halvorsen, a Norwegian Red Cross anaesthesiologist.

“We took the first mother in to the operating theatre and managed to deliver the baby in a caesarean. This kid is now doing very well. The other mother who was brought in actually ended up giving birth naturally while we were doing the first caesarean.”

A baby girl, the first child born at a Red Cross field hospital in Port-au-Prince, is attended to by midwife Aline Gagnon.

Randolph Chorleus joined the other newborns at the Red Cross field hospital in Haiti's capital.

Photo copyrights: Olav Saltbones / Norwegian Red Cross.
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