I've been working this week with the American Red Cross — mostly working with the Metro Atlanta Chapter and our local Disaster Action Team. I am so moved by the sincere wish of so many people to help, and spent most of Friday helping to answer the phones. The number one question I heard: How can I help?
The very best way to help right now is to make a financial donation.
This is not going to be a quick fix, and we must vow to remain vigilant and reliable in our aid to the people of Haiti…today, tomorrow and a year from now. Many people want to collect donations of clothing and other tangible goods; unfortunately, the high cost and complicated logistics of getting goods to the people who need them make it impractical. Supplies were pre-staged in Panama and that is what Red Cross is using for Haiti.
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.
A Focus On Children
An additional seven truckloads of equipment and materials including medical supplies, that were on Red Cross planes re-routed to 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.
The American Red Cross team and responders from more than 30 countries, totaling more than 100, have now arrived and are providing a wide-range of support, including food, water, field hospitals, emotional support and sanitation services.
“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.”
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.
How You Can Help
Donations to the International Response Fund can be made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS (English) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at www.redcross.org. This is the BEST way for you to help.
You can also text "Haiti" to 90999 to make a $10 donation billed to your phone.
- The American Red Cross is not accepting volunteers to travel to Haiti. If you would like to volunteer for the American Red Cross, please contact your local chapter.
- Persons in Haiti and abroad can search for and register the names of relatives missing since the earthquake at www.icrc.org/familylinks. The International Committee of the Red Cross is helping to reconnect separated families within the country.
- People trying to locate U.S. citizens living or traveling in Haiti should contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or (202) 647-5225.