WISCONSINREPORT.COM (01/14/2010) - 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. The Red Cross also has established a website to assist in locating family members and friends who may have been in Haiti during the earthquake.
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 were 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. 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 were 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.
The special website is located on the internet at http://www.icrc.org/familylinks.
As a result of the earthquake that hit Haiti on 12 January 2010, thousands of persons within Haiti and abroad have lost contact with their loved ones.
The aim of the Family Links website is to accelerate the process of restoring contact between separated family members.
It is managed by the ICRC, in cooperation with the tracing services of the Haitian Red Cross Society and of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies throughout the world.
At this stage, the website offers the possibility for persons in Haiti and abroad to publish the names of relatives with whom they are striving to restore contact. It will progressively incorporate information offering responses to those queries.
To go directly to the beginning of the list, go to http://www.familylinks.icrc.org/WFL_HTI.NSF/DocIndex/locate_eng?opendocument.