SALT LAKE CITY -- The American Red Cross today announced it is allocating an additional $24.4 million for Haiti earthquake relief and recovery, increasing its total commitment to date to $106.4 million. Utahns have contributed more than $1,000,000 to the efforts in Haiti by donating online at www.utahredcross.org, by calling 1-800-REDCROSS, or by making text donations. Utah Region CEO Maxine Margaritis said, "We thank everyone in Utah who has made a contribution and your local Red Cross is proud to serve as an organization that is trusted to ensure these dollars are put to the absolute best use possible to help with the desperately needed relief and recovery efforts in Haiti and around the world."
The Red Cross made its funding announcement the same day that Haitian President Rene Preval is visiting the White House to discuss the urgent need for more aid from the international community to help that island nation recover from the January 12th earthquake.
The latest allocation of funds by the American Red Cross includes $16.1 million to support the construction of transitional shelters that will be coordinated by the global Red Cross network; $3.7 million will go to Habitat for Humanity for the purchase of emergency shelter materials, and $4.6 million will support cash grants to 16,000 families so they can buy essential items as part of a program in close coordination with Haiti's largest microfinance institute, Fonkoze.
"We are gravely concerned about the upcoming rainy season as well as the hurricane season for hundreds of thousands of Haiti's homeless people," said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. "The Red Cross is working feverishly to get tents and tarps to everyone who needs them, but we also recognize that these temporary shelters are not hurricane proof."
"We hope that this additional infusion of millions of dollars today to Habitat for Humanity, among others, will provide emergency shelter to more people who are now sleeping out under the stars." Meltzer added.
The American Red Cross had previously spent or allocated $82 million for food water, emergency care, shelter, relief supplies and family services for Haiti. To date, the American Red Cross has raised approximately $354 million for Haiti relief and recovery efforts.
Since the earthquake struck, the Red Cross global network and its partners have provided emergency shelter materials to more than 650,000 people ahead of spring rains and are reaching 80,000 people a week by delivering tens of thousands of tarps, tents, ropes, timber uprights and toolkits.
The remainder of the people in need are on track to receive emergency shelter on or before the beginning of May.
"No one ever feels that humanitarian relief is moving fast enough," said Meltzer. "We know there are immediate and long-term needs in Haiti, and we are determined to meet them."
In addition to shelter supplies, more than 400,000 people have received basic relief items from the Red Cross, such as hygiene kits, cooking tools, buckets, blankets, and mosquito nets. The Red Cross and its partners resumed a wide ranging vaccination campaign that will protect at least 250,000 children and adults from measles, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. To date, more than 100,000 people have received vaccinations.
American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern will arrive in Haiti on Thursday, her second visit to Haiti since the earthquake, to get an update on the progress that has been made since her visit in January as well as to assess next steps in the recovery.
Red Cross priorities in the months and years ahead will include shelter, water and sanitation, livelihood programs and disease prevention.
Among the group of 16,000 families to receive cash grants are 6,000 host families residing in rural communities, who are now stretching scarce resources in order to care for loved ones who fled the disaster zone.
An additional 10,000 women heads of households, who have lost their homes, businesses or both, will also receive a small grant to help meet their families' immediate needs, as well as a modest loan to restart their businesses, restore their families' source of income and hopefully begin the process of empowering them after so much tragedy and personal loss.
The American Red Cross will also play an important role in helping to prepare Haiti for future emergencies, including the upcoming Caribbean hurricane season.
"The American people have entrusted us with their hard earned money to help the people of Haiti survive and thrive following earthquake in January," added Meltzer. "We at the American Red Cross take this responsibility very seriously and are doing our best to ensure that every dollar counts today, tomorrow and in the years to come."
You can help the victims of countless crises, like the recent earthquakes in Chile and Haiti, around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation by mailing your donation with the designation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter. Donations to the International Response Fund can be made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at www.redcross.org or www.utahredcross.org.