American Red Cross Contributes an Initial $10 Million to Assist Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors

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The tsunami swiped away the gas station causing a fire which burn down the whole town. Photo: Japanese Red Cross

WASHINGTON, Tuesday, March 15, 2011

“We are grateful for the American public’s generosity and compassion following what has been declared one of the most devastating earthquakes in history,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. “The American Red Cross is in a unique position to help channel that support to our partner in Japan that is playing a critical humanitarian role and comforting the survivors.”

In addition to financial assistance, a disaster management expert from the American Red Cross arrived in Japan Monday for a week-long mission. She is serving on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross, which continues to support the Japanese government’s earthquake and tsunami response.

Within 10 minutes of the earthquake, the Japanese Red Cross Society called its disaster management task force to national headquarters to begin mapping the response to the crisis. Photo: Tatsuya Sugiyama/Japanese Red Cross

The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with two million volunteers nationwide. Many local volunteers took immediate action following the disaster by distributing relief items, offering hot meals, clearing debris and providing medical transportation.

As concerns mount about damage to nuclear power plants in the north, the Japanese Red Cross is also focused on supporting the 200,000 people who have been evacuated from the exclusion zone. Many of the Japanese Red Cross branch offices have trained nuclear decontamination teams and equipment, including special tents for decontamination which can be used to support a government response. A specialist medical team at the Nagasaki Red Cross hospital is on standby, ready to receive patients if people become ill as a result of radiation poisoning. Other hospitals in the area are monitoring radiation levels to protect the patients they are currently treating.

At public shelters and throughout the country, local volunteers are handing out relief items, including more than 65,000 blankets which are of great comfort to the displaced, many of whom had been sleeping outdoors, in their vehicles and wherever else they can find space since the earthquake.

“There is a real concern for the elderly, who are extremely vulnerable to hypothermia,” said Meltzer. “Japan is a country with a high proportion of seniors, and the Red Cross will be doing all it can to support them through this dreadful experience.”

More than 100 medical teams, made up of more than 700 people, including doctors and nurses have been providing assistance in the most affected areas through mobile medical clinics. Trained nurses with the Japanese Red Cross are also offering psychosocial support to traumatized survivors.

While the damage is undeniably severe and needs enormous, thousands of survivors are grateful for their lives post-disaster. Investments in early-warning systems and disaster preparedness and other training programs, including those from the American Red Cross following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, paid off in the Pacific Basin last week. The Japanese government’s own system helped hundreds of thousands evacuate to the approximately 2,000 shelters supported by the Japanese Red Cross before the first tsunami waves reached the mainland. And Red Cross societies in Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Palau and Fiji undoubtedly saved lives by alerting and evacuating residents when the tsunami warnings sounded.

Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. Gifts to the American Red Cross will support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific crisis, contributions are used to prepare for and service victims of other crises.

In the coming weeks, the American Red Cross expects to make additional contributions to support the humanitarian response. Donations received from American Red Cross and other Red Cross partners will aid Japan’s relief and recovery efforts through the Japanese Red Cross and possibly other organizations as experts on the ground determine the best way forward. Donations received by the Japanese Red Cross from people within Japan will be pooled and managed by an independent grant disbursement committee, which will include the Japanese Red Cross. The grants will be disbursed in installments in order to responsibly and effectively respond to the country’s evolving relief and recovery needs.

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

— The American Red Cross today announced an initial contribution of $10 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society to assist in its ongoing efforts to provide medical care and relief assistance to the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

American Red Cross Funds Critical Medical Care in Haiti

 MEDIA CONTACT:  Julie Sell, Spokesperson, American Red Cross – Haiti Delegation  sellj@usa.redcross.org or + (509) 3488-5864

Country’s Only Critical Care and Trauma Center Now Open until June 2011

The American Red Cross has committed $2.76 million to underwrite operating expenses at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare Critical Care Trauma and Rehabilitation Program in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, allowing the facility to remain open until the middle of next year.

 The hospital operates 24/7 for the general public, providing the only critical care and trauma services for all of Haiti. Funding from this agreement will support essential medical services, including operating expenses, payroll and administrative fees.

“After the catastrophic earthquake in January, we treated tens of thousands of Haitians; and continue today to treat as many critically ill and injured patients as any major metropolitan medical center in the United States,” said Dr. Barth Green, the Co-Founder and President of Project Medishare. “Thanks to the American Red Cross and their generous support, we are now able to continue to provide this crucial medical safety net for the people of Haiti.”

The Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare employs 160 Haitian staff members of which approximately 147 are healthcare professionals. They are joined by more than a dozen full time international staff providing specialized services, including an on-the-job mentoring program.

This one-of-a-kind facility in Haiti offers critical care treatment for adults and children in well-equipped intensive care units and operating rooms supported by a modern medical laboratory and a well-supplied pharmacy as well as advanced imaging technology. 

“To meet the greatest needs after the Haiti devastating earthquake, we have done our best to support meaningful projects and programs, some of which are outside the scope of our traditional response and recovery work,” said David Meltzer, Senior Vice President of International Services for the American Red Cross. “Through our partnership with Project Medishare, we expect to provide treatment to an estimated 27,600 critically ill and injured patients over the course of the next year.”

“Had it not been for extremely decisive action by the American Red Cross, this significant trauma hospital in Port au Prince would have closed,” said actor Sean Penn, the founder of the J/P Haitian Relief Organization. “I applaud them.”

While Project Medishare continues its life-saving work, the Haitian Ministry of Health and the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission are working to develop a sustainable national critical care, trauma and rehabilitation plan and facilities to serve the long-term needs of the people of Haiti.

The American Red Cross is supporting a number of other health initiatives in Haiti. It has already provided $3.8 million to Partners in Health in order to support expenses at Haiti’s University hospital in Port-au-Prince.  The American Red Cross is also helping to fund the Red Cross field hospital in Carrefour with a grant of $1.8 million; as well as supporting the International Committee of the Red Cross with $1.4 million to help build a prosthetics and rehab center for Haitians injured in the quake.

The American Red Cross increases aid to flood-ravaged Pakistan

Financial support and relief supplies totaling $1 million sent to help flood-affected communities

A family wades through flood waters while evacuating Baseera, a village in the Muzaffargarh district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

 

Washington, D.C., Tuesday, August 17, 2010 – As flood waters threaten to engulf new communities in the south of Pakistan, the American Red Cross is increasing its support to $1 million to help families affected by the worst flooding in that country in more than 80 years.“The extent of the devastation is massive, with the Pakistan government now estimating 20 million people are significantly affected by the floods,” says David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services for the American Red Cross. “With food supplies and crops destroyed, millions of people will need food aid, water and emergency relief for months to come.”

Thousands of Pakistan Red Crescent volunteers continue to distribute relief items, reaching approximately 350,000 people since the flooding started. And all of their available mobile emergency units are out in flood-affected communities and have now provided medical care to more than 30,000 people across the country.

The global Red Cross and Red Crescent network estimates that, in the near term, at least 6 million people will need emergency humanitarian assistance, in the form of safe water, tents and shelter materials, and medical help.

According to the United Nations, waterborne diseases continue to pose a risk to millions of people, especially children, living in the flood-affected areas. Contaminated water and the lack of medication are causing some of the main flood-related illnesses, such as respiratory tract infections and diarrhea, to be potentially deadly. Snake bites have also become a major medical issue.

In the northwest of the country, where the flash floods first struck, the waters have receded in many places and the devastation resembles an earthquake more than a flood, with bridges collapsed and houses destroyed. In the south, much of the affected area is still underwater, but hundreds of villages and countless thousands of acres of standing crops are still submerged, and the waters may not recede fully for more than a year.

Until now the American Red Cross had already pledged $250,000 for Pakistan relief – $150,000 worth of tarps, blankets and kitchen items as well as $100,000 in immediate financial support.

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