American Red Cross Helping Haiti Recover and Rebuild at Two-Year Anniversary of Earthquake

The Red Cross to date has spent and signed agreements to spend $330 million on Haiti earthquake relief and recovery efforts

Two years after the Haiti earthquake, the American Red Cross is helping people rebuild their homes and their lives and improving communities with health, water and sanitation projects.

In a two-year update, the American Red Cross highlighted its emergency work after the 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, as well as its recovery efforts over the past year. Recovery activities have included building homes, giving people opportunities to earn money, providing access to clean water and sanitation systems, supporting the delivery of health care, and teaching communities how to prevent the spread of diseases and be better prepared for future disasters.

“The money donated to the American Red Cross provided life-saving relief to millions of Haitians after the earthquake and is now being used for longer-term solutions such as helping people move from camps to permanent homes and communities,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross.

“Although progress is not as fast as we would like, recovery is well underway,” McGovern said, adding “for example, the pace of home construction has increased rapidly, with the American Red Cross and the rest of the global Red Cross network providing housing to more than 100,000 people at the two-year mark.”

Other highlights of the past year include: 

  • Providing clean water and sanitation services to more than 369,000 people
  • Providing health services and hygiene education to more than 2.4 million people
  • Reaching more than 3 million people with cholera treatment and prevention
  • Teaching more than 436,000 people how to better prepare for disasters
  • Providing livelihoods assistance – grants, jobs and other help – to 114,000 people

 The American Red Cross received about $486 million in donations following the earthquake, and has spent and signed agreements to spend $330 million on Haiti earthquake relief and recovery efforts in the first two years. The largest portion of spending has gone to food and emergency services, followed by housing, water and sanitation, health, livelihoods, disaster preparedness, and response to the cholera outbreak.

“In the coming year, the American Red Cross will focus on programs to renew communities, which include constructing and repairing homes, providing clean water and sanitation, health education, livelihood support and disaster preparedness programming,” McGovern said. “We also continue to support hospitals and clinics that are critical to providing access to needed medical treatment in Haiti, and we will maintain our efforts to combat cholera and teach people how to prevent diseases.”

Housing is a priority, and the American Red Cross is shifting its focus from providing transitional homes to building permanent homes and repairing damaged homes so people can return to their former neighborhoods.

Further information on Red Cross work in Haiti, including a copy of the two-year report, can be found at redcross.org/Haiti.

 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.

 

Gail McGovern: Latest Visit to Haiti

Editor’s note: On July 21 and 22, American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern traveled to Port-au-Prince, her fifth visit to Haiti since last year’s devastating earthquake. Here are some observations from the trip.

Every time I make a trip to Haiti, it looks a little bit better. On this visit, I’ve sensed a real feeling of optimism. There’s a returning sense of normalcy, less rubble, and signs of rebuilding. I also saw fewer people in the camps, and the numbers bear it out. People are moving from under tarps, into homes and getting on with their lives.

What the American Red Cross is doing in Haiti is very much in the spirit of building back better.

On Friday I attended a meeting of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. President Martelly was at that meeting, and shared with us the details of his 100-day plan. Among other things, it focuses on systematic ways to move people out of six camps and into neighborhoods. The plan seems reasonable and feasible, and I was certainly impressed with the presentation.

The American Red Cross and our partners in the Red Cross network have decided to allocate funds to relocate about 900 families from one of the makeshift camps, as part of the 100-day plan. We’ll do this through a combination of new home construction, repair of damaged homes and economic support to renters.

What the American Red Cross is doing in Haiti is very much in the spirit of building back better. The global Red Cross network has also committed to helping 30,000 families transition out of camps and into safer homes. That work is well underway, and more than 12,000 families have been helped. Semi-permanent houses are going up and there are smiles on the faces of recipients. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

The next step in our housing strategy is more ambitious. We’re planning on repairing and potentially building permanent homes. In fact, one of our stops on this trip was at a housing exposition in Port-au-Prince. President Martelly and Bill Clinton – who’s co-chair of the recovery commission – attended the expo as well. About 60 different construction companies were there showing their designs. We’re putting together a request for proposals to evaluate which options are best for us.

Building permanent communities will be harder, and will take longer. It will involve not just the homes themselves, but a whole series of interconnected services, from water and sanitation to roads. We’re talking about a massive urban renewal program that’s going to take years to complete. Our hope to create sustainable change in Haiti.

When I look at the Haitians, I see people who are hopeful, optimistic and resilient. They’re industrious and entrepreneurial. But Haiti is a challenging place too. It’s going to be complex to get all this done in an equitable way. Despite the challenges, I truly do have a feeling of optimism.

American Red Cross Commits $2.7 Million to Help 3,000 Haitian Children Return to School

Contact: Julie Sell
Spokesperson, – Haiti Delegation
American Red Cross
sellj@usa.redcross.org
Phone: (509) 3488-5864

WASHINGTON, Tuesday, February 15, 2011 — The American Red Cross today announced it was spending $2.7 million to provide financial support for Haitian families affected by the January 2010 earthquake so their children can attend school.

An estimated 3,000 children in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Croix Deprez, a hilly area where many homes collapsed in the earthquake, are benefiting. The program, which targets children and youth ages five through 19, provides vouchers to cover the cost of school fees. In addition, participating families will receive a cash grant of $100 per child to cover the cost of school-related expenses, including transportation, uniforms and lunch.

“This is a terrific program,” said Matthew Marek, head of programs for the American Red Cross in Haiti. “Children get an education, and cash-strapped families can use their savings for other pressing needs.”

The program pays students’ school fees for the remainder of the current academic year. To be eligible for the school vouchers and cash grants, families must live in one of three camps in the Croix Deprez area, and have enrolled their children in primary or secondary school by a January 2011 deadline set by the Haitian government.

Nearly 200 area schools are participating in the program. Many of them lost a large number of fee-paying students after the earthquake because families could no longer afford to send their children to school. Now, thanks to the American Red Cross funding, they have the income to pay teachers and staff. The program is being implemented with approval from the Haitian Ministry of Education.

Haiti has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. One challenge for families is the lack of funds to pay for private schools, which make up the bulk of the Haitian education system.  In many cases, school fees exceed $140 per trimester per child. Prior to the earthquake, which left more than 230,000 dead and left more than 1.3 million homeless, more than two-thirds of the Haitian population lived on less than $2 a day.

The American Red Cross has long supported school-based initiatives in the U.S .and around the world. For decades, the organization has worked with and in schools on issues including disaster preparedness, health and safety education, food assistance and psychosocial support.

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.

American Red Cross Issues One-Year Report on Haiti Relief and Recovery

Donations Made a Real Difference in Lives of Haitians Following 2010 Earthquake

The American Red Cross released a one-year report on how the Red Cross has helped hundreds of thousands of Haitian survivors after the January 2010 earthquake, what has been done to respond to new issues such as the cholera outbreak, and plans for the years ahead to support Haiti’s recovery.

“Thanks to the generous contributions of so many donors, people in Haiti are receiving immediate relief and resources, as well as the necessary support and training to help them recover and rebuild,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “Red Cross efforts saved lives and improved the quality of life for Haitians with emergency shelter, food, water, latrines, medical treatment and other supplies.”

“People in our community and across the country responded quickly to help Haiti, and these donations have made a real difference in the lives of Haitians,” said Steve Hansen, regional chapter executive. Support ranged from small elementary schools to the area’s largest employers; media partners raised funds with the help of the listeners and thousands texted their support as well.

The one-year report on Red Cross relief and recovery efforts in Haiti can be found at www.redcross.org/haiti.

Since the earthquake on January 12, 2010, the American Red Cross and the global Red Cross network have provided:

  • Medical care for nearly 217,000 patients
  • Cash grants and loans to help 220,000 people
  • Latrines for 265,000 people
  • Daily drinking water for more than 317,000 people
  • Emergency shelter materials for more than 860,000 people
  • Vaccinations for nearly 1 million people
  • Food for 1.3 million people for one month

Since the earthquake struck Haiti, the American Red Cross has raised approximately $479 million nationally for the Haiti relief and recovery efforts, including more than $32 million from the record-setting text donation program.

At the one-year anniversary of the earthquake, the Red Cross expects to have spent and signed agreements to spend $245 million, which is more than half of what has been raised. Specifically, 30 percent of the money will have been spent on emergency shelter and basic homes; 26 percent on food and emergency services; 15 percent on providing clean water and sanitation; 13 percent on health and disease prevention programs; 10 percent on livelihoods and host family assistance; and 6 percent on disaster preparedness activities.

The remainder of the money will go to longer-term recovery over the next several years, with spending plans likely to evolve to respond to changing needs.

In addition to responding to the earthquake and its aftermath, the Red Cross worked to provide help following the cholera outbreak last fall. The American Red Cross has spent more than $4.5 million and plans to spend at least another $10 million to fight the spread of cholera.  

One of the big challenges facing the Red Cross and other non-profit organizations is finding land to get people out of camps and into transitional homes. It has been difficult for the Haitian government to determine exactly who owns the land and where these homes would be built. Much of the available land is covered with tons of rubble that must be removed, and there is not enough heavy equipment in Haiti to do this quickly. In addition, the government, which would take a lead role on much of the land ownership and rubble removal, was severely affected by the earthquake.

Overall, the American Red Cross expects to spend about $100 million of the remaining funds on construction of permanent homes and community development projects. These efforts, which will unfold over the next few years, will depend on several outside factors including the availability of appropriate land and the coordination of infrastructure, livelihoods and community centers.

“The Red Cross will continue to spend the money entrusted to us by the American people in the most responsible way possible to help Haiti and its people,” McGovern said.

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.

 

Book Teaches Children About Haiti Earthquake

By Sarah Thomsen, WBAY -TV 2: Click HERE  for Video of Story.

Nine months after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, cleanup and recovery continue.

Now a local woman is trying to help victims — and help children understand what happened, in a unique way.

Kristin Martell read a special story to children at Butterfly Books in De Pere Thursday night. The story recounts the Haiti earthquake, but from a child’s perspective.

“I really wanted it to speak to children and help them understand what happened and not be too gruesome but bring them into what was going on and how they might feel,” Martell said.

Martell found herself glued to the television after the earthquake, wanting to help.

Since she couldn’t physically go there, she wrote and illustrated her book, Haiti Mon Amour.

She tells the story in French, since she teaches the language and Haitians speak Creole, which is similar to French.

It shows kids what life was like before the earthquake and after, and how the world helped.

Most of all, it helps them not to forget.

“What is an earthquake? Are the people OK? Are they still getting help? You know, keeping them in our memories and being able to help them continually, because it will take years for them to recover.”

All proceeds from this book go to the American Red Cross to help Haiti victims.

“That’s what I really want this book to do is help them feel like, yes, I helped them, I helped Haiti, I helped them try to recover from something so devastating.”

My 3rd Trip to Haiti: by Gail McGovern, American Red Cross

To view the 6-month progress report click HERE!

Recently, I made my 3rd trip to Haiti and it was a a very productive trip. The purpose of the trip was to continue the strong efforts we’re all making to be sure all the Red Cross societies are coordinated in our relief efforts. I was joined by the head of the Canadian Red Cross as well as the head of the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies. We also had the opportunity to visit with Madame Gedeon who is the head of the Haitian Red Cross and I had the privilege of meeting with President Preval, the President of Haiti.

We talked about our relief efforts in terms of how we’re going to move from relief into recovery, ensuring that our efforts would be in sync. We talked to the President about land availability which is a very complicated issue. We are building transitional shelters to help people get out of the tented communities and into more permanent shelters, and we’re working with the government of Haiti to do so.

As we drove from location to location and spoke to different people I noticed the spirit in the street was higher than my other 2 visits. People were engaged in commerce. We passed a big farmer’s market with a tremendous amount of activity – buying and selling produce. The brightest sign I saw was wherever we went you saw children in uniform. They are clearly back in school. It’s such a healthy sign to see these children back in school. There was a spirit of resiliency in the air.

Pioneer Credit Union Recognized by Red Cross

(L-R) Michelle Kozak of Pioneer Credit Union with Mauree Childress, Director of Development, American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter

Pioneer Credit Union has been recognized as one of the Heroes for the American Red Cross for its efforts in helping earthquake victims in Haiti.

This past February, Pioneer raised more than $13,000 for the American Red Cross to support relief efforts in Haiti after the devastating January earthquake.  Pioneer coordinated a fundraising effort at all of its branch locations which collected more than $8,000. In addition to the fundraiser, Pioneer matched $5,000 in donations, making the grand total more than $13,000.

 “We are very proud and thankful that Pioneer’s members and employees came forward during this campaign to help the people of Haiti,” said Tom Young, Pioneer Credit Union President. “Thanks also to the Red Cross for all the good it does in the community and for taking the time to recognize the effort that gets put forth to helping those in need.”

As of April 7, 2010, 50% of the funds raised for Haiti earthquake response were spent on emergency relief such as food and relief supplies, 39% on shelter; 5% on livelihoods, 5% on water and sanitation and 1% on health.

“The Red Cross is truly grateful for Pioneer’s dedication to support and goodwill,” said Mauree Childress, director of development for the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter. “The support of businesses like Pioneer, make a real difference in our communities and beyond.”

 To learn more visit www.pioneercu.org.

Pioneer Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative that offers a complete line of financial services.  Owned by the people who do business there, Pioneer serves nine counties in Wisconsin: Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Shawano, Manitowoc, Oconto, Outagamie, Marinette and Calumet.  Pioneer has more than 50,000 members and has grown to more than $420 million in assets. To learn more visit: www.pioneercu.org.