How to Help Haiti

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The White Plains offices of the Red Cross are deluged with calls from Westchester residents wanting to help earthquake-ravaged Haiti and its people.

 

In a release Thursday, this is the response. (Letter from Leg. Judy Myers follows)

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.

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 are 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.  More than 100 units of 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 are 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 http://www.icrc.org/familylinks 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.

How to Help

  • We are not accepting volunteers to travel to Haiti. If you would like to volunteer for the American Red Cross, please contact the White Plains Chapter at 914-946-6500.
  • For inquiries about relatives living and who have citizenship in Haiti, please be patient and call repeatedly until the lines clear or contact other family members who live nearby. Telephone, Internet and other communication lines are often disrupted in times of disaster.
  • 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.

Countless requests have come from people wanting to help.  The best way to do that is to make a donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund at redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. Donors can designate their gifts to Haiti relief.  Donations to the International Response Fund allows the American Red Cross to respond to global emergencies and disasters.

In addition, several hundred thousand people have chosen to make a mobile donation.  Donors can text "Haiti" to 90999 on their cell phone to send a $10 donation to support Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.  The mobile giving effort raised more than $3 million by Thursday morning, and all money raised goes to support Red Cross relief efforts in 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.

A letter from Westchester Legislator Judy Myers reiterates many of the same points:

Today, our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian community – both on the island of Haiti and right here in Westchester County – who are grieving and suffering over the loss of so many loved ones due to the devastating earthquake that hit the island on Tuesday. 

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake has affected about 3 million people in Haiti –  one-third of Haiti’s population – and devastated the capital city, killing an unknown number of people and destroying buildings.

Like so many of you, I have been following the news from Haiti very closely, and we’ve already taken steps to assist in relief and recovery from this devastating tragedy.  As home to approximately 5,000 people of Haitian ancestry living in Westchester, we must do all that we can as individuals and collectively to help save the lives of people in Haiti. 

One of the first things people ask is: how can I help? There are many established organizations and efforts that are in need of our support to provide relief to the people of Haiti.  What follows is some information about how our residents can get involved in the relief effort.

  • Donations: Financial donations needed and are critical at this point.  The Catholic Relief Service of Haiti (an official international humanitarian agency) is gathering donations currently.  You can go online at http://crs-blog.org/ or call 1-800-736-3467 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
  • Volunteering: People interested in volunteering to help with the relief effort should call the American Red Cross in Westchester County at (914) 946-6500 x.200. Ask for the volunteer division. 
  • People who are trying to locate U.S. citizens living in or traveling in Haiti should contact the U.S. Department of State – The Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (888) 407-4747 or (202) 647-5225.

I know that working together, we can do everything we can as soon as we can to help the people of Haiti fully recover from this disaster. 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 

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