From the American Red Cross:
Bluffton, SC, January 13, 2010 — On Tuesday, January 12, less than one hour before sunset, a 7.3 earthquake struck Haiti near the capital of Port au Prince, causing catastrophic damage and loss of life.
Initial estimates are that up to 3 million people may be affected. In Haiti, the local Red Cross worked throughout the night to rescue people from their trapped homes and provide first aid. Priority needs now are food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support. The next 48 hours are critical for life-saving operations such as search and rescue and first aid.
Many areas remain inaccessible as roads are covered with debris and bridges have collapsed. Telephone lines and electricity are still out in many places. Government offices, including the Presidential palace, have collapsed. Hospitals and the local Red Cross office have sustained major damage.
The American Red Cross is contributing an initial $1 million from its International Response Fund to support the relief operation.
They are also releasing supplies from their warehouse in Panama that will be able to meet the immediate needs of 5,000 families; included are tarps, mosquito nets and cooking sets. The American Red Cross is deploying six disaster management specialists to the disaster zone to help coordinate relief. These join the staff of 15 we already have on the ground there.
The American Red Cross already has seen an outpouring of support and concern from the public. People who want to help those affected by the Haitian earthquake can make a donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund at redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
You can also donate through your local Red Cross chapter by calling 843-757-7437 or making a secure donation online at www.LowcountryRedCross.org. You can also call the Red Cross office in Charleston at 800-342-4062.
The Red Cross is also receiving money through a third party mobile fundraising effort sponsored by Mobile Accord. Mobile donors can text "Haiti" to 90999 to send a ten dollar donation to the Red Cross. The funds will go to support the Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.
At this time, the Red Cross is only deploying volunteers specially trained to manage international emergency operations. Please consider supporting your community's local needs by volunteering with your local Red Cross. To contact your local chapter call 843-757-7437.
Contacting loved ones living or traveling in Haiti:
Telephone, Internet and other communication lines are often disrupted in times of disaster. If your loved one has citizenship in Haiti, please be patient and continue to call or contact other family members who live nearby. If you're trying to reach a U.S. citizen living or traveling in Haiti, you should contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747.
INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE FUND