Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross witnessed first hand the devastation wrought upon Haiti by last weeks Earthquake during her visit there Tuesday.
She visited a first aid post set up outside damaged American Red Cross headquarters there. The first aid post is one of 11 mobile posts set up for volunteers to treat survivors. McGovern also visited a Red Cross relief distribution center organized with family kits, water and shelter supplies for survivors.
Thousands of local volunteers have joined more than 400 Red Cross workers from around the world in Haiti. Besides working the first aid posts, they’ve formed outreach teams to aid the injured in nearby camps. Treatment and triaging of injured people for surgery at hospitals and medical centers in Port-au-Prince, Carrefour and Jacmel is being done by Red Cross responders from six countries.
McGovern met with Dr. Michaële Amédée Gedeon, president of the Haitian Red Cross, early on Tuesday. As follow-up from a meeting in the Dominican Republic on Monday, she joined Red Cross leaders and other heads of state from around the region to begin planning for a multi-year recovery operation for Haiti.
She’s returning to Washington today (Wednesday) after witnessing the extensive damage, needs and a growing presence of Red Cross Services.
“The Red Cross – through first aid posts, hospitals, relief distribution sites, water trucking programs and family linking stations – is making life better for people on the ground every minute,” said Roger Lowe, Senior Vice President for Communications for the American Red Cross speaking for McGovern who is en route to Washington.
More Red Cross humanitarian assistance is arriving in the region every day. Medical supplies, tarps, blankets, hygiene items, buckets, shelter supplies and kitchen sets are being carried in by planes and trucks. By Tuesday, more than 500 tons of Red Cross aid had already been mobilized.
At home, Americans continue to respond to the Red Cross call for donations. Around the nation, local chapters are reaching out to their communities to help raise funds for the Haitian relief effort.
The Cincinnati Chapter of the American Red Cross raised about $85,000 dollars during a telethon and phone-in with local TV station partners. The Cincinnati ABC affiliate (WCPO-TV9) held an hour-long “Help for Haiti” telethon following their 90 minute evening news from 7-8 pm Tuesday evening.
It featured appearances by local celebrities including popular funk musician Bootsy Collins. WLWT-TV5, the NBC affiliate there hosted a call in phone bank accepting donations from 12-noon until 8 pm.
“It was fabulous,” said chapter communications specialist, Nikki Williams. “Support from the community was great. Calls were just flowing in well after the telethon ended.”
Several Cincinnati area companies presented checks during the event; including a $100,000 dollar donation from Fifth-Third Bank. Before the telethon and call-in event on Tuesday, the chapter had already received more than $90,000 dollars from walk-in, mail, telephone and on-line donations according to chapter development director, Susan Redman-Rengstorf.
“The need in Haiti is great and the response is great,” said Redman-Rengstorf. “Today the phone lines have been steady and donations continue to come in. We are just so grateful the community has responded in this way.”
You can continue to respond by making an unrestricted donation to the International Response Fund at www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). You can also text “Haiti” to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross. Funds will go to support American Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.