NEW YORK (January 13, 2010)-Concern Worldwide, the international relief and development agency which has been working in Haiti since 1994, today launched an emergency appeal for an estimated $7.5M to deal with the consequences of the biggest earthquake to hit the country in more than two centuries.
The appeal is seeking emergency funding for desperately needed food, water, shelter and medicine.
The earthquake struck shortly before 5PM EST Tue, Jan. 12, 2010. The 7.0-magnitude quake hit south of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince and is feared to have killed possibly thousands of people across the Caribbean country.
"It has been difficult in the darkness to establish the full extent of this appalling tragedy," said Concern Regional Director for the country, Brid Kennedy. "Phone communications are still down but, to the best of our knowledge, our staff are safe," she said.
Concern's emergency response team in Haiti will be supplemented over the coming hours by Dominic MacSorley, Concern Operations Director, as well as additional staff. They will be involved in search and rescue and will be assessing the situation on the ground in the capital Port-au-Prince, the town of Saut d'Eau and on the island of La Gonâve, over the next few days. "Food, water, shelter and medicine are the immediate priorities for those that have survived the catastrophe," said Kennedy.
Haiti, a country beset by political turmoil and severe poverty, has been consistently hit by natural disasters. In 2008, Concern provided-post hurricane relief to 1,269 families and helped more than 8,000 others restore their ability to produce food with cash-for-work opportunities. Concern continues to distribute seeds, tools and livestock to affected communities and operates long-term development programs in health, education, peace-building and community work.
Concern has responded rapidly to recent large-scale natural disasters like the Asian tsunami in 2004, the Pakistan earthquake in 2005, and the cyclones in Bangladesh and Myanmar in 2008.
"The US public and government have always rallied to help victims of natural disasters and we are asking for the public's urgent help for Haiti. This is a terrible catastrophe affecting the some of most vulnerable people in the world who are living in dire poverty," said Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern, in launching the appeal. Concern has more than 100 staff in the country, mostly Haitian nationals, and works with 16 local partners.
The public can donate to the appeal through this number: 1 800 59-CONCERN or online through the Concern website at www.concernusa.org/HaitiAppeal.
For more information or to speak with Brid Kennedy or with Concern staff on the ground in Haiti, please contact:
Office +212 557-8000| Mobile +1 718 427 5480
Office +1 212- 557- 8000| Mobile +1 917 608 1989