Haiti

Haiti: ICRC stepping up efforts to help victims of earthquake

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As the scale of the destruction wrought by Tuesday's earthquake off the Haitian coast becomes more and more apparent, the ICRC's relief effort is gathering speed. Thousands are feared dead and many more are injured. Untold numbers are still buried under the rubble. Getting them out and providing medical care for the wounded is the top priority.

"The extent of the suffering caused by this disaster is immense," said the ICRC's head of operations for Latin America and the Caribbean, Patricia Danzi. "Our colleagues in Port-au-Prince have begun to assess the damage. People are scared and many remain in the streets as aftershocks are still being felt. Untold numbers are still buried under collapsed buildings. Getting them out and providing medical care and supplies for the wounded is what counts now."

Some additional information:

- ICRC staff members have been able to assess the situation in parts of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, but are not in a position to give details of the numbers of dead and injured.

- The ICRC's office in Port-au-Prince has been damaged by the earthquake but is usable. The ICRC's warehouse is also damaged and for now inaccessible.

- A plane carrying 11 ICRC staff is due to leave Geneva for Port-au-Prince Thursday in the early morning. They include engineers, a surgeon and specialists in reuniting families separated by disaster as well as economic security, logistics and IT specialists.

- A second plane carrying 40 tonnes of medical goods and body bags is due to leave Geneva later on Thursday to arrive in the region on Friday.

- All 69 ICRC staff members working in Haiti, including nine expatriates, have now been accounted for. However, the fate of some of the family members of the ICRC's Haitian staff remains unknown.

- The ICRC is working around the clock with our Red Cross partners to help the survivors. The international Red Cross and Red Crescent's response to the disaster is being coordinated by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

For more information on the Red Cross Movement's activities in Haiti please also consult www.ifrc.org