Haiti: Red Cross Red Crescent responds to devastating earthquake

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An earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck Haiti on Tuesday. It hit the capital Port-au-Prince and other areas of the country. The earthquake was also felt in other countries in the region. The most affected area is Haiti's West Province with a population of 2.2 million.

Red Cross volunteers in Haiti are currently assisting the injured and supporting hospitals whose do not have enough capacity to deal with this emergency.

The most urgent needs at this time are search and rescue, field hospitals, emergency health, water purification, emergency shelter, logistics and telecommunications.

The Red Cross Red Crescent has pre-positioned relief supplies for 3,000 families in Haiti. In Port-au-Prince there are enough pre-positioned supplies for 500 families. These emergency supplies consist of kitchen kits, personal hygiene kits, blankets and containers for storing drinking water.

A group of experts in disaster response, health in emergency and logistics will arrive in Haiti later today to support the Haitian Red Cross in the relief efforts and to begin to coordinate international assistance from members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as well as other organizations. In addition, a Red Cross team will lead a damage assessment together with the Humanitarian Aid Office of the European Union.

Emergency funds have been released. A preliminary emergency appeal for humanitarian aid should be issued later on Wednesday.

Donations to the IFRC emergency response operation can be made under: http://donate.ifrc.org/

For further information, or to set up interviews, please contact:

In Geneva: Paul Conneally, IFRC media and external Communications manager: + 41 79 308 98 09

For interviews in French: Jean-Luc Martinage, + 41 79 217 33 86,

For interviews in Spanish: Marie-Françoise Borel, 41 79 217 3345

In Panama: Pilar Forcen, communications manager for the IFRC Americas zone, + 507 6672 3170

Manuel Rodriguez, PADRU information officer, + 507 66 79 43 34

The Geneva-based International Federation promotes the humanitarian activities of 186 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies among vulnerable people. By coordinating international disaster relief and encouraging development support, it seeks to prevent and alleviate human suffering. The Federation, National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross together, constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.