International Red Cross Red Crescent teams reach Haiti

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Assistance from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has started to arrive in Haiti. Several Emergency Response Units (ERU) are being deployed with staff coming from Red Cross Red Crescent societies all over the world.

A first group of specialists has already started to further assess the damage caused by the devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake that hit the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince on Tuesday. This ensures that help reaches the most vulnerable and that all available resources are used where they can do the most good.

First responders: Haitian Red Cross volunteers

The ERUs will provide urgently needed support to the staff and volunteers of Haiti Red Cross who have been assisting the population with pre-positioned relief items since the earthquake struck. Among other things, the ERU members will establish a fully equipped field hospital. Other ERUs are specialized in relief coordination, water and sanitation, shelter, telecommunications and health.

Currently, the most urgent needs are search and rescue and emergency health care as well as shelter and access to clean water. Thousands of people in Haiti are currently spending the nights homeless and scared in the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Emergency appeal

On Wednesday, the IFRC launched a preliminary emergency appeal seeking 10 million Swiss francs (10 million US dollars/6.8 million euro) to assist approximately 100,000 people (20,000 families) for nine months. This appeal will be revised in the coming days. The IFRC estimates that up to 3 million people might have been affected by the earthquake. This equals a third of the population of the country.

The IFRC coordinates the action taken by its partners within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It is also working closely with external partners to bring essential assistance to the most vulnerable communities as quickly as possible.