Haiti

Irish Red Cross responds to devastating earthquake in Haiti

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The Irish Red Cross launched an emergency appeal for humanitarian aid today in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake which struck Haiti last night, causing widespread devastation and many deaths.

Donations to the emergency appeal can be made online at www.redcross.ie and by calling 1850 50 70 70.

The earthquake, measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, hit the capital Port-au-Prince and other areas of the country, and was 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 that do not have the capacity to deal with this emergency, with the most urgent needs at this time being emergency search and rescue, medical care, water supplies and shelter.

"The Irish Red Cross is in close contact with its colleagues in Haiti and internationally and will continue to monitor the situation. Currently the Red Cross has pre-positioned relief supplies for 3,000 families in Haiti, with enough pre-positioned supplies for 500 families in Port-au-Prince. These emergency supplies consist of kitchen kits, personal hygiene kits, blankets and containers for storing drinking water," explained Noel Wardick, Head of International Department for the Irish Red Cross.

Additionally, a group of experts from the International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC) in disaster response, health in emergency and logistics will arrive in Haiti later today to support the Haitian Red Cross and to coordinate with the Irish Red Cross as well as other national societies.

Mr. Wardick also pointed out that funds for overseas disasters such as this one are totally separate from domestic Irish funds, such as the recent Floods Relief Operation. "Our Work in helping the victims of the disastrous floods here in Ireland will continue and will not be affected in any way by this recent overseas disaster which will be funded through our Emergency Relief Fund which is specifically for overseas disasters."

Background

The earthquake struck on Tuesday (12 Jan) at 12:00 local time, measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale shook the capital of Port-au-Prince and other areas of the country, with Haiti's West Province (pop 2.2m) most affected.

Notes to Editor

The Irish Red Cross can provide spokespersons on the Haitian earthquake.

Noel Wardick: Head of the International Department, Irish Red Cross. (Based in Ireland)

Paul Conneally: Head of External Communications, IFRC. (Based in Geneva)

How you can help

Donations are being accepted online at www.redcross.ie or by calling 1850 50 70 70.

Cheque and postal orders should be marked for the relevant appeal and made payable to:

Irish Red Cross

16 Merrion Square,

Dublin 2.

For media enquiries please contact Pia Ward on 01 - 642 4612 or alternatively Aoife MacEoin on 087 998 3788 to arrange an interview.