WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–April 1, 2010. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) pledged to extend the emergency phase of its work in Haiti for up to twelve months and committed more than $300 million towards Haiti’s long-term recovery and reconstruction following the devastating earthquake of January 12.
The announcement was made at the U.N. donor conference on Haiti by Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the Board of the American Red Cross, who today represented the International Federation.
“It is with admiration and awe that we have witnessed the courage and resourcefulness of the Haitian people under the most difficult of circumstances,” said McElveen-Hunter during her prepared remarks. “And we feel privileged that so many donors and the public around the world have entrusted the Red Cross and Red Crescent to spend their money to achieve an effective recovery for the people of Haiti.”
Since the earthquake, hundreds of aid workers from over 30 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have been working on the ground in close collaboration with the Haitian National Red Cross Society to provide a range of services including: emergency medical care, hospital services, disease prevention, relief goods, psychological support, food, emergency shelter, safe water, and sanitation.
As part of that work, the International Federation has also served as a convener of the “shelter cluster,” which is coordinating the work of approximately 50 aid organizations and the United Nations on providing shelter and non-food items.
The Red Cross Red Crescent and other organizations have distributed hundreds of thousands of tarps and tents to more than 1 million people or roughly 75 percent of the estimated 1.3 million survivors without a place to live following the earthquake. Efforts are on track to get tarps or tents to the remainder by May 1st.
But with spring rains set to officially begin April 1st, the International Federation called for cleared land outside the flood plains to be made available as quickly as possible to give people in makeshift camps a safe place to live until transitional or permanent shelters can be built.
“We are making an urgent appeal today for more land to be made available immediately so that people who want to leave these improvised settlements can do so before they are flooded out,” said McElveen-Hunter. “Appropriate shelter is critical for the safety and human dignity of earthquake survivors and there must be a commitment to scale up operations for debris removal.”
The International Federation also urged governments and non-governmental actors, international and domestic Haitian organizations to work together to provide adequate shelter to those in need as quickly as possible.
In the interim, the International Federation has been working to increase the disaster preparedness of communities through education and other risk reducing activities.
Collectively, more than 80 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have raised more than $700 million for earthquake relief, recovery and reconstruction since January 12. At the end of April, the Red Cross network will hold its own meeting to finalize a longer-term spending plan for Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction.
“We are all aware of the immense challenges that lie before us not the least of which is because the earthquake affected virtually every segment of Haitian society; and all are in desperate need of assistance in order to achieve long-term, sustained recovery,” said McElveen-Hunter.