January 14, 2010 - The American Red Cross with the Haiti National Red Cross and other Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are laying the ground work for a massive response operation. Specialized teams arrived today to establish transport systems, staging areas and other logistics to transport relief items from Red Cross warehouse in Panama for rapid delivery and distribution to those in need. Additional Red Cross teams are in route to establish field hospitals, water and sanitation services, search and rescue and telecommunications.
A shipment of blood products have been sent to the United Nations Mission in Haiti from the American Red Cross. At this time, the Red Cross is meeting blood needs from current stock. Additional blood is not currently needed. If a need arises, a special blood appeal will be issued.

Persons seeking loved ones in Haiti should access the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Family Links Website aimed at enabling persons in Haiti and abroad to register the names of the relative they are striving to restore contact with. Persons seeking news from loved ones should register directly at the site: http://www.icrc.org/familylinks.

The ICRC staff members arrived in Port-au-Prince today and include engineers, surgeon, family linking specialists. A second ICRC plane carrying 40 tons of supplies - mainly medical items - is expected to leave Geneva today.

We have received many calls requesting information on how to donate to this relief effort. For information on how to raise money as a group, please contact the office at 800-773-7620. Please know that clothing donations are not helpful right now because there are no resources to transport, sort and house the items once they arrive. Cash contributions all the Red Cross to purchase culturally appropriate items in the country and stimulate a devastated economy.

At this time, the Red Cross is only deploying volunteers who have been specially trained to manage international emergency operations. Current Red Cross volunteers will be contacted by the local chapter if they are needed. Anyone interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer should visit the chapter website to complete the application process - www.yourredcross.org.

People who want to help those affected by the earthquake can make a financial donation to the American Red Cross International Relief Fund by visiting our website or clicking the button below to be taken to our secure donation portal. You may also contact the chapter by calling - 800-773-7620 should you prefer to make your donation over the phone.