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Red Cross Leader Speaks to Unprecedented Situation in Haiti


A little more than a month into relief efforts in Haiti, a representative from the American Red Cross spoke at the National Press Club today in Washington, D.C., to give a snapshot of Red Cross operations thus far.

Nan Buzard, senior director of international response and programs for the American Red Cross, joined panelists from other agencies, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations World Food Programme and the United Sikhs.

Buzard spoke about the need to look beyond the statistics of the relief operation, emphasizing the tremendous gap between the difficulty of the operation on the ground and the very strong desire of the world for things to immediately improve in Haiti.

Many relief workers with extensive disaster experience have commented on the unprecedented nature of this situation. “We have all said this is off the charts,” Buzard said. “This is much harder than the tsunami, which is remarkable.”

She also emphasized the importance of the Haitian people’s involvement in the recovery, saying, “We wouldn’t be able to do our work without the Haitian Red Cross.” The Haitian Red Cross has been actively bringing in volunteers—people who are living on the streets and in settlements, but who want to serve and help others.

Speaking to the difficulty of getting aid to the Haitian people, Buzard commented on the challenge of communicating which agency is doing what and where, all of whom “want to do the right thing, but maybe in different ways.”

“We need to continue to find ways together so that all the people of Haiti get what they need,” she said. “And that is going to be a continued challenge for all of us. The Red Cross is deeply committed to doing that properly.”

The American Red Cross has been working with other relief organizations in Haiti to meet immediate needs such as food, water, shelter and sanitation, and will continue to work with its partners in the country’s long-term recovery.

Since the January 12 earthquake, the Red Cross has helped more than 1.3 million people and will continue to aid hundreds of thousands more in the months ahead.

You can help the victims of countless crises, like the recent earthquake in Haiti, around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation by mailing your donation with the designation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter. Donations to the International Response Fund can be made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at www.redcross.org.