Red Cross Societies from around the world are moving disaster workers and supplies into the region to help in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Maria’s landfall on already devastated islands is making it difficult to deploy supplies and people. The Red Cross is working as quickly as possible to get help where it is needed.
Major relief efforts continue throughout the Caribbean. The American Red Cross has committed $100,000 to assist in meeting the immediate needs of those affected.
Dominica is home to more than 73,000 people and most of them sustained damage to their homes. Power is out, communications systems are down, ports and airports are closed. The main hospital’s roof was blown off and the generator is down.
Priorities include shelter, food, water, sanitation and hygiene materials, health and communications assistance. A global Red Cross emergency team, including several American Red Cross disaster response specialists, is on their way to Dominica to support damage assessments and relief operations.
The International Federation of the Red Cross is working with government and relief agencies, along with Red Cross Societies from around the world to mobilize supplies from non-affected islands. Disaster workers trained in first aid are being mobilized, along with relief supplies such as first aid supplies, hygiene kits, jerry cans, chlorine tablets to help purify water, shelter kits including tarps and tools, kitchen sets, mosquito nets and repellant and blankets.
The Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross and St Kitts and Nevis Red Cross Societies are leading their relief response with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Movement partners. The Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross and IFRC, with the help of the Canadian Red Cross, are setting up a medical field station on Barbuda to provide basic medical aid. Prior to Maria’s landfall, the Red Cross distributed relief supplies such as tarps, water, tarps and other basic items and first aid assistance. Red Cross workers are assessing water, sanitation and hygiene situations in several communities and prepositioned hygiene kits, jerry cans, buckets and mosquito nets to distribute after the storm passed.
The Red Cross societies across the Caribbean are focused on meeting the immediate needs in their territories. These needs include search and rescue, the distribution of vital relief supplies, and damage and needs assessments as well as steps to reduce the risk of epidemic outbreaks. Employees and volunteers are working closely with local authorities and the IFRC.
The Mexican Red Cross has multiple teams assisting in search and rescue operations following this week’s deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico.
Dozens of Mexican Red Cross teams have been working around the clock to search for survivors, transport the injured to hospitals, evacuate people from damaged buildings and provide first aid on the scene. The states most affected are Morelos, Puebla, Mexico City and the State of Mexico.
The Mexican Red Cross has deployed dozens of doctors and nurses, ambulances, urban rescue units and logistic units. In all, almost 600 volunteers and employees were activated in the hours immediately following the disaster. This week’s earthquake comes after a powerful 8.2 magnitude tremor struck in the south-east of the country on September 7. More than 2,000 Red Cross volunteers continue to provide humanitarian assistance to communities affected by that disaster in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.
The American Red Cross works closely with the Mexican Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid and assistance during large emergencies and is committing $100,000 toward the Mexican earthquake relief effort.
Disaster specialists at the American Red Cross are monitoring the situation closely, remain in close contact with colleagues at the Mexican Red Cross, and are on standby to assist. As in all international disasters, the American Red Cross intervenes when the national society (in this case, the Mexican Red Cross) requests outside help. At this time, the Mexican Red Cross is responding to this emergency with its own resources.