International News Update
Italy - Earthquake: On April 6, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the city of L’Aquila, leaving 260 dead and an estimated 28,000 homeless. Aftershocks, including one measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale, continue to rattle Abruzzo province. The Italian Red Cross is fully engaged in response on the scene, providing health, first aid, logistics and humanitarian relief. Focus remains on addressing the urgent needs of those still homeless. The Italian Red Cross is running four camps to shelter the homeless. It has five mobile kitchens providing more than 22,000 meals per day, and doctors and nurses volunteering with the Italian Red Cross are also providing care at four advanced medical posts. Also 35 Italian Red Cross ambulances helped evacuate the injured, and five Italian Red Cross psychological support teams are on the ground to help the survivors cope with their losses. In total, more than 600 Red Cross volunteers are on the ground feeding, caring for and sheltering survivors.
In support of response efforts, the American Red Cross has pledged a $50,000 contribution to the Italian Red Cross. And, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (International Federation) has pledged over $600,000 in emergency funds to the Italian Red Cross to be replenished by other national societies.
The American Red Cross remains in close contact with the International Federation and Italian Red Cross, receiving regular updates and monitoring the needs. Many Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in cluding the American Red Cross are on stand-by, ready to offer any assistance that may be required. The resources and skills of the Italian Red Cross – both human and logistical – are sufficient to meet the needs of the earthquake survivors and so it has not asked for international assistance in the form of relief supplies, volunteers or technical teams.
American Red Cross Hosts Visit from Red Cross Society of China
During the week of March 23, the American Red Cross hosted a visit from the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) on both the east and west coasts. The delegation consisted of Madame Jiang Yiman, Executive Vice President of the RCSC, along with key leaders of the RCSC, and directors of three provincial branch chapters from Sichuan province. Since the earthquake struck China on May 12, 2008, the American Red Cross has been supporting the RCSC in their efforts to help survivors cope with and recover from their losses.
Madame Jiang Yiman, Executive Vice President of the Red Cross Society of China, and Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross, shake hands after recommitting their two organizations to work closely together for the next five years.
Credit: Daniel Cima/American Red Cross
Besides visiting American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, DC, the RCSC delegation went on to visit the Greater New York Chapter in New York City, the Bay Area Chapter in San Francisco, and the Silicon Valley Chapter in San Jose, California. On each visit, they thanked American individuals, corporations and foundations for their generous donations to the response through the American Red Cross.
To date, the RCSC has received more than US $2.4 billion in donations of cash and relief supplies. Approximately US $500 million has been allocated for emergency response, with the balance reserved for reconstruction. The American Red Cross is contributing more than $50 million in support of response and recovery efforts. The RCSC has pledged to rebuild more than 39,000 homes over the next two years, as well as schools and health clinics. Pooling our resources with more than 30 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the American Red Cross is giving survivors the means and expertise to reconstruct more than 20,000 of these homes.
With the one-year anniversary approaching, the RCSC delegation provided an update on the progress made and shared plans to address long-term needs with leaders from the business and Chinese-American communities. The American Red Cross China Earthquake One-Year Anniversary Report will be available for chapters and donors on or about May 1, and will be announced via the Cross Connection.
Services initiatives focus on primary health care, emergency
response and preparedness, restoring family links, and the
dissemination of international humanitarian law. For each
of these priority areas, we promote cost-effective, community-based
programs, which target large numbers of people with humanitarian
aid that is rapid, effective, and large-scale.
health care –
Our primary health initiatives focus on reducing child
mortality, improving maternal health, and combating infectious
response and preparedness –
Our emergency response activities focus on relief supply
distribution, water and sanitation services, and family
linking. We also implement disaster preparedness programs
to create more resilient communities with decreased dependence
on external relief assistance.
Restoring family links –
In collaboration with the International Committee of the
Red Cross and more than 180 national societies, the American
Red Cross works to locate loved ones who are missing due
to war, natural disaster, or civil unrest and sends Red
Cross messages between separated family members.
Dissemination of International Humanitarian Law –
The American Red Cross educates the American public about
the guiding principles of international humanitarian law,
as set forth by the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
American Red Cross is currently working with our partner
Red Cross and Red Crescent societies on projects related
to health, nutrition, water and sanitation, and disaster
preparedness throughout the world.