The American Red Cross has announced tens of millions of dollars in new or expanded health, shelter, and financial assistance programs to support ongoing relief and recovery efforts in Haiti.
The efforts include $7.9 million directed to health programs, including a $3.8 million agreement with Partners in Health to pay the salaries of more than 1,800 Haitian doctors, nurses, and other staff at the largest general hospital in Port-au-Prince who have been working without pay since before a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated the impoverished country in January; $8.6 million in shelter efforts, with a focus on building semi-permanent shelters for people now living in tarps and tents in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas; and $9.7 million in financial assistance programs, including a $6.1 million cash-for-work program in partnership with Mercy Corps to support families outside Port-au-Prince who are hosting homeless Haitians and a $3.6 million expansion of a cash grant and loan program with microfinance institution Fonkoze. In addition, the Red Cross has launched a $50 million text message cash-transfer program that will give grants of about $125 to up to 400,000 Haitian families over the next several months.
In the six months since the quake struck near Port-au-Prince, the Red Cross has raised some $468 million for relief and recovery efforts and has spent nearly a third of that, or $148.5 million. About 38 percent of the funds have been spent on food and emergency services, 35 percent on emergency and transitional or semi-permanent shelters, and the rest on livelihood and host family assistance, health and disease prevention programs, disaster-preparedness activities, and providing clean water and sanitation. According to the Red Cross, it is on track to meet its goal of spending more than $200 million to address immediate needs in Haiti in the first twelve months after the quake. The remainder of the funds will be directed to longer-term recovery over the next three to five years, with spending plans likely to evolve to respond to changing needs.
"Six months after the earthquake, Haiti is filled with signs of hope and progress as well as reminders of the immense needs that still remain," said American Red Cross president and CEO Gail McGovern. "The Red Cross has improved the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Haitians with emergency shelter, food, water, medical treatment, latrines, and other supplies — and we are also investing in other recovery projects such as building shelters and improving water and sanitation systems....We know that the crisis in Haiti is not over and the recovery process will be long and difficult. Haiti and its people must rebuild their homes, economy, health systems, schools, and transportation networks. With an estimated $12 billion needed to rebuild Haiti, the needs are beyond the capacity of the Red Cross alone to fix and will require the collective efforts of governments and humanitarian groups around the world."