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American Red Cross Increases Aid Pledge for Haiti

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Wednesday, January 13, 2010 – The American Red Cross has raised its pledge to $1 million from the International Response Fund to support the relief operation in Haiti. The Red Cross continues to send supplies and staff to Haiti to support relief efforts there after yesterday’s earthquake, which caused catastrophic damage and loss of life.According to reports, as many as three million people may have been affected by the quake, which collapsed government buildings and caused major damage to hospitals in the area. Debris and collapsed bridges are making access to many areas extremely difficult. Telephone service and electricity are out in many places.“At this time, the American Red Cross is only deploying volunteers specially trained to manage international emergency operations,” said Leighton Jones, Director of Disaster & Emergency Services for the Finger Lakes Region of the Red Cross. “The Finger Lakes Region has not been requested to deploy any local volunteers.”The Red Cross opened its warehouse in Panama to provide tarps, mosquito nets and cooking sets for approximately 5,000 families. The priority remains to provide food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support. There has been an outpouring of support from the public. To help, people can make an unrestricted donation to the International Response Fund at www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). The public can also help by texting “Haiti” to 90999 to send a $10 donation to the Red Cross, through an effort backed by the U.S. State Department. Funds will go to support American Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti. While communication with those in Haiti is still difficult, people should contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 if trying to reach a U.S. citizen living or traveling in Haiti. If trying to reach a Haitian citizen, callers should continue to call or contact other family members who live nearby.For more information please contact Melanie Barnas-Simmons, Gifts Manager for the Finger Lakes Region of the American Red Cross at simmonsm@grcarc.org or by calling 585-315-4718.

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