FROM: Terry Bischoff, Chief Executive Officer
DATE: January 22, 2010
Nine days after the earthquake in Haiti that caused so much devastation and destruction, affecting lives, buildings and the infrastructure of the country, the American Red Cross continues to accelerate its efforts on the ground, engage and support the Haitian communities in the United States and raise the funding that will be required to support the response and recovery work that will be needed. Here are the highlights since our last communication and I also encourage you to look on our website: www.nyredcross.org and the NHQ website: www.redcross.org where many of these highlights are reported in more detail.
- President & CEO, Gail McGovern, accompanied International Services Senior Vice President, David Meltzer to the Dominican Republic on Tuesday where she began planning for a multi-year recovery operation with other Red Cross leaders from around the world and heads of state in the region. As learned from our response and recovery efforts after the Tsunami, it is essential to provide the immediate on the ground aid and at the same time begin to plan for the long term recovery of this devastated country.
On Wednesday Gail and David witnessed the extensive damage and need as well as the growing presence of Red Cross services. Through first aid posts, hospitals, relief distribution sites, water trucking programs and family links stations, volunteers and staff from seven Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies, including the Magen David Adom, are beginning to make life better for the survivors. This is the largest single-country deployment in global Red Cross history.
- More than 70 Creole speaking American Red Cross volunteers have been trained and today will join the USNS Comfort, offshore in Haiti , to translate for patients receiving medical care from the US Military. I am proud to tell you that 43 of those volunteers come from the New York area and our People Resources and Disaster Services teams worked tirelessly to get these selfless volunteers, screened, oriented and supplied with the essential information they need for this 30 day deployment, while Marketing/PR worked with the media to share this remarkable story.
On Wednesday evening, the New York volunteers who joined this specific mission attended a “Send-Off” attended by Vice Chair of the Board, Blake Moore and Board member, the Rev. Calvin Butts. They were joined by NYC council member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, who is Haitian and represents the community in Brooklyn , Diahann Billings-Burford, Chief Service Officer for the Mayor’s Office of NYC Service, and representatives of the NAACP, Local 1199 SEIU and Haitian Americans United for Progress.
- Here in New York , particularly in Brooklyn with the largest Haitian community in our area, we are providing significant crisis counseling support through the schools and the churches. We also remain in touch with many of our partner groups who work in the affected communities.
- The Chapter’s Emergency Communication Center continues to field calls from our community with questions regarding donations, volunteers and connecting families. Since the earthquake struck, they have answered over 4,300 calls.
- There are a number of telethons this coming weekend and we have been supporting them with pre-recorded messages that will be incorporated into these events – these include MTV (Friday), Univision (Saturday) and A & E (Sunday). In addition I have been interviewed by Crain’s for an article that was very positive and we are still receiving requests for updates from our various local television stations. Yesterday, Rosemary Mackey accompanied by more than 20 volunteers in their Red Cross jackets had the opportunity to open the NASDAQ and talk about the Red Cross’ relief efforts and to remind the listeners that individual and community preparedness is important for us all as we never know when disaster may strike. Bob Imbornoni will be the Sunday morning guest at 11:30am on WABC’s program TIEMPO – a station that targets Hispanic issues.
- he development department continues to receive contributions from generous corporations, foundations and individual donors in our community. With the help of volunteers, we have processed 150 3rd-party agreements with individuals and organizations who are arranging fund-raisers in support of the Red Cross for Haitian relief efforts.
- Bonnie McElveen-Hunter visited the Chapter briefly yesterday to thank the staff for the incredible work they are doing. She briefed us on the visit by President Obama and the First Lady to National Headquarters earlier this week and then she made calls to some of our major donors to thank them for their past support and to encourage them to continue their generosity. Board members, Blake Moore and Bill Gray have also telephoned some of our major corporate leaders and major individual donors to thank them for their support.
There is much left to be done which I will share with you in the days and weeks ahead.