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Donations from the Midwest Approach $1 Million: "More is Needed"

 

On-site teams in Haiti work with locals to distribute supplies and create safe, healthy spaces

Minneapolis, January 22, 2010 — 

“As the stars come out in Hollywood, so do the stars shine in the Midwest,” said Daniel Wordsworth, President and CEO of the American Refugee Committee, an international humanitarian aid agency headquartered in Minneapolis (www.arcrelief.org).

“The generous outpouring of contributions is concrete evidence of the Midwest’s famous spirit of generosity.  To date we have received nearly $1 million in cash and in-kind donations, largely from companies and individuals in the Midwestern states, where we are headquartered.  In crises, people show who they really are. This is America at its best,” said Wordsworth.

How Donations Are Being Used
This week, the American Refugee Committee received and shipped medical supplies, shelter and sanitation materials, satellite phones, and much more.  Warehousing, ground and air transport are also a significant part of donations. The Committee has 8 people in Haiti now and more coming next week – all with experience working with dislocated people and crisis situations.  They are currently focused on:

  • distributing essential supplies for shelter, medical attention, sanitation
  • administering health care and trauma support
  • improving sanitation, hygiene and clean water supply
  • creating safe, healthy spaces, especially for women and children

“Our on-site teams are engaging local people at grassroots and municipal levels.  Last week we set up shelter and distributed supplies through Jimani, a city on the Dominican Republic/Haitian border.  The clinic there was overwhelmed with people who were injured and infected,” Wordsworth said. “It was a desperate situation that has already improved due to the kindness of others.”

Specific supplies, either donated or purchased with donations, include:  tents, FEMA-grade tarps, plastic sheeting, roping, medical supplies, respirator masks, SAT phones, solar lighting, MREs, towels, diapers, feminine pads, toothbrushes, mosquito nets, fresh bedding and cleaning materials.

And soccer balls to give children something safe to play with.

“This week, we are working in the Delmas district of Haiti, home to 475,000 people. We are focusing on hygiene promotion and child protection to improve their current situation and minimize future physical and mental health issues.”

More Is Needed
While giving has exceeded initial expectations, the need is even greater.  An authority on disasters and displaced people, the American Refugee Committee says it will be in Haiti for several years.   “The devastation caused by these earthquakes leaves a long-lasting physical, mental and financial toll that will take years to overcome.  But it can be done.  Just look at New Orleans.  After Katrina, many thought that the city would never come back, but this weekend we are having a football playoff in the very stadium that served as temporary shelter after the hurricane,” Wordsworth said.

To Make A Donation
To donate to the American Refugee Committee, visit www.arcrelief.org, call 800-875-7060 or write to:

American Refugee Committee
430 Oak Grove Street, Suite 204
Minneapolis, MN 55403

ABOUT THE AMERICAN REFUGEE COMMITTEE:  The American Refugee Committee is an international humanitarian aid agency that works to help people take back control of their lives.  The partnerships we form with our constituents and supporters provide essential services and economic  opportunities to people who have lost everything due to conflict and disaster.  The organization has extensive experience in disaster relief, including recent responses to the Tsunami in Thailand and earthquakes and floods in Pakistan.  Each year, the American Refugee Committee works with nearly 2.5 million people in Africa and Asia.

Press contact: Therese Gales at (612) 221-5161 or Emily Porter at (612) 940-2238.

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