Haiti earthquake: Red Cross Red Crescent announces key areas of focus

MONTREAL, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement announces key areas of focus to meet the needs of Haiti following the devastating earthquake that struck on 12 January, 2010.

"Our needs in Haiti remain immense," says Michaele Amédée Gédéon, president of the Haitian Red Cross. "A common commitment is crucial to provide survivors of this tragedy with the right conditions to rebuild a Haiti with hope and dignity for the future."

The current priority is to concentrate action on providing immediate relief support in the following areas of focus including shelter, health, protection, capacity building, water and sanitation, as well as preparing the Haitian Red Cross to respond to the upcoming hurricane season. The needs will be assessed for three phases: emergency, recovery, and reconstruction and longer-term development.

The needs for survivors are significant and bigger than any single organization. A strong need for coordination within the Movement, as well as with the United Nations, other humanitarian organizations, and governments will be critical to the success of operations.

"This is where our local presence and global reach can allow us to deliver a better future for Haiti - one of dignity and resilience," says Bekele Geleta, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). "We have demonstrated exemplary solidarity in our response and must continue to move forward in meeting our obligation to the people of Haiti."

The announcement was made at the Red Cross Red Crescent Haiti Response Summit in Montreal, attended by 25 Red Cross delegations representing 23 countries and two international bodies. The summit is hosted by the IFRC, the Haitian Red Cross and the Canadian Red Cross.

"This summit clearly expresses our commitment to a coordinated, coherent, and comprehensive approach in responding to Haiti's immediate and long-term needs," says Conrad Sauvé, secretary general of the Canadian Red Cross. "As a group, we have come together to establish a collective plan to restore the lives and livelihoods of the Haitian people."

The IFRC also announced its in-country delegation will be led by Canadian Marcel Fortier. He has nearly 30 years of experience with the Movement, working in more than 10 countries in the areas of disaster response, program development and resource mobilization.

SOURCE Canadian Red Cross

For further information: For further information: and to arrange interviews, please contact: In Canada: Jennifer Clarke, IFRC corporate communications manager: +41 79 251 7381; In Geneva: Paul Conneally, IFRC media and external communications manager: + 41 79 308 98 09; In Panama: Pilar Forcen, communications manager for the IFRC Americas zone: + 507 6672 3170

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