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  • American Red Cross Pledges Up to $1 Million for Horn of Africa

American Red Cross Pledges Up to $1 Million for Horn of Africa

[Washington, DC] July 28, 2011 – The American Red Cross today announced a pledge of up to $1 million for the evolving humanitarian crisis in eastern Africa, continuing its history of support to the region.

With 2011 classified as the driest year on record in the eastern Horn of Africa, the health, livelihoods and food security of millions of Somalis, Ethiopians and Kenyans are at serious risk.

“The need is dire at best as families grapple with the lack of food, water and health services, and the American Red Cross is eager to support our local partners that are tackling malnutrition, providing water and medical care, stabilizing livelihoods, and mitigating other consequences of this complex crisis,” said Apu Patel, regional director for Africa with the American Red Cross.

With water sources dwindling, rural families are increasingly consuming untreated water, collected directly from streams and rivers, putting them at serious risk from waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid. Fields used by farmers for grazing livestock have dried up in the worsening drought, causing many families to uproot and migrate in search of viable food and water sources. The rising cost of fuel and food as well as political insecurity in some areas of Somalia has also exacerbated problems.

“Many people are living in the open or in makeshift camps,” Patel said. “They represent a heavy burden for the host communities that share their scarce resources with them. Most of the displaced have nothing left to sell and cannot buy food, which is resulting in even higher malnutrition rates among displaced people.”

In the face of this growing humanitarian tragedy, the Somali Red Crescent, with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is expanding its existing outpatient therapeutic feeding programs in southern Somalia. Together, they are also launching an additional feeding program for malnourished children under five and other vulnerable groups, such as pregnant and lactating women, and recruiting additional nurses and nutritionists to visit people in the worst affected areas. The two organizations are also complementing the feeding programs with targeted food distributions.

In Somalia, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams are also offering medical treatments as well as distributing seeds, farming tools, irrigation pumps and fishing equipment to help stabilize livelihoods. And in Kenya and Ethiopia, the Red Cross is helping those affected by the drought through school feeding programs, well rehabilitation, water trucking and general food distribution.

Even with these activities, the region’s current and predicted need far outweighs the humanitarian response. With no likelihood of improvement until early 2012, the situation will require large scale and sustained humanitarian assistance.

“The tragedy in the Horn of Africa is chronic, and even as we respond with emergency aid for these new developments, we must also work on longer-term solutions,” Patel said. “The global Red Cross and Red Crescent network was one of the first organizations to sound the alarm and launch an international response, but the solution to this crisis is a long-term commitment to building up resilience and capacity within the region’s most vulnerable communities.”

Gifts to the American Red Cross can support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the drought and current humanitarian emergency in Horn of Africa. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. The public may visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.


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The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the fundamental principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disaster and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. It accomplishes this mission through services that are consistent with its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross movement.

The Hawaii State Chapter responds continually to large and small disasters throughout the State of Hawaii. The Red Cross is the only volunteer organization charged, by federal Congressional Charter, with responding during disasters to provide for the immediate emergency needs of families and individuals. In addition, the Chapter prepares individuals and businesses to be more prepared for emergencies and to initiate appropriate action to ensure the health and safety of those around them and themselves.

The American Red Cross is not a government agency. We depend on the aloha spirit of giving from our community to help others in need.

The Hawaii State Chapter consists of the Chapter headquarters, four branch offices (East Hawaii, West Hawaii, Kauai and Maui) and four military service centers (Hickam Air Force Base, Schofield Barracks, Kaneohe Marine Corp Base and Tripler Army Medical Center).

Founded in 1881 by Clara Barton, the American Red Cross is one of the oldest human service organizations in the United States. In 1905, the U.S. Congress chartered the Red Cross to help relieve the suffering caused by disasters. Over the years, we have become part of the very fiber of the community and Americans have grown to expect and rely on our swift, professional assistance through a national volunteer corps of more than 1.44 million people. The American Red Cross is one of more than 145 member nations that comprise the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Currently, 967 chapters make up the American Red Cross.

Although 1917 is the official date that the first American Red Cross chapter was chartered in Hawaii, Red Cross work began as early as 1898, when some 300 women, including Princess Kaiulani, organized a Red Cross society to aid the sick and wounded soldiers stopping here on transports from the Philippines during the Spanish-American War.

Today, the Hawaii State Chapter is a leader in health and safety training. Red Cross disaster volunteers respond regularly to house and apartment fires, and are prepared for larger disasters like hurricanes, tsunamis, and floods.

Through its extensive use of trained volunteers, the American Red Cross has earned a reputation for being of one of the nation's most efficiently managed non-profit organizations, a distinction that has been recognized by publications such as Forbes, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Times and Money Magazine. The Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross has over 4,000 volunteers - a volunteer-to-staff ratio of more than 10 to 1.

The Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross is known for excellent stewardship of funds. We have always prided ourselves on providing services that do not duplicate the services of other non-profits organizations and proactively seeking ways to collaborate with other providers.

Sep 14, 1917: Queen Liliuokalani's secretary, Colonel Iaukea, presents a hand-sewn Red Cross flag to members of the local Chapter on the steps of Iolani Palace. This ceremony took place a few months after the Hawaii Chapter was officially chartered. At the Queen's suggestion, the flag flew over the palace and later hung in the Throne Room during World War I. Mrs. Henry Dawson accepts flag. Territorial Governor Lucius Pinkham is behind Iaukea.

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