Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 5:30 EDT

American Red Cross Increases Contribution to Horn of Africa Crisis to $2.7 million

August 31, 2011

Global Red Cross partners leverage local resources to help those impacted by famine

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Red Cross today announced an additional $1.7 million contribution toward the ongoing crisis in the Horn of Africa, bringing the total contribution to $2.7 million.

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The Red Cross made this additional pledge because despite widespread relief efforts in the region, massive humanitarian needs persist, with 12 million people impacted by three years of crippling drought. This new funding will continue to support the work of Red Cross and Red Crescent partners on the ground in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

“In times like this, Red Cross partners are uniquely positioned to leverage our unparalleled access, community presence, and local knowledge to reach those most in need,” said Apu Patel, Regional Director for Africa for the American Red Cross. “At the American Red Cross, we are in direct communication with global Red Cross and Red Crescent partners as they update their needs based on ongoing assessments and response activities.”

Famine has been declared in five areas in southern Somalia and many refugees are still fleeing to overflowing camps in neighboring countries. The Somali Red Crescent provides an integral link to the region’s most vulnerable populations, and together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has distributed emergency supplies and water to 1 million people throughout country since October 2010.

Additionally, with ongoing support from the ICRC, the Somali Red Crescent recently expanded its feeding programs and sent mobile health and nutrition teams into remote areas. They are also distributing seeds, farming tools, irrigation pumps and fishing equipment to help stabilize livelihoods.

The Kenya Red Cross is working to improve access to clean water for those impacted by the drought and famine, along with livestock support, food for school children and health outreach services. In Ethiopia, Red Cross teams are working in some of the hardest-hit areas supporting drought management activities.

The influx of refugees into crowded camps in Kenya and other neighboring countries compounds the humanitarian needs and often results in family members being separated. In addition to relief efforts, Red Cross and Red Crescent partners are working to restore these vital family links amid the crisis.

“In Dadaab, one of the largest camps in Kenya, a team of Red Cross specialists is working to reconnect family members, including a significant number of children, with loved ones they left behind or in other parts of the world,” said Mark Owens, Family Tracing Caseworker for Africa for the American Red Cross. “In Ethiopia, the Red Cross is helping to connect separated family members scattered across four camps.”

Both the Kenya Red Cross and Ethiopian Red Cross have also been collaborating with communities to build resilience against crises such as droughts through well restoration, seed distribution and livestock programs.

Along with the multifaceted relief efforts, Red Cross and Red Crescent partners have established monitoring systems to help ensure that as much as possible, relief items reach the people who need them the most. Often aid is supplied to help entire communities, such as providing clean water or better health services rather than only distributing relief items that could be stolen and later sold. The Red Cross and Red Crescent also work with committed local staff at all levels who believe in the humanitarian objectives of the global Red Cross network, particularly in conflict zones.

“The drought is affecting everyone in Somalia, and all sides of the ongoing conflict are equally impacted and vulnerable,” said Patel. “This underscores what a crucial role our partners at the Somali Red Crescent are playing, because as a neutral organization, their volunteers have access to everyone involved and have worked successfully amid those challenges for years.”

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 www.redcross.org 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.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

SOURCE American Red Cross

Source: PR Newswire