AmeriCares Steps Up Relief Effort To Haiti After Aristide's Departure

AmeriCares Foundation
Friday, 5 March 2004

Following intense political violence in Haiti, AmeriCares announced today that it is stepping up it's relief efforts for that country by deploying two disaster relief specialists to Port-au-Prince on Saturday in preparation for an AmeriCares airlift to follow. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced to flee the capital on Sunday, Feb. 29 for the Central African Republic.

Over the past month rebels seized Haiti's largest cities in the north, including Gonaïves, Hinche, and Cap-Haïtien. Insurgents demanded Aristide's resignation for abandoning his promises to help the poor. As a result of the uprising, hundreds of thousands of civilians were cut off from food and medical supplies, making it difficult for relief agencies to get through to rebel occupied areas.

AmeriCares Director of Emergency Response, Celina de Sola, said: "The situation is still very fluid. We will be closely monitoring the security risks. Once our supplies arrive in Port-au-Prince next week, we will deliver materials by secure convoys or local air service to the north and northeast regions of the country."

AmeriCares has been working to improve the health and quality of life in Haiti since 1984. The organization has delivered more than $80 million worth of humanitarian aid to the small Caribbean country. In 1991 AmeriCares aid was on the ground when members of the Haitian military ousted Aristide the first time after serving a year in office. He was restored by U.S. troops in 1994.

During the past two months AmeriCares has delivered two shipments of antibiotics, nutritional supplements and medical equipment worth more than $1.1 million to Haiti's capital and the country's second largest city, Cap-Haïtien.

Working through long time partner, Center of Development and Health (Centres pour le Développment et la Santé or CDS), AmeriCares and a network of local charities support those most in need throughout the country. In addition, AmeriCares works with Crudem, a humanitarian organization that operates a hospital in the rural area of Milot, located on the outskirts of Cap-Haïtien.

Curt Welling, president and chief executive officer of AmeriCares, said: "Our experience and long history of working in Haiti runs deep. We have worked closely with CDS and as a result are uniquely positioned to respond to crises of this magnitude with speed and efficiency. We have medicines staged in warehouses in several key areas of the country, allowing us to quickly distribute supplies to those hardest hit by the fighting."

To help AmeriCares with its relief effort for Haiti the public can make a donation online at: www.americares.org or by calling AmeriCares directly at: 800-468-HELP

For more information, or to contact AmeriCares Foundation, see their website at: www.americares.org

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