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child in haiti displaced after the earthquake A boy stands at an open area camp where people are staying after a major earthquake hit the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, January 14, 2010. (Photo Credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Kids in Crisis

Red Cross to assess needs of children after earthquake in Haiti

By Maria Ordoñez | January 19 , 2010

As of this weekend, more than $60 million has been donated to the Red Cross to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti. At least $12 million was raised $10 at a time through text messages—a first in the history of disaster relief fundraising.

The goal of the Red Cross is to reach out to some 60,000 families—about 300,0000 people—in the next three months with physical and emotional support, said American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGowan. The Red Cross president and other representatives of the relief organization spoke to reporters via a conference call on Saturday.

"The logistical challenge of getting aid to people on the ground is extraordinary," said Steve McAndrews, a disaster relief specialist on the call from Haiti. "The armed forces are clearing roads as quickly as they can."

The Red Cross is also actively connecting people from Haiti with concerned loved ones in the U.S.

"We are continually registering people with the web site," McAndrews said, noting that so far 19,000 people have registered. The Web site for the International Committee of the Red Cross is http://www.icrc.org.

Anyone looking for lost loved ones in Haiti can also call the State Department at 888-407-4747.

Currently, the immediate goal of the Red Cross is to get everyone registered to receive aid. While helping to provide physical needs like medical aid, water, food, and shelter, the Red Cross is also providing psychological help.

"This will especially be important for kids as we move past rescue into recovery," said McGowan. "Interventions will take place as well as counseling."

At the moment, camps are being set up for families to have shelter. The next step will be to provide activities for the children and schooling.

"Right now, we are still dealing with injured people," said David Meltzer, Senior Vice President of Disaster Services for the American Red Cross. "We will be visiting the camps to see what is needed there. We will be working to determine the state of the children."

CRISIS IN HAITI

Check out the Kid Reporters' special report Crisis in Haiti for more information on the country and how to help.

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