f_0018769_16051

F_0018769_16051 - From Relief to Recovery The American Red Cross Response in the Wake of Haitis Devastating Earthquake Bonnie McElveen-Hunter

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Spring 2010 The Ambassadors REVIEW 12 From Relief to Recovery: The American Red Cross Response in the Wake of Haiti’s Devastating Earthquake Bonnie McElveen-Hunter Chairman of the American Red Cross United States Ambassador to Finland, 2001-2003 t 4:53 p.m. on January 12, Matthew Marek, the American Red Cross country representative for Haiti, was in his office working with two of his Haitian colleagues when the ground started shaking. He screamed, “Anba biwo a!” (Get under your desks!) They all stayed under their desks while listening to thousands of screams from the surrounding neighborhood, as the shaking continued. “It lasted too long,” said Marek. “I know because I had time to think about death.” When the shaking stopped, Marek noticed it was dusty and much brighter in the office. “I peered out from under my desk onto the neighborhood, not through a window but through what had been the office wall. It was no longer there; blown completely out and replaced by hundreds of people running and screaming.” The three of them made their way outside through the blown out wall. “I was overwhelmed. I looked to the bidonvilles on the mountainside and saw clouds of dust and hundreds of homes turned to rubble. In a matter of minutes, our neighbors started showing up with their wounded and we got to work.” Within two hours, Marek and other Red Cross volunteers began administering first aid and assessing the damage caused by the earthquake. The American Red Cross also immediately made available all the relief supplies including blankets, kitchen sets, and water containers from our nearby warehouse in Panama (enough for 5,000 families) in support of relief efforts. Immediately after the earthquake, I found myself in the International Response Operations Center at the American Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, DC, where the international disaster response team was working around the clock. I was and remain incredibly proud of the collaborative, yet seamless effort, led by our indefatigable CEO Gail McGovern, Senior Vice President of International Services David Meltzer and Senior Director of International Response and Programs Nan Buzard. The coordination from the beginning between our domestic and international teams, the integration of efforts by the local Red Cross Chapters and National Headquarters, and the swift cooperation between the American Red Cross, Geneva’s International Federation and the ICRC
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course COMM 321 taught by Professor Erinmcclellan during the Spring '11 term at Boise State.

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F_0018769_16051 - From Relief to Recovery The American Red Cross Response in the Wake of Haitis Devastating Earthquake Bonnie McElveen-Hunter

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