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American Red Cross Responds Internationally and at Home to Chile Quake
Date:2/27/2010

Commits Initial $50,000 to Chile Relief and Prepares for Tsunami in Hawaii

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross is responding to the strong 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile, making $50,000 available for relief operations in Chile while also helping people in Hawaii prepare for a possible tsunami.

(Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090108/RedCrossLOGO )

The Red Cross regional disaster management center in Panama is in contact with Red Cross staff and volunteers on the ground to monitor the situation and further assess needs.  Regional Red Cross disaster experts from Latin America are also en route to Chile to support the response.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross is coordinating with the state of Hawaii and the federal government to ensure an appropriate response to the impending tsunami that is expected to strike Hawaii later in the day Saturday. The local Red Cross chapter is readying volunteers and supplies in Hawaii to support any response that may be needed.

"Our hearts go out to the people of Chile as they struggle to deal with the immediate aftermath of this earthquake and the many aftershocks that are continuing," says David Meltzer, Senior Vice President of International Services at the American Red Cross. "Thanks to the generosity of the American people who previously donated to our International Relief Fund, we've been able to release an initial pledge of $50,000 to help the Chilean people in their hour of need and we stand ready to provide additional assistance."

Chilean Red Cross disaster teams have been activated and are working in close coordination with the Chilean government and their National Emergency Office. The Chilean Red Cross is a member of the Chilean government's emergency response group, which is leading the emergency operations and has a great deal of experience and systems in place to manage response to major disasters. Although there is a blackout in Santiago, the Chilean Red Cross headquarters is able to operate through use of a generator.

At the same time, the American Red Cross is continuing to support the relief operations in Haiti, where 1.3 million people have been helped since the January 12th earthquake in that country.

"As the largest humanitarian network in the world, the Red Cross has both the experience and the capacity to respond to multiple disasters at the same time," Meltzer said. "Today, we are supporting the Chilean Red Cross in their response to the earthquake while chapters in Hawaii are preparing for the possible tsunami, and relief operations continue in Haiti."

Disasters frequently separate loved ones, and there are ways that people can help reconnect with their families and friends.

For inquiries about relatives living and who have citizenship in Chile, we urge you to contact them by telephone, monitor their social networking profiles or contact other family members who live nearby. Telephone, Internet and other communication lines are often disrupted in times of disaster. People trying to locate U.S. citizens living or traveling in Chile should contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225.

The Red Cross encourages people in Hawaii, Guam or American Samoa to make contact with their families as they evacuate. An easy way to notify loved ones is to register on the Safe and Well feature of redcross.org or by calling 866-438-4636.

You can help the victims of countless crises, like the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti,  around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation by either contacting 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish), or mailing your donation with the designation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

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

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