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Red Cross President Visits Flooded Regions in Mexico
Date:11/9/2007

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico, Nov. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The President of the American Red Cross saw first hand the devastation in the flooded regions of Southern Mexico. At the invitation of the Mexican Red Cross President, he was invited to observe relief efforts for the people of the state of Tabasco. The President of the Mexican Red Cross and the Governor of the State of Tabasco accompanied Everson on the tour of the devastation.

"It's as if 70 percent of the state of Vermont was under water. You just see treelines where the roads should be," said Mark W. Everson, President of the American Red Cross. "The waters are receding slowly, tens of thousands of people will need significant long term relief, and we're prepared to help the Mexican Red Cross with this effort."

Even though the rescue phase is complete, 70 percent of the state of Tabasco is still flooded, and the waters are not expected to recede for another 2-3 weeks. The efforts of the Red Cross response are now focusing on providing food, drinking water and supporting shelters to help people stay healthy and provide a roof over their head until they can return to their homes.

"We need each other," said Daniel Goni Diaz, President of the Mexican Red Cross regarding the American Red Cross and the Mexican Red Cross. "When the American Red Cross needed help with the wildfires in Southern California, we came. And, when we asked for American Red Cross assistance to respond to these floods, you came."

The American Red Cross is responding to the emergency relief efforts of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Mexican Red Cross by providing more than $500,000 in financial assistance and supplies. This includes $250,000 in partnership with USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. The American Red Cross is also supporting a Spanish speaking international relief worker and is weighing additional response options.

"The American people have responded generously to this tragedy, and my visit to Tabasco is evidence of their support, and builds on the close relationship between the American Red Cross and the Mexican Red Cross," said Everson. "Also, I'm glad the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico is here to show the strong U.S. government support for our neighbors in Mexico."

The American Red Cross and the Mexican Red Cross have a rich history of helping each other during times of disaster. During the recent wildfires in Southern California, the Mexican Red Cross sent ten trained workers to assist the American Red Cross in reaching out to the Spanish speaking community. Following Hurricane Dean, the American Red Cross provided financial assistance to the Mexican Red Cross through USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and sent a relief worker to Mexico to support emergency operations. Furthermore, this partnership worked successfully during the American Red Cross response to Hurricane Katrina when the Mexican Red Cross sent 20 relief workers to assist our response.

Said the Governor of the State of Tabasco, Andres Raphael Granier Melo, "The Red Cross saved my life when I was 14 years old, they picked me up in the streets for an accident I had and I have always wanted to help the Red Cross. Everyone here in Tabasco knows the Red Cross, everyone knows someone who has been helped by the Red Cross. A lot of people are thankful to the Red Cross because of their assistance."

"This is a neighbor in need and you always reach out to neighbors in need -- it's a basic humanitarian concept," said Everson. "The Mexican Red Cross just helped us with the wildfires in Southern California. Now, it's our time to help them."

Red Cross pictures of the flooded area can be found at http://www.redcross.org/general/0,1082,0_856_,00.html

You can help those affected by countless crises 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. Please call 1-800-RED CROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting http://www.redcross.org. 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.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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