Red Cross distributes aid in Haiti - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Red Cross distributes aid in Haiti

By Diana Henry - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

PORT-AU-PRINCE (WKOW)-- The first images coming out of Haiti following the earthquake in January were unimaginable. Aid coming in --but not getting to the people. Aid is now going out--slowly but surely. We continue a week-long series on Wisconsin's Lifeline to Haiti.

According to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, nearly half of all U.S. households donated to relief efforts in Haiti.

Local donations to the American Red Cross have exceeded $1 million.

"Red Cross teams arrive a few days in advance, they speak to local community leaders to decide what the needs are and based on that they hand out tickets," said Mat.

Red Cross spokesperson Mat Morgan took me to a distribution site to see your dollars at work.

"It was so painful to see the relief not reach the people immediately," I said. "Is that over, is it okay now, can the American people know it's okay to keep donating because it will reach the people?"

"Logistics continues to be an issue," said Mat. "But of course at the very beginning you saw this horrible image of people in need and nothing was reaching them in the first few days. Since that time, as you can see here relief supplies are getting in and continue to get in."

Today alone Volunteers handed out kits to 300 families or 1,500 people at this location.

"Everything from cooking pot to frying pan to bowls, this provides enough for a family of 5," said Mat.

From food, to shelter to health services, Mat says the Red Cross helps 5,000 people per day.

With the rainy season almost here these bags are critical. In each one: sleeping bags, tarps and mosquito nets.

"People who didn't have shelter before, people who were living under blankets or sleeping under the stars are now able to put up tarps," said Mat.

There are 50 U.S. delegates from the American Red Cross in Haiti. 2,500 Haitians are by their side helping their own as volunteers.

"What does it mean to the Haitians to have the American Red Cross and the American people here helping?" I asked.

"Unexplainable because after an event like this you need a lot of people to help you and the situation we have been in we couldn't help ourselves so to have people come from other countries to help us is unexplainable," said volunteer.

"People who continue to donate can know every donated dollar will be spent here to meet the relief needs and also the long term needs of the people of Haiti."

"Where does the Red Cross see the long term needs going?" I asked Mat.

"Certainly shelter," said Mat. "Just this week we made an announcement that we would provide $20 million to address shelter issues."

Tuesday night on 27 News at 10, a Madison doctor visits what was once his adopted daughters' home for the first time since the earthquake. You can continue to be a part of Haiti's rebuilding on Friday from 7pm to 8pm. by donating. It's an one hour live special fundraising event 'Wisconsin's Lifeline to Haiti.'

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