Earthquake in Haiti - Story of an aid worker

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Miriam Castaneda, Haiti Program Manager for the Canadian Red Cross, responded immediately following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck off the western coast of Haiti on January 12. She had to – she was there as the ground began to rumble and buildings began to collapse.

“There was a cloud of dust over the city and I could see many buildings damaged and people in need of help,” Miriam remarked. “Luckily our offices were still standing so we were able to provide help immediately.”

The Canadian Red Cross has been working in Haiti since 2006 to improve community health, water and sanitation systems and disaster preparedness. Miriam coordinates Canadian Red Cross activities there. Following the earthquake, Miriam immediately began working with International Red Cross movement staff and volunteers to help the many people in need of support.

“We’ve been doing everything we can to help. One of the biggest needs right now is medical care,” says Miriam. “On the first night, we set up a make-shift medical centre and provided first aid before transporting people to the hospitals, which are overrun with patients.”

Over 120 international Aid workers from around the world, including 12 Canadians, are beginning to arrive in Haiti. These aid workers are experts in the areas of logistics, shelter, health/medical care, water and sanitation and psychosocial support.

The Canadian Red Cross is accepting donations to support Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti. Donations will provide much needed relief items and help send personnel into the field.