As of Thursday morning, the Costa Rican Red Cross had collected more than ¢294 million (over $532,000) to help relief efforts in Haiti, the humanitarian aid organization said in a news release.
The group is channeling the funds to Haiti through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (FICR).
Last weekend the Costa Rican Red Cross sent nine rescue specialists to Haiti. The National Emergency Commissions (CNE) sent a team of 55 engineers, rescuers and health experts to help earthquake victims. Costa Rica’s National Police also sent search and rescue personnel to Haiti.
Costa Rican relief teams resumed work on Tuesday after the United Nations ordered the suspension of all relief operations on Monday because of violence and social unrest that had sprung to life in the Hatian capital of Port-au-Prince. Before the suspension on Monday, Costa Rica’s CNE teams had entered 176 collapsed structures and removed 10 cadavers. Officials estimate that more than 100,000 could have been killed by the quake.
CNE officials said on Thursday that Costa Rican teams have begun to work outside of the capital city in suburbs such as Leogane, where an estimated 90 percent of buildings were destroyed. Three doctors from the Costa Rican Caja are also planning to move outlaying cities and towns to provide medical assistance there.
To donate, send a text message to:
5201 – ¢ 1,000
5205 – ¢ 5,000
5210 – ¢ 10,000
Meanwhile, the Red Cross will keep open its bank accounts at Banco Nacional and Banco de Costa Rica for donations to assist relief efforts once work resumes. The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has set up a system to donate by cell phone text message to the Red Cross.
The FICR is asking for donations totaling $103 million, which they believe will be able to support 300,000 Haitians for three years.
Donors can take non-perishable food items and toiletries to the Red Cross headquarters in San José, 200 meters south of the Hospital San Juan de Dios. Officials recommend items such as canned foods, snacks, baby food, toilet paper, tampons and soap. As of Thursday morning, the Costa Rican Red Cross had collected nearly 10 tons of supplies. The donation center will be open until January 31. The United Nations will deliver the goods to Haiti.
Officials have explicitly asked citizens not to donate items other than what the Red Cross has recommended – money, non-perishable food and toiletries.
See The Tico Times’ Online How to Help Haiti page at www.ticotimes.net/haiti.htm for a list of organizations that are collecting funds for Haitian relief efforts.