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January 16, 2010 18:41 ET

Aid Relief Efforts Reach Haitians

Members of HUMANITARIAN COALITION distribute relief to respond to Haitian earthquake, more is urgently needed

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 16, 2010) - Members of the HUMANITARIAN COALITION are on the ground in Port-au-Prince distributing relief to meet the immediate needs of Haitians, and are urging Canadians to continue to support the mass-scale relief efforts in the devastated country.

"We are very used to working in extreme situations, and the current situation is amongst the most extreme we've seen," said David Morley, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. "But we want Canadians to know that we are getting aid to thousands in need."

Members of the HUMANITARIAN COALITION are focused twenty-four hours a day to get aid into Haiti. Immediate needs include safe water, food and shelter. Help is particularly crucial for the estimated 37,000 pregnant women affected, as well as for millions of youth and children. Approximately half of Haiti's population is under 18.

After the initial distribution of immediate supplies, the members have begun ramping-up relief efforts. Some of the member agency's responses include:

- Oxfam is providing "bladders", of 10,000 litres of water to 10,000 Haitians who have been displaced in a former golf course in Delmas and to a hospital in Carrefour.

- Today, CARE is distributing an eight-day supply of water purification tablets for 12,000 people. A focus will be placed on pregnant women and children.

- Save the Children Canada has distributed IV solutions and other medicines to 14 hospital and clinics. As well as distributing hygiene kits to help stop the spread of disease that is common immediately after a disaster.

Despite the relief efforts underway, there have been major challenges in coordinating the response. Major challenges include the limited capacity of the Port au Prince airport, which has delayed the arrival of goods; significant damage to roads and all other infrastructure; significant damage to the government of Haiti, as well as their limited capacity to assist in such an extensive response; significant damage to UN operations, as well as the death of numerous staff members; and the pure and utter destruction of the capital city. One-third of the population of Haiti has been affected, which means the needs are beyond anything that has been seen this side of the world in generations.

"While aid agencies have reached out to tens of thousands, there are about three million people affected in Haiti. To put this into context, this is comparable to every single person living in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia combined," said Robert Fox, Executive Director for Oxfam Canada. "These relief efforts are the tip of the iceberg. The needs are massive, so need the support of Canadians to reach Haitians."

To date, the HUMANITARIAN COALITION has reached about half of its $5 million target.

With a combined presence in 120 countries, the joint efforts by the members of THE HUMANITARIAN COALITION provide a widespread and effective response to emergencies. In addition, the campaign has one call centre, one phone number and a joint website for online donations in order to make donating easy for Canadians. Public service announcements and web communications are coordinated to represent a single and unified voice.

To donate to THE HUMANITARIAN COALITION, call 1-800-464-9154, log onto humanitariancoalition.ca or send donations to THE HUMANITARIAN COALITION, PO Box 65035, Ottawa, ON, K2G 5Y3

www.humanitariancoalition.ca

www.coalitionhumanitaire.ca

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