Haiti: Arab aid making its way

Dubai–Governments and NGOs in the Middle East have begun mobilizing humanitarian aid for the survivors of a devastating earthquake in Haiti that may have killed more than 100,000 people, according to media reports.

The UN has launched an appeal for US$562 million to help the victims of the 12 January 7.0-magnitude quake. The funds are intended to support the three million people living in the quake-affected area for six months.

In the meantime, money and relief items are being dispatched to the desperate Caribbean Island from around the Middle East.

The UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) will begin aid flights to Haiti with two planes loaded with tents, Abdul Rahman al-Taniji, manager of RCA’s media and public relations department, told IRIN.

On 19 January an RCA team will fly to the Dominican Republic, neighbouring Haiti, to buy food supplies worth US$500,000 for Haitians, he said.

The Khalifa Bin Zayed Charity Foundation will dispatch by air 50 tons of emergency supplies for survivors, which is expected to arrive on 19 January, according to Khalil Mohamed, media representative at Khalifa Foundation.

"This is the initial response and we are currently in communication with seven international relief organizations to further extend our assistance," Mohamed told IRIN.

UAE-based Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum Charity (MBRMC) and Life for Relief and Development (Life) announced that it will be sending $1.25 million-worth of food, water, medicine, medical supplies, clothing and other emergency supplies.

Kuwait, Qatar

Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah has donated $1 million to Haiti’s quake survivors. "It will be coordinated through the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society [KRCS]. We prepared 100 tons of relief items–which include food, medical supplies, tents, blankets and food items–and are waiting to assign a plane that will carry them," Yousef Al Me’raj, head of KRCS’ disasters department, told IRIN.

A Qatari C-17 aircraft, loaded with 50 tons of aid, left for the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, on 14 January. Qatar also sent a 26-member rescue team comprising soldiers, police and medics to set up a field hospital and provide assistance wherever they can.

Qatar Charity (QC) will send an assessment team in the coming days to assess the needs for the rehabilitation phase of the disaster. The team will be followed by a consignment of non-food items for survivors, Issam Adwai, QC director of programmes, told IRIN.

The Qatari Red Crescent (QRC) has issued an appeal to its citizens for monetary contributions and will send $100,000 to Haiti very soon, said Khaled Diab, head of the international programs department at QRC.

Jordan, Lebanon, Iran

A Jordan Royal Air Force plane carrying the components for a military field hospital and six tonnes of food, relief items, medicine and clothing from the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation went to Haiti on 14 January. The field hospital includes five physicians specialised in orthopaedics, general surgery and anaesthesia, according to local media.

A second military plane carrying Jordanian medics and medical equipment headed to Haiti on 15 January.

Lebanon will send a plane loaded with 25 tonnes of tents and three tonnes of medicines, vaccines and other medical supplies on 19 January.

Iran’s Red Crescent society dispatched by plane about 30 tonnes of humanitarian aid – including food, tents and medicine – on 16 January. The relief items include tents, sugar, tuna fish and detergents, according to media reports.

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