Press Release
January 17, 2010

Red Cross to set up welfare desk in all chapters - Gordon

Senator and Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Chairman Richard J. Gordon announced that the Red Cross will set up a welfare desk in all chapters nationwide to assist Filipinos with relatives abroad when disaster strikes in any part of the globe.

Gordon gave the directive after at least four Filipinos were believed trapped in collapsed buildings in Haiti following a magnitude-7 earthquake.

"The welfare desks will make it easier for the Red Cross to provide assistance to our citizens whose relatives are facing danger in any part of the world," he said.

"They only have to contact the welfare desks and provide the necessary information about their relatives and we can coordinate with the foreign country's Red Cross for assistance," he added.

At least four Filipinos were missing after the destructive earthquake that hit Haiti early this week. The four were among 172 Filipino members of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

The Philippine peacekeeping contingent in Haiti is made up of 157 soldiers and 15 police officers. All police officers have been accounted for. But four soldiers, including two female sergeants, were missing and believed trapped in two collapsed hotels in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it was still gathering information on the condition of 447 Filipino civilians working in various sectors in the Caribbean island.

Gordon sought the media's help in calling Filipinos who have relatives in Haiti, especially those whose relatives are missing, to go to the Red Cross chapters in the country.

"If your relatives are missing, go to the Red Cross chapters and give the names and addresses of your relatives. It would be better if you can provide photos. Then we can call the Haiti Red Cross and the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) so they can find your relatives," he said.

The PNRC chairman added that the Red Cross is also assisting Filipinos, whose relatives are missing, to cope with the tragedy by providing stress debriefing.

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