T&T groups rally to assist Haiti

Sunday, October 9, 2016 - 04:15

Several organisations in T&T have joined in the international humanitarian assistance for Haiti after Hurricane Matthew left behind a trail of destruction last week. 

Reports up to late yesterday were that close to 900 people died and 90 per cent of some areas were destroyed. 

The US National Hurricane Center downgraded Matthew to a Category One hurricane, with maximum sustained winds having decreased to 75mph (120km/h).

Founder of Is There Not a Cause (ITNAC), Avonelle Hector-Joseph, who has been providing assistance to Haiti since 2002 made a call for non-governmental organisations to donate towards the cause. Her group leaves on Tuesday.

Hector-Joseph yesterday said, “We are working out right now if to do food alone or food and medical. We need plenty more supplies. It’s over one million people need to be serviced and while we cannot service all, we want to reach out to as many people as we can.”

She said a container is expected to be shipped by this Thursday or next week. She added the group was still deciding whether to deploy at Jeremie, the main city of Grand-Anse, or Léogâne, a coastal commune in Ouest Department.

Mobile phone network provider, Digicel, has launched a campaign asking its customers to text HELP to donate $5. The San Fernando City Council is co-ordinating a Haiti Relief Charity Drive and will be collecting clothing, non-perishable food, dry goods, supplies, medicine and building materials to assist in restoration efforts.

It has partnered with the San Fernando Volunteer Network, the Rotary Club of San Fernando and ONE Love Trinidad. Interested donors can drop off items at the Public Relations Department of the San Fernando City Corporation. 

The Barakah Foundation and IBN TV led by Inshan Ishmael will also be collecting similar items at the grounds in Endeavour, Chaguanas, from today at 9 am. 

The Congress of the People has launched its Haiti Support Effort. It is asking for water, non-perishable foodstuff, toiletries and personal hygiene items. Donations can be made today at the Operations Centre, Caroni Savannah Road, Charlieville. 

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 750,000 people in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, were in need of humanitarian assistance. Of the 10.3 million people in Haiti, 1.3 million were affected.

In January 2010, a catastrophic earthquake measuring 7.0 flattened parts of Haiti affecting close to three million people. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives while over one million were displaced. When Category Four Hurricane Flora hit Haiti in 1963, it killed close to 8,000 people.

Caricom Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque yesterday expressed sympathy and condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the passage of Hurricane Matthew. 

“I also empathise with the thousands who have lost their homes and property on account of the storm,” he said in a statement. 

He said Caricom expressed its solidarity with the governments and people of the many states affected by Hurricane Matthew, a hurricane of exceptional strength, as it swept through the region. 

He said, “The catastrophic storm has affected our members, from Barbados to St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, and Dominica to Haiti, Jamaica, The Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It has also affected Cuba and the Dominican Republic and left in its wake significant loss of life, property and infrastructure.”

Caricom’s response is being led by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) which has been working with national relief organisations to assess damage, determine priority needs and provide relief.

LaRocque has been in discussions with the leadership of the countries affected as well as with the executive director of CDEMA. 

SOURCE: www.guardian.co.tt (Rhondor Dowlat)

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