Haiti Earthquakes: More Updates

These are a only a FEW of the many updates from various sources.  For the most reliable regular updates from closest to the ground (IMHO), please subscribe to the Bob Corbett Haiti and Haitian diaspora listserv (send an email to corbetre at webster dot edu).  For regular academic updates please see subscribe to related listservs on H-Net.

From TransAfrica Forum:

Summary:  As the full scope of the damage wrought by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010 is revealed, calls for increased coordination and faster, more efficient aid delivery increase.  The outpouring of support from nations and individuals around the world has been massive and immediate.  Yet, getting relief to communities and individuals in need has been painfully slow.  Reasons for the bottleneck in aid delivery vary, but include structural bureaucracies, and a weakened Haitian government that has lost human and material infrastructure.   The latest barriers to aid delivery have been misinformation and rumors regarding the security situation in the country.  The priority for every country and agency working in Haiti must be the efficient and efficacious delivery of relief to communities in need. Thousands of lives are at risk due to delays in distributing food, water, medical equipment, and supplies.  Please contact the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (www.usaid.gov/public_inquiries.html, 202.712.4810), which is coordinating the U.S. relief efforts.”

Read the rest here.

From Haiti Soleil:

“Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Message from Executive Director on the Earthquake in Haiti

Dear Friends,
As many of you know by now, Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. Pictures of damaged and collapsed buildings, including governmental structures such as the presidential palace and popular tourist destinations such as Hotel Montana, have been circulating all over the news and major online social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The offices of major international relief agencies have been toppled, making rescue efforts very difficult. Repeated images of little bodies under the rubble and bruised victims on bloody concrete streets have us all gasping in horror. The city of Port-au-Prince appears to be in ruins. Haitians in the capital are, needless to say, frantic. Many are now homeless, displaced and in need of refuge. Haitian Americans all over the United States are shocked and desperate to reach loved ones back at home. The situation is dire.
I was just beginning to recover from jet lag when I received the news of the earthquake yesterday afternoon around 2pm PST. I returned from Haiti this past Thursday after spending an entire month there setting up a small computer lab at Bibliothèque du Soleil, our community library in Carrefour-Feuilles, Port-au-Prince. My nonprofit organization, Haiti Soleil, received a generous grant from the Irene Scully Family Foundation to increase the services and develop the programs we offer at the library. We also received support and in-kind donations from the Center for Black Studies here at UCSB, The French Department at UC Berkeley, and individual donors for the library’s youth Christmas celebration on December 24, 2009.
December was a great month for the most part. Staff morale at the library was high.

Overall, many folks in Haiti were relieved that the country experienced a relatively quiet cyclone season. We were also very hopeful as we witnessed some visible signs of development (i.e., investments in the form of hotels and businesses, airport improvements, new airlines flying into Haiti, better roads, more tourist travel….). It is devastating that we are starting the new year with such catastrophe. Haiti does not have the infrastructure to deal with an earthquake and its aftermath. We have no idea how many lives have been lost, nor do we know how long it will take to recover from this humanitarian disaster. Tough times are indeed ahead for a city that is already dealing with overpopulation, growing bidonvilles (shanty towns), and environmental degradation.
I have not heard from my father, the staff of Bibliothèque du Soleil, and the friends in Haiti who support our efforts when we are there. I have been calling my dad repeatedly with no success. I talked to my father just a few hours before the earthquake over an unresolved customer service issue with a computer store in Delmas. Frustrated, I did not get a chance to tell him I loved him before hanging up.
The earthquake is heartbreaking news. I have been receiving a number of calls and emails from concerned individuals wishing to help in any way possible. I am heartened by those who have reached out by extending sympathies and offering encouraging words. For those who are interested in supporting direct relief agencies, please consider donating to organizations such as Doctors without Borders and Partners in Health. I hear that Fondation Connaissance & Liberté/Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libète (FOKAL), a foundation that supports our library in Haiti, is also accepting donations specifically for relief efforts. Other organizations like The Lambi Fund of Haiti provide long term support. Small nonprofit organizations like Haiti Soleil are in need of volunteers interested in supporting educational development in Haiti.
The Board of Haiti Soleil is monitoring the situation in Haiti. As soon as we hear from the staff of Bibliothèque du Soleil, we will post a message on our website and send an email to our supporters.
In Solidarity,
Nadège T. Clitandre, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Haiti Soleil, Inc.

“The Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) expresses our solidarity with the people of Haiti whose lives have been irrevocably changed by the recent earthquake.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and survivors of this disaster, as well as to their families, loved ones, and friends across the world.  Given the historical importance of Haiti to the African-descended everywhere, ASWAD calls for immediate humanitarian aid and justice for the Haitian people.  We urge our membership to contribute to an organization of their choice.  A list of organizations can be found below.

The Haiti Emergency Relief Fund: http://www.haitiaction.net/About/HERF/HERF.html

OXFAM: http://oxfamamerica.org

Médecins sans Frontières: http://www.msf.org/

Partners in Health: http://www.pih.org/home.html

Save the Children: http://savethechildren.org

Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/

CARE: http://www.care.org/
or to the relief agencies established in your area”

From Elizabeth Dillon (via H-FrenchColonial):
Dear Friends,

In support of the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, I have started a fund-raising campaign, “Scholars for Haiti,” to collect donations for the aid organization, Partners in Health, run by Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl.  Please go to http://act.pih.org/page/outreach/view/haitiearthquake/Scholars4Haiti for details and please consider making a contribution (be it ever so small!) if you are able to do so.

I have also posted this as a facebook event, which I encourage you to attend as well if you are on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=255127517849  The facebook event will allow you to post links, if you would like to do so, and to follow some discussion concerning the historical dimensions of the current tragedy unfolding in Haiti.

Whether you are able to make a financial donation or not, I would be most grateful if you would forward this message to those in your own network of friends and colleagues, and encourage them to contribute to the relief of the current suffering of our neighbors in Haiti.

With many thanks,

*   *   *
Elizabeth Maddock Dillon
Associate Professor of English
Northeastern University
Boston, MA 02115″

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