Diaspora

Earthquake-stricken Haiti needs South Florida residents to donate tents, flash lights, batteries – WPLG Local 10

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Terrell Forney, Reporter
Andrea Torres, Digital Journalist
Bridgette Matter, Reporter
Published: August 17, 2021 6:49 pm
Updated: August 17, 2021 11:13 pm
Terrell Forney, Reporter
Andrea Torres, Digital Journalist
Bridgette Matter, Reporter
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Soraya Louis is a survivor of the catastrophic 7.1 magnitude earthquake in 2010 in Haiti. She was in Port-au-Prince when she was trapped under rubble for about six hours. She understands the urgent need to help those who are again feeling despair.
When the 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck on Saturday, Louis was working for Food For the Poor, an ecumenical Christian nonprofit organization founded in Jamaica and based out of Coconut Creek. Louis is working out of Port-au-Prince and said there is a need for non-perishable foods and practical things like flashlights in the disaster-stricken area of southwestern Haiti.
“I went from just being scared to being sad, to being upset, to thinking people were abandoning me, to trying to pray to God, to crying, to just being angry,” Louis said about her agonizing wait for help in 2010.
Louis is hoping the South Florida community shows Haitians that they are not alone. An estimated 200,000 people died in 2010 and Louis can’t believe Haitians are having to recover lifeless bodies from the rubble again 11 years later.
The Saturday earthquake’s official death toll was at 1,941 and rising ― including 1,597 in the Sud province, 205 in Grand’Anse, 137 in Nippes, and two in Nord-Ouest, according to Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency’s Tuesday afternoon report.
There were more than 9,900 injured and at least 83,300 homes were destroyed or damaged.
Related story: Here is how to help
“Everything is needed from A to Z,” said Ricky Sassine, a Haitian American volunteer in Miami-Dade County. Marleine Bastien, the executive director of the Family Action Network Movement in Miami-Dade, agreed and said there is a need for tents and tarps.
Tropical Storm Grace made landfall on Monday night. Torrential rain hampered relief efforts and the search for survivors. The earthquake’s epicenter was about 23 miles southwest of Haiti’s coastal city of Les Cayes and about 80 miles west of Port-au-Prince. The U.S. Geological Survey detected at least 19 aftershocks.
In a country where aid from churches is more reliable than that of the government, The Assumption cathedral in Les Cayes was damaged and Rev. Emile Beldor, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Les Cayes, was among those killed. The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami and the Episcopal Relief Fund are responding to the tragedy.
Rev. Reginald Jean-Mary, of Notre Dame d’Haiti Mission, at 110 NE 62 St., in Miami’s Little Haiti is asking the public to donate flashlights, batteries, backpacks, generators, and medicine.
The U.S. Agency for International Development is working with the U.S. Department of Defense to provide air transport with three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, three CH-47 Chinook helicopters, and two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters.
“We have been working 24/7 to respond with people assets, helicopters, and aircraft to get to Haiti and to assess the situation,” said Lt. Gen. Andrew Croft, the military deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command in Doral.
Two U.S. Coast Guard helicopters helped with medical evacuations. Sarah Charles, the assistant administrator for USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs, reported disaster response teams were forced to suspend operations as the storm arrived Monday, but members were back in action Tuesday to assess the damage.
Health care facilities had patients with severe trauma injuries who needed transfer to Port-au-Prince and there is a shortage of medical supplies. USAID reported the earthquake damaged the water purification system of Maniche, a commune with more than 21,000 residents in Les Cayes.
Bruno Maes, the United Nations Children’s Fund’s representative in Haiti, was in Les Cayes on Tuesday afternoon. He reported that about half a million Haitian children have limited or no access to shelter, safe water, health care, and nutrition.
“Last night, I saw strong winds and heavy rainfall strike the same areas already affected by the earthquake,” Maes said in a statement. “Countless Haitian families who have lost everything due to the earthquake are now living literally with their feet in the water due to the flooding.”
Several aid organizations face logistical obstacles to distribute the aid.
USAID also reported an earthquake-induced landslide blocked the National Highway 7, which connects Les Cayes and Grand’Anse’s Jérémiecity. The World Food Program negotiated with organized criminal groups to lift roadblocks on the main road from Port-au-Prince.
The storm and the earthquake come amid a fragile political environment. Haitians were still recovering from the 2016 Hurricane Matthew when officials faced the coronavirus pandemic. A group with links to South Florida assassinated President Jovenel Moïse on July 7. Two days before his murder, Moïse selected Dr. Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon, as the next prime minister of Haiti. Henry took office as the acting president on July 20th.
“I pledge to further strengthen bilateral and multilateral ties to consolidating and strengthen our friendship and cooperation with our partners,” Henry wrote on Tuesday afternoon in French on Twitter.
Michael Kahane, the Southern Bureau Chief for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is heading up a major effort to collect donations.
“We have a large stock oof generators here,” Kahane said. “Obviously there is no electricity in the severely impacted part of the country.”
AHF is the largest provider of healthcare in Haiti and 300 staff members survived the earthquake.
Kahane showed Local 10 News the inside of one of AHF’s supply rooms in Fort Lauderdale, full of 35,000 lbs. of needed items. Everything from diapers, food and paper products, necessities the people in Haiti desperately need.
“The biggest thing people need right now is water,” he said. “One of the things we have sourced is 10,000 water purification kits.”
The charter flights full of supplies are leaving from Opa-locka Airport Thursday and Saturday.
More about Food for the Poor
Donors can help Haitians in three ways: Making a donation online, providing relief items via the organization’s AmazonSmile Charity List, or delivering canned goods and first aid kits from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the charity’s Coconut Creek warehouse at 6401 Lyons Rd.
Related social media
#Jou4 : Operasyon rechèch ak sovtaj yo ap kontinye pou retire moun ki kwense nan ansyen lokal minustah nan lokalite Brefèt… #repons pic.twitter.com/opNrPhKNyC
Footage of a @USCG medevac operation in #Haiti yesterday. Working with Haitian first responders, the US evacuated over 40 people for urgent care. On return flights they’ve brought more Haitian medical staff, @USAID search & rescue team members, & 1,000 pounds of medical supplies. pic.twitter.com/zOPdVPOMkd
Copyright 2021 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.
Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.
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The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.
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If you need help with the Public File, call (954) 364-2526.
Copyright © 2021 Local10.com is published by WPLG INC., a Berkshire Hathaway company.

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