Jim Walberg of Caribbean Islands Realty writes:
The Port-au-Prince area of Haiti, is located about 500 miles to the west of Red Hook, St. Thomas where Caribbean Islands Realty is headquartered. Tuesday it was hit with a devastating 7.3-magnitude earthquake that has caused much of this city of millions to collapse. The tide of human suffering is beyond any thing we can imagine. Gov. John deJongh Jr. said in a news release that the prayers of the people of the Virgin Islands are with the residents of Haiti, and that help is on the way from every Caribbean nation, plus the world. “Eyewitness accounts of the quake indicate a catastrophic situation,” deJongh said, adding that many Virgin Islanders have both family and friends in Haiti who are tonight anxiously awaiting word about the fate of their loved ones.
Hospitals, schools, the capital building, stores and most buildings in the capital city and surrounding communities have collapsed. There are no services available and the dead are being left where they lay. It is unimaginable to think of how the poorest nation in the Caribbean can deal with such devastation, or how any of us could manage through this catastrophe. “We expect the damage to be significant and the loss of lives catastrophic,” said Christa von Hillebrandt, the head of Puerto Rico Seismic Network in Mayaguez. She estimated that in Haiti, the earthquake lasted anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. Von Hillebrandt said that two major fault lines run through Haiti: one in the north, the other in the south. Therefore, she said it was no surprise that Haiti was hit with a destructive earthquake.
Officials from disaster relief organizations across the territory say that the best way to help Haiti in the aftermath of the massive earthquake is by sending monetary donations. If you’re in the USA, The State Department has set up a method for each of us to do our part by texting the number “90999” and put in the message the word “Haiti”. It will immediately send $10 to the Red Cross – 100% of it will get to the Red Cross. Please take a moment and do this IMMEDIATELY! You will then get a text back from the Red Cross thanking you for your contribution. Please do this now. The monetary donations will be used to purchase emergency relief items there thus injecting money into the local economy. You can also go to DoubleTake Clothing and purchase a “Help Haiti” t-shirt and they will send $5 to the American Red Cross. ( Spread the word about these shirts.)
In a press release, Gov. John deJongh Jr. and Senate President Louis P. Hill urged residents to coordinate their relief efforts. “We are asking each and every Virgin Islander who wishes to offer their assistance with the recovery in Haiti to work with us and within the guidelines given us by the American Red Cross, the Haitian Embassy and F.E.M.A.,” deJongh and Hill said.
In addition, Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, Red Cross, C.A.R.E. and Rotary International have all provided relief. “We are looking to find out what the priority of needs is and looking at logistics,” said David Edgecombe, special assistant to the USVI governor for external affairs. “We want to avoid getting relief items and then have no way of getting them there without knowing the best routing. The needs are clearly great … it is going to take a little while for us to get the lines of communication open and accurate data as to how best to get goods to people in Haiti.” “The Red Cross is specifically telling those who want to help to send money at this time,” Edgecombe said.
COMMENT: Even though it has been some weeks since the initial earthquake, solving the problems in Haiti are really only just beginning. It’s going to be a long road ahead. Marquette Turner have chosen to sponsor Medicine Sans Fronteires/Doctors Without Borders, but there are many other excellent charities that would appreciate your support. Please follow the links below to help:
– Help Haiti Now
– You can also go to the Huffington Post Haiti page which has a plethora of excellent links and information