In times of crisis one has to adopt a policy of helping thy neighbour. For this reason the team at Facilitators for A Better Jamaica (FFBJ) worked on this Press Release last night to see the best way our organisation could support the present global efforts.
Haiti’s Earthquake Disaster
Help Thy Neighbour!!
As desperately needed aid from around the world began arriving in Haiti, followed by reports of casualties in the tens of thousands and mounting chaos emerge from the Haiti earthquake zone. Jamaica, one of Haiti closest neighbours is also giving a helping hand to its neighbour, despite its own dire current economic and social crisis.
In responding to Haiti’s earthquake disaster, Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding said, “Our thoughts must be [with] the people of Haiti who have been devastated by the most severe earthquake in more than 200 years”.
“We are less than 300 miles from Haiti and their disaster could well have been ours. But even as we give thanks for His mercies, we must reach out to the Haitian people who have lost their loved ones, their homes, the little that they had and must now face an even more dismal and worrying future”.
He went on to say:
“I urge all Jamaicans who can afford to do so to contribute to the fund that has been established to assist the recovery efforts of the people of Haiti, a people who have long borne more distress than any people should have to bear”.
- Aid aircrafts from China, France, the US and Spain flew into Port-au-Prince, while a British specialist rescue team that arrived overnight in the neighbouring Dominican Republic also arrived in the Haitian capital.
- The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown described the earthquake as a “tragedy beyond imagination” and urged the British public to support emergency appeals.
- President Barack Obama pledged one of the biggest relief efforts in recent US history and said Haiti would “not be forgotten” in its hour of need.
Late Thursday [14th January 2010] FFBJ was able to make contact via with Rhian Holder of Christian Aid (UK) based in Jamaica, who has sent us an exclusive up-to-date report on Haiti’s earthquake disaster relief operation.
“Your network [FFBJ] will be happy to hear that Jamaicans at home have been giving very generously, in spite of the economic hardships being faced. I am sure you’ve read that major banks, the Red Cross, Digicel, Food for the Poor, the army, ODPEM, Salvation Army and many, many others are collecting donations or are facilitating donations for the relief effort in Haiti. Ordinary Jamaicans have dropped off tinned food, clothing, made donations via their cell phones…it has been really heart-warming”.
Rhian went on to report: “Christian Aid staff have been working almost around the clock, in coordination meetings with other aid agencies, meeting with partner NGOs where possible and starting the task of assessment and response. As you can imagine, it is a logistical nightmare – there are few safe buildings from which to work, telecommunications are sketchy, and staff from all organizations in Haiti are trying to respond while dealing with their own personal tragedies”.
The Caribbean Office (based here in Jamaica) is helping coordinate the response from Christian Aid (UK), and our Head of Region, Judith Turbyne has been giving regular updates to media and others as she is the main point of contact with the Haiti staff. Christian Aid is sending/has sent emergency staff to help in Haiti, and our Christian Aid journalist has also gone to Haiti to bring the stories of the people, and our NGO partners and their response, to a wider audience.
Christian Aid is a part of the coordination mechanism of all the aid agencies in Haiti to ensure that a proper plan is derived not only for distribution of relief, but also for rehabilitation to ensure that people’s lives and livelihoods are rebuilt in a sustainable manner. We will provide, through our partner networks, relief materials (food, water, shelter materials, etc) to those most in need, and help in the rebuilding process.
Facilitators For A Better Jamaica (FFBJ) is appealing to fellow Jamaicans in the UK to give generously to aid agencies currently operating in Haiti, namely:
Christian Aid Haiti Earthquake Appeal
Christian Aid has launched an emergency appeal for Haiti after a major earthquake struck the country. Thousands of people are feared dead and countless have been left homeless. Please visit the Haiti Earthquake Appeal site to donate.
- The Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Appeal http://www.redcross.org.uk/TLC.asp?id=102173
- DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal http://www.dec.org.uk/