Friday, January 15, 2010

Port-au-Prince Devastated; Haitian Red Cross Estimates 45,000 – 50,000 Dead

Port-au-Prince Devastated; Haitian Red Cross Estimates 45,000 – 50,000 Dead
Summary and Recommendations for Recovery

“The country does not have the infrastructure or resources to deal with a crisis of this magnitude, the U.S. and the international community must provide immediate medical, humanitarian, search and rescue, and additional supports as requested by the government of Haiti,” --Nicole Lee, President of TransAfrica Forum.

January 12, 2010, Haiti, was hit with a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, its most severe in 200 years. The epicenter of the quake was approximately 10 miles south of Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital and home to over 2 million people. The city is devastated and the Haitian Red Cross estimates that 45,000 – 50,000 are dead.

At this time, basic supplies -- food, water, and shelter, as well as search and recue equipment -- are the major needs. A majority of the city’s population is sleeping in parks and on the streets, fearful of additional building collapse. According to a Reuters report: "Money is worth nothing right now, water is the currency."

Relief supplies, along with search and rescue squads are arriving. Some groups, for example, Partners in Health, Doctors Without Borders, along with Cuba have doctors on the ground and have been treating victims since the quake struck.

The U.S. government reports that some 2,200 Marines are en route as the military plans to assist with the delivery of humanitarian supplies, as well as security, and search and rescue missions. At least six U.S. military ships, including the hospital ship, are expected to assist. President Barack Obama has pledged 100 million in support to Haiti. The World Bank indicates that it will pledge a $100 million grant, Britain has pledged $10 million, and the Canadian government made an immediate pledge of $5 million with the offer to match charitable donations from Canadians up to $50 million.

A SMALL VICTORY! Thanks to you and the work of thousands throughout the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security announced this afternoon that Haitians living in the United States on January 12, 2010 are now eligible for Temporary Protective Status! This is a significant victory; since January 2009 U.S. immigration judges have issued deportation orders to over 30,000 undocumented Haitians. Temporary protected status (TPS) is granted by the United States (Homeland Security Department) to eligible nationals of countries that cannot safely return to their homelands because of armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. Haiti clearly fits this description. More...

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