2:45pm Thursday, April 29th, 2010 - Our patient and consistent communication with the Cap Haitian Rotarians, the Haiti Task force Co-Chairs my classmate PDG Dick McCombe and Haiti’s Dr. Guy Theodore, Past RI Director Barry Rasin, Past D7150 Foundation Chair Jack Luchsinger, and Rotary International’s Matching Grant point person for the Haiti area, the last of the required paperwork was secured and our grant money is in the process of being released. It has been logged in TRF's system, and MG#67285 is on its way to being sent for payment. Thank you to all of you who helped us make a difference in the lives of people so close to our shores who remain proud and spiritual, even though they have so little. It’s a project we’ll stay with and continue to help in any way we can. Our eClub members will travel back down when the project is completed for a special ribbon cutting ceremony.
4:25pm Friday, April 17th, 2010 - Even with my personal sadness that there still has been no communication from Rosie's family, our Rotarian friends in Haiti's District 7020 continue to move forward positively. And Rotary eClub NY1's D7150 has donated $24,731. to date to RI's TRF DAF Haiti Relief Fund. (you may donate here, if you wish). See the following messages from PDG Dick McCombe & PRID Barry Rassin.
4:31 pm Fri April 16, 2010 - Associated Press Writer Jonathan Katz reports: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti's soon-to-expire parliament has approved the creation of a commission co-chaired by former U.S. President Bill Clinton to oversee billions in post-quake reconstruction aid, the Ministry of Communications said Friday. The vote was widely sought by international donors who want a high degree of foreign control over an estimated $5.3 billion pledged for 2010-11 at a March 31 United Nations conference. Already approved by the lower house, it now goes to President Rene Preval for enactment. The vote extends Haiti's post-earthquake state of emergency for 18 months, leaving the billions delivered in that time to be overseen by the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission led by Clinton, who is the U.N. special envoy to Haiti, and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. Preval will have veto power over the commission's decisions. His support was key: The commission is envisioned as a check on mismanagement and corruption. A survey of more than 1,700 Haitians released this week by the international aid group Oxfam said nearly 40 percent wanted control to fall to a foreign government. The commission will also include Haitian legislators, other officials and union and business representatives, along with foreign delegates from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, France, Venezuela, the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, the United Nations and the Caribbean Community trade bloc.
7:25pm March 29, 2010 Port-au-Prince,
Haiti - Haiti races to house quake homeless before rainy season
4:17pm Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 -
Just a quick update covering my trip Tuesday to Haiti and the meeting
with Rotary International President John Kenny, with the temporary
head of the civilian side of the United Nations, and the head of
the Red Cross. All meetings were very successful and informative
and the trip was worth every minute. Our meeting with President
Kenny was to bring him up to speed with the recovery efforts so
far and give him some idea of what was needed in the future. We
must now bridge the gap between the acute relief stage, and the
recovery stage. As UNDP Ms. KIM Bolduc, Regional Rep for the United
Nations stated at our meeting, "we cannot fail at this or Haiti
will never be fixed". The challenge is that this period requires
solutions which might only provide temporary relief and will make
the lives of individuals a little better, but must also be consistent
with the long term sustainable recovery plan recommendations derived
from the P ost Disaster National Assessment and ratified at the
United Nations. We would recommend the following priorities be established,
for the near term by Rotary International. Food:
•Seeds (landed next 2 to 3 weeks only due to planting season)
•Beans •Rice •Vegetable oil; Shelter
•Large Tents •30' X 30' through 60' X 60' for classrooms,
recreation areas, •community centers, therapy shelter etc.
•Semi permanent shelter buildings for families •Awnings
to create / build shelters 10' X 10' and up to 30' X 30' •Tents
•Straight sides 6' X 8' to 10' X 12'; Money: •Funds
to allow us to get what's needed when we need it and where we need
to get it from (to buy local or support local production when possible);
Other: •Medical supplies, equipment, and support
•Educational supplies and classroom needs •Physical
Therapy equipment •Prosthetics; Agricultural and Industrial
development - •Tools and supplies for agricultural production
•Equipment and supplies for light industry start ups.
Saturday February 20, 2010 - a delegation
of Rotarians (PRID Barry Rassin and PDG Richard McCombe) along with
the Haitian Ambassador to The Bahamas Louis Harold Joseph (Honorary
Rotarian) and Pilots flew from Nassau, Bahamas to Port au Prince,
Haiti. Our purpose was to visit the epicenter and to meet with the
Rotarian Leaders who have continued working tirelessly to bring
relief to all they can. We were met at the PAP International Airport
by Rotarians from Haiti: PDG Amos Durosier and his wife Arlette,
DGN Dr. Guy Theodore, AG Caleb Lucien, AG Dr. Claude Surena, PP
George Nicolas, and Ted Lazarre. First we met as a group for a briefing
on the current needs in Haiti resulting from the earthquake on January
12 and the 54 subsequent tremors. We then joined the Prime Minister
for Haiti, the Honorable Jean-Max Bellerive, and had a very cordial
accommodating meeting. He expressed his appreciation for what Rotary
has done over many years in Haiti and specifically for what they
continue to do now. He stated that all Haitians know Rotary and
what they do.
4:00pm Monday, February 1st - My daughter talked to Rosie. There’s been no communication with her Mother, Sister or other family members who lived in Port-au-Prince. They fear the worst, and my heart fills with tears…Rotary eClub NY1's D7150 has donated nearly $20,000 to date to RI's TRF DAF Haiti Relief Fund. We need to continue helping our neighbors rebuild their country.
9:00am Friday, January 29th - PDG Marlene Brown, District 7150 Haiti Project Chair, appeared on a local RadioThon to raise additional funds for the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. Brown said, "When you've been there, met those spirited and dedicated Haitian Rotarians, the faces are real and the tragedy is heartfelt".
10:25am Thurs. Jan. 28th, 2010 - "Marlene, a report. A delegation of Rotarians flew from Nassau to Pignon, Haiti yesterday. Our purpose was to meet with the Rotarian Leaders who have working tirelessly to bring relief to all they can. We met at the Hôpital de Pignon which is run by DGN Dr. Guy Theodore. Dr. Guy and AG Caleb Lucien met us at the airport and transported us to the Hospital. AG Dr. Claude Surena flew to Pignon from Port-au-Prince to join us and ensure we understand the present conditions and anticipated short term future needs of the most affected areas. Dr. Surena, Rotary Haiti Disaster Chair & President of the Haitian Medical Assoc, was appointed by President Preval to coordinate the receipt and distribution of all medical relief. His complete involvement into the relief efforts of the country is a great help for us to understand what is happening and what we need to do to assist. The Pignon Rotarians have been coordinating the delivery of items sent in by Rotary to ensure they get to the appropriate people. We only had a few hours as Dr. Surena had to return to meet with President Preval. When the meeting concluded we toured the Hospital which is overloaded with victims from the earthquake and the Hosean Mission housing physicians. Here are primary points made during our meeting: 1.) The Haiti Govt immediately called a State of Emergency to enable an easier more efficient entry of goods & medical personnel into the country; 2.) The acute relief efforts are coming to an end. The next phase will be on fixed clinics, then hospitals as medical care becomes more focused. They are working closely with WHO to get supplies and equipment needed for patient care; 3.) Orthopedic supplies & strong antibiotics are the most urgently needed in the medical area. The Hospitals have been treating and patients are recovering but they have no home to go to. The plan is to put tents up next to the Hospitals in order to provide a step down situation. Not shelter boxes just tents; 4.) Dr. Surena suggested a Rotary project, with other agencies, to establish a Rehab Center for those who need artificial limbs, plus Physical & Occupational Therapy & Counseling. There have been a substantial number of persons with crushed limbs resulting in amputations; 5.) The Port Prince School System has been shut down. Those migrating to unaffected areas of the country are causing an overflow situation. Many children have no schools; 6.) They are in great need for psychological counselors who speak Creole; 7.) Significant Rotary manpower will be needed but not yet. There is probably no more need for Rotary to supply medical teams as other organizations are; 8.) There is an urgent need for Food and water that will continue for some time. They would like to see more staple goods like Rice and Beans. They will need to provide about 150,000 meals per day for many months to come. They are able to buy some of basic food items locally for distribution if they could receive cash donations to do so, which would also help the economy. They need separated & sorted clothes including shoes as they lost all of their possessions; 9.) They understand relief plan needs and will begin that as they can; however they must do all they can to sustain life & develop ability for population to become self sufficient in short term; 10.) They have begun concerted effort to locate all 5 Rotary Club Rotarians affected so we can support & assist them as individuals. They are also victims, have lost everything, need our help. We’re considering purchase of a truck for Rotary to help them move the high volume of supplies from ports/airports to areas. What Rotary sends in aid is received by Rotarians in need; 11.) Rotarians in Haiti greatly appreciate the outpouring of support from Rotary around the world. They are strong and positive and will continue to work to bring their country to the healthy, vibrant productive country that it needs to be; 12.) We ask Rotary Clubs and Districts to work with us to focus on their needs for today, but keep in mind this is a long term relief effort; we will be part of the rebuilding and will need significant cash to participate in meaningful projects. I am proud to be a Rotarian and know Rotary around the world will work side by side with Rotarians in Haiti to bring them to a new and positive era for their country". – Barry Rassin, PRID 2006-08
5:01pm Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - PDG Dick McCombe, Haiti Liason Chair & Co-Chair of District 7020's Haiti Task Force, continues to oversee flights in from the US with medical supplies and setting up meetings with Rotarians in Haiti to determine the direction they should take. District 7020, which includes Haiti, has flown in 55 planes filled with more than 50,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies into the cities of Pignon & Port-de-Paix to bypass logistical problems in the hard-hit capital of Port-au-Prince. DGN Dr. Guy Theodore's Hospital in Pignon is treating hundreds of injured brought in by trucks. AG Caleb Lucien is housing refugee children and cooking dinner for 200 at the Hospital. A day after the earthquake, Caleb, a member of the Rotary Club of Pignon, and nine other Haitians traveled 85 miles south from Pignon to Port-au-Prince to assess the damage and help victims. Haiti Disaster Chair Rotarian Dr. Claude Surena is sheltering more than 100 injured people in his damaged home in Port-au-Prince. His house has become a makeshift hospital and medical distribution center. Past RI Director Barry Rassin, of Nassau, Bahamas, one of the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fimd Account Holders for TRF's DAF is back again in Haiti helping coordinate relief efforts in the country. Rassin was also involved in helping out after the onslaught of hurricanes in Haiti two years ago which left many parts of the island inaccessible, including the port city of Gonaives.
9:45am Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 - Two weeks after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, the numbers have mounted, telling stories of death and destruction, as well as global outpouring of aid. The numbers & the needs: 150,000 latest death estimate; 194,000 injured; 800,000 people need temporary shelter; 50 aftershocks; 300,000 children under 2 need nutritional support; 90 percentage of schools destroyed; $1.12 billion Int'l aid pledges; 17,000 US military personnel helping; 150 flights arriving daily at Port-au-Prince airport with aid. Yesterday, another horrific scene as a taxi was set ablaze to dispose of decomposing bodies trapped inside, causing an unbearable smell. Haitians and rescue and relief crews have struggled to find proper disposal methods for bodies, with thousands of corpses pulled from the rubble and burned, or bulldozed and dumped into open pits. Still, the Haitian people stoically and with great faith and strong spirits start the process of rebuilding their lives.
10:15am Monday January 25th, 2010
- Dear PDG Marlene, Thank you very much for all you are doing. One
Love - DG Errol Alberga, District 7020 (which includes Haiti) ~
Dear DG Erroll Alberga – a part of my heart has resided in
Haiti since our visit there to attend the 2008 District Assembly
and work on getting our MG written. Please keep me posted on your
meetings and progress. To date, our District 7150 Rotarians have
donated $14,000 to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. I will keep
doing all we can do on this end, and look forward to once again
seeing you in a Haiti we will help rebuild. God Bless & yes,
indeed, One World – Marlene
3:22pm Sunday January 24th - Amidst the debris removal, Haitians sang at makeship church services, and thousands of men, women and children lined up and waited peacefully for their turn as the American and Brazilian troops handed out aid. Americans gave ready-to-eat meals, high-energy biscuits and bottled water. Brazilians gave small bags of uncooked beans, salt, sugar, sardines, and water. The need for medical care, surgery and drugs, still overwhelmed those helping. More than 150,000 quake victims have been buried by the government, not counting those still under the debris or carried off by relatives. The Haitian government is urging many of the estimated 600,000 homeless huddled in open areas in Port-au-Prince to look for better shelter with relatives or others in the countryside, where international experts are searching for sites to erect tent cities. Meanwhile, up to 140 flights a day are regularly arriving at the single-runway airport, compared with 25 in the immediate aftermath of the quake, with humanitarian cargo moved to a forward dispatch area at one end of the runway to relieve congestion. Friday night's star-studded "Hope for Haiti" organizers announced the telethon raised a record-breaking $58 million, with more donations continuing to pour in from around the world, with the "Hope for Haiti Now" album sales still being calculated. My classmate, PDG Dick, is meeting with the Task Force team in Pignon to discuss the current status, and will be meeting with Dr. Claude Surena and the Haiti Rotary Leadership, including PRID Barry, on Wednesday in Port au Prince, as they feel "it is most important we listen to our fellow Rotarians on the ground in Haiti and follow their advice". The District 7020 Rotary Relief initiative is working with the 17 Rotary Clubs in Haiti spread throughout the country.
5:32pm Saturday January 23rd - Shortly after the United Nations announced Haiti's government had declared the search and rescue phase for survivors of the earthquake over, rescuers pulled a 24-year-old man from the ruins of a hotel, 11 days after the 7.0-magnitude quake that leveled much of Port-au-Prince. Aftershocks from the quake have become a way of life for people as they spend their days searching for food, water and shelter. Despite obstacles, the city's south pier was operating, though slowly. The number of unaccompanied children needing support is greater than ability to respond. While information can arrive instantly, people can't work as fast as technology can. Over 100,000 people have been confirmed dead with over 60,000 people left homeless in and around the capital of Port-au-Prince. Fabiola Surena, a 28-year-old U.S. Army staff sergeant studying to be a physician's assistant, and 8 of her relatives and friends flew to the Dominican Republic and traveled by bus to Haiti's capital to assist her parents, Drs. Claude and Yolene Surena. Dr. Claude has been named the country's coordinator for disaster medical care, and Yolene, who worked for Haiti's government, is helping determine which hospitals are running and where more can be set up. Rotary clubs and districts worldwide are mobilizing resources to deliver urgently needed relief to the millions affected. District 7020, which includes Haiti, has flown in 55 planes filled with more than 50,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies into the cities of Pignon and Port-de-Paix to bypass logistical problems in the hard-hit capital. PDG Dick McCombe, Haiti liaison chair reports "We're flying in supplies through backdoor channels, doing things a lot of agencies can't do." The district's Haiti Task Force, set up two years ago to administer all financial aid to the nation, is working with local clubs to deliver aid to Port-au-Prince and the countryside. McCombe says Rotary was in a good position to help in Haiti, with 33 projects already underway to provide water, sanitation, medical care. "We changed from teaching children how to read to saving their lives."
4:01pm Friday January 22nd - An 84-year-old woman was found alive in the rubble. An 11-year-old boy who was rescued after 8 days said, "God helped me." Authorities push to clear earthquake-relief bottlenecks to improve the flow of food, water, medicine and relief supplies at Port-au-Prince's south pier. Haiti's government and aid workers are turning to the task of feeding and sheltering 100's of 1000's of earthquake survivors still living in the capital's rubble-strewn streets and filthy tent cities. As many as 1.5 million Haitians were made homeless by the Jan 12 earthquake that rocked the small Caribbean country, devastating its capital of Port-au-Prince. Raw from ongoing aftershocks, some remain too traumatized to sleep under a roof. Shelter boxes unloaded in Haiti. The Rotary Foundation has established the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, a donor advised fund primarily for U.S. Rotarians who want to donate toward recovery efforts. The fund has raised more than $48,000 so far. A one-time $5 donation to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund can be made by texting ROTARY to 90999. (Rotary eClub NY1's D7150 has donated over $13,000 to date)
4:10pm Thursday January 21st, 2010 - the need within Haiti grows by the minute. After days of being closed to food and supplies, the Port-au-Prince south pier was channeling aid into the leveled capital city. Supplies were brought in on trucks traveling on a repaired gravel road leading from the port. The reopened pier is older and smaller than the north pier, which was rendered unusable by the January 12 earthquake. The south pier was damaged, but Haiti port authorities and the U.S. military were able to put it back in adequate shape, while workers repaired the road leading into the city and laid gravel on it. The U.S. Southern Command conducted an air drop of food and water over Haiti with a C-17 delivering water and 17,200 meals ready to eat meals, the second since the quake. Haiti's government unveiled plans to move 400,000 earthquake victims to new settlements outside the destroyed capital, allowing displaced Haitians help with building their own new homes under a food-for-work plan, allowing them to stay close to the area where they had made a living. Many are now jammed into haphazard camps with no toilets or sleeping outdoors because their homes were destroyed or out of fear that aftershocks (4.8 and 4.9 hit today) would bring down more buildings.
1:42pm Wednesday January 20th, 2010 - A magnitude 6.1 aftershock struck Haiti, shaking more rubble from damaged buildings, sending people running screaming into the streets 8 days after the country's capital was devastated by a 7.0 quake. The hospital ship USNS Comfort arrived this morning in the waters off Port-au-Prince carrying 550 doctors, nurses, medical personnel. With six operating rooms available, it can house up to 1,000 patients. U.S. helicopters will ferry patients aboard, bringing relief to overloaded hospitals/clinics. The woman in her 70s who was rescued from the cathedral rubble yesterday is reported in stable condition in the care of doctors aboard the USS Bataan. As of Mon., more than $210 million in donations had been raised for earthquake relief. The U. S. House of Reps unanimously passed legislation that would allow individuals who make charitable contributions to victims of the Haiti earthquake to claim an itemized charitable deduction on their 2009 tax return.
9:58am Wednesday January 20th, 2010 - PDG Dick McCombe reports that "two flights went out from Nassau today. One went on to Pignon, the home of Caleb Lucien's Ministries and DGN Guy Theodore's Hospital, landing on the grass strip there. Caleb was in Cap Haitien clearing the flights in and his wife received the flight in Pignon. Caleb has loaded up one of his big school busses and a truck and is making a run into PaP. The supplies will be sent to Rotarian Dr. Claude Surena in PaP to allocate where needed. We have sent approximately 50,000 lbs of medical supplies so far. PRID Barry has a full size gym at the Western Medical Clinic in Nassau". God Bless the D7020 Rotarians working hard for Haiti.
7:15pm Tuesday January 19th, 2010 - Earlier today, scores of U.S. troops landed on the lawn of Haiti's shattered presidential palace to the cheers of quake victims eager for food, water and shelter in their devastated country. A woman, believed to be in her 70s, was rescued today from rubble near the national cathedral in Port-au-Prince, seven days after the earthquake struck, saying "Thank God, thank God." To date, we have raised over $7,000 from our District for the Haiti Relief Fund.
8:55am Tuesday January 19th, 2010 - Rotary International unveiled the 2010-11 Theme: "Building Communities Bridging Continents" - so very apropro to what's going on in Haiti. As Rotarians, we get involved in service above self through projects in our own local communities, and also get involved in international projects - building that better world.
7:57pm Monday January 18th, 2010 - I just returned from the wake and closing service of Doug, a lifelong friend of my son's. As I sat through the service, memories flooded my mind as the spirit of the music filled the room. I watched Doug's mother, singing with the spiritual music, ever mindful of her grandson who sat nearby. My mind flew to Haiti where I knew Haitians were mourning, not in a beautiful funeral parlor with a 'proper burial' but forced to carry their dead loved ones to mass graves. Funeral rites are among the most sacred of all ceremonies to Haitians as convening with the dead is what allows them to link themselves to a pre-slave past. You had to have met them to know the depth of the Haitian native spirituality. Haiti needs pride and hope for healing, as they take shelter in living spiritual powers that are part of their land and their people. Haitians need to see that other human beings are in heartfelt solidarity with them, and will help them build a better future from this tragedy, as all tragedies are opportunities for better futures. While we have jobs that require our attention, and families we willingly give our precious time to, we're all part of this world. My ceiling didn't collapse on me, and thank God my children weren't killed by falling rubble, and clean cold water runs from my tap. While my physical body is far from the suffering Haitian's, my mind and spirit are involved, as is almost every other human being on this planet. It cannot be otherwise; a human tragedy anywhere is everyone's tragedy.
2:45pm Sunday January 17th, 2010 - Dr. Claude Surena, a Haitian doctor, has taken 100 earthquake patients into his home near the center of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. A pediatrician, he's running a triage center with two other doctors and said, "It was a blessing from God my house is safe." Dr. Surena, the local district chairman for Haiti's disaster relief agency (DRRAG) tells the media that Rotary International has pledged to send supplies including shelter boxes for the patients, and he expects more doctors to come. See photo below - Marlene (Zone DRRAG Coord.)
12:13pm Sunday January 17th, 2010 - That’s such wonderful good news, Barry. PDG Amos does so much for the Haitian people, especially in the Port-au-Prince area. Meeting the Rotarians in Haiti has brought them into our hearts forever. Thank you so much for sharing. - Marlene; Thanks Marlene, Amos and Arlette are okay. I don't have details but I do know they are okay. - Barry, RI Past Director; Barry, Dick & Guy, in addition to our D7150 donations, we’re donating proceeds from makeups on our Rotary eClub NY1 website to the Haiti Relief effort and our eClub is donating $1 for every person visiting our Children’s Museum (our eClub’s earthly headquarters). Any news yet on Amos & his wife? – Marlene
10:05am Sunday January 17th, 2010 - This morning, despite the devastation, people at a service in a makeshift sanctuary are dressed in their Sunday best, standing on the dirt. Faith has long played a powerful role in this impoverished nation, giving hope to the poor. At night, joyful musical voices in lyric Creole rise in the street in a symphony of hope in a landscape of despair. Rescuers pulled a dehydrated but otherwise uninjured woman from the ruins of Hotel Montana early this morning, greeted with applause as rare good news in a city otherwise filled with corpses, rubble and desperation. The NYPD-FDNY team pulled an additional man out from the grocery store rubble and say more are alive there. However, for many, the five days since the magnitude quake hit have turned into a sad wait for food, water and medical care slowly making its way from an overwhelmed airport. "The ground was lifting me up," survivors say.
6:32pm Saturday January 16th, 2010 - As we view the horror and await news of missing Haitien Rotarians we traveled with when we were there for our Rotary project, we resolutely continue the quest of raising funds to contribute. Proceeds from Donations to Makeups on our website will be sent to the Haiti Relief Fund. Some people are being rescued alive, days after the earthquake, a stunned toddler rescued from the rubble of his home became a symbol of hope for quake battered Haiti. People are donating millions to the relief effort. U.S. troops are handing out meals in Port-au-Prince in the first American food aid distributed in Haiti since Tues's earthquake. U. N. troops are handing out water. The top two civilian officials at the U.N. mission in Haiti were killed in the earthquake. The U.S. Southern Command has 24 helicopters flying relief missions, many from warships off the coast. Every inch of floor space at hospitals set up is occupied with individuals suffering from traumatic, severe injuries. Aide and medical resources are trickling in. The U.S. Navy ship Comfort, a floating hospital fully staffed with doctors and nurses, is on its way to Haiti. In the heavily damaged downtown, a massive bulldozer fills with decomposing bodies headed for a morgue and immediate burial. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed in Port-au-Prince, met with Haitian President Preval and Prime Minister Bellerive. President Obama announced that former Presidents Clinton (the U.N. special envoy to Haiti) and George W. Bush will lead an effort to raise funds for Haiti.
12:16pm Friday January 15th, 2010 - as donations pour in from our district, let me share some personal feelings on why this has hit me so hard. It's all about the children... As District Governor in 2007-2008, I chose Haiti and India as the two countries I wanted to do Matching Grant projects in. Why? India is a democracy in a troubled area of the world. Our visit to our project there was such a warm and wonderfully rewarding event. Haiti, also a democracy, is the poorest country in our Western hemisphere, so close to our U.S. shores. Our trip there in 2008 to begin a MG project found me among some wonderfully warm, proud people, who shared what they had so willingly with others in deeper need than they. My memories run deep, including discussions made possible by Haitien Rotarians who willingly, without being asked, translated the French Creole to English for our understanding at their District Assembly; of the camarderie formed as we traveled by four-wheelers & small prop planes; of the folk stories and songs shared by them at an evening celebration under an open pavilion lit by lanterns; of the smiles over a bottle of beer that transcended communication barriers. Our team of 3 from our Rotary eClub representing D7150, came back changed forever. The flight back, as I held a Haitien baby so her Mom could get some sleep, took me back to several years ago when two of my grandchildren were little, and their Nanny, Rosie, who had come to this country from Port au Prince, Haiti with her 3 year old daughter, took such wonderful loving care of them. They need our help, so badly... with 85% of Haitians already living in desperate poverty, Now hospitals in ruin, dire shortages of even basic necessities, and no way to find out whether family members are alive, the Haitian people urgently need our help. As Rotarians whose motto is Service Above Self, we must help in any way we can...and we must move quickly and resolutely.
9:22am Friday January 15th, 2010 - Major networks report the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is off-shore in Haiti, carrying 19 helicopters and 30 pallets of relief goods, 82nd Airborne is on the ground in Port-au-Prince mobilizing their troops. U. N. & U. S. forces are securing the streets and coordinating the aid efforts; resources are starting to move with the the U. S. Southern Command leading the effort in the race against time to reach the survivors. U.S. military air traffic controllers scrambling to keep earthquake aid flowing into the Haitian capital without the use of a control tower or radar, amid struggles over fuel and tarmac space. Aid workers hoping to distribute food, water and supplies need more security as Haitians grow increasingly desperate for help. Dominican Republic moving kitchen ovens across the border into Haiti. Cuba is allowing the US to use its airspace to fly medical evacuation flights from Haiti. Americans are trapped in Hotel Montana rubble; Bulldozers are used to move bodies; 20 nations sending planeloads of aid; people being buried in mass graves; Haitians in need of water & food; Haitien President is living homeless. The living and the dead share the same space - sidewalks, public plazas, hospitals, frightened of being inside in case another earthquake hits. The needs are so great...Clean water is the key to stopping the spread of disease...
7:25am Friday January 15th, 2010 - Marlene, we are OK in Pignon. Loads of Trauma patients are coming to the Hospital in Pignon coming from Port-au-Prince. We are busy helping out. Amos should be OK - PDG Guy (Co-Chair Haiti Task Force); 8:25am Jan. 15th - Guy, so good to hear from you and know you’re okay! Know you’re working hard on the ground. Am hoping that Amos is okay. We’re working hard on this end to get financial aid to the project as I know you’ll need help for months and years to come. My heart is with my Haitian Rotary friends & my prayers that God look over you all as you continue. With the very warmest of Rotary regards, Marlene
7:15am Friday January 15th, 2010 - Dear PDG Brown, I am joining the sorrow of the sad disaster in Haiti. Hats off to your great efforts to help Humanity in despair in Haiti. Hope our Rotary volunteers in Haiti are safe. Please let me know if you require any doctors to be sent to Haiti. -PDG Kuriachan, India. 8:15am Jan. 15th - Dear PDG Kuriachan – thank you for caring. I will forward your email to a doctor in Haiti who has been working on the ground there since the earthquake hit and ask how we go about getting doctors in who want to help. The sadness is overwhelming. India & Haiti remain so near and dear to my heart. – Marlene
5:21pm Thursday Jan. 14th, 2010 - Marlene, We have checked on most of our Rotarian Leaders and most are in shock but okay and working hard to help other people. We should be very proud of them and what they are doing. However, we still have had no word on PDG Amos Durosier and at this point are concerned. - Barry, RI Director 2006-08, The Caribbean Partnership ~ Thanks, Barry, for letting me know. I’ll send special prayers upward for PDG Amos, of the Rotary Club of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Memories are still fresh of our flying with he and his wife on the small propeller plane from Port au Prince to Jeremie for the District Assembly. What lovely warm people, as were all the proud hard-working Haitiens we came to know. Having been amongst you all, Earl & I & Brad (from our Rotary eClub D7150 Haiti Project team) are feeling the crisis deeply. That said, I know those of you involved, and my classmate, Dick, will do the very best you can. I’ve already had nearly $2,000 in donations pledged to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. God Bless you all & please do keep me posted. - Marlene
3:25pm Thursday Jan. 14th, 2010 - Rotary International has posted the Haiti Earthquake Relief DAF announcement on their website at www.rotary.org/haiti - While I am sad beyond belief, as we still have not been able to make contact with our Rotarian friends in Haiti to know who’s safe and who isn’t, I'm glad to be able to relay the news on how Rotarians can help. – Marlene
3:15pm Jan. 14th, 2010 - "Roads full of hungry, homeless people or corpses. A ruined port and an overwhelmed airport. Hundreds of crumpled buildings and little heavy machinery. Few working phones" - MSNBC. "The vast majority of downtown Port-au-Prince is a mess of dead bodies, rebar and concrete," reports a CNN journalist. Rescue crews came face to face with the stench of death in Haiti's quake-battered capital as they began the horrendous task of pulling survivors from rubble, providing food and water to the homeless, and treating thousands of injured. Piles of bodies were lined up on the sides of roads. Thousands are living on the streets. Roads leading from the dock into town were buckled 5 feet high, and large cargo ships can't dock at the city's damaged port. Currently, roads in Haiti are impassable, the main port is badly damaged, communications are just beginning to come online, and aftershocks continue. Even as rescue efforts move as quickly as possible, it will take hours and days to get all the resources on the ground. Rubble-strewn roads, downed trees and a battered communications network hamper humanitarian groups trying to get supplies to victims. The Haitian government has halted flights into the Port-au-Prince airport for now because ramp space is too crowded, and there is no fuel, an FAA spokeswoman said. Rescue efforts have become top priority around the globe. President Obama announced $100 million in aid, saying, "This is one of those moments that calls for American leadership. I can report that the first waves of our rescue and relief workers are on the ground and at work. To the people of Haiti, America stands with you. The world stands with you." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US was working to restore communications, and U.S. Marines were bringing heavy equipment to help clear streets. The quake affected roughly one in three Haitians, so strong that it was felt in Cuba. The United Nations announced $10 million in aid; the World Bank pledged $100 million.
10:16 a.m. Jan. 14th, 2010 - President Obama said Thursday the U.S. military has secured Haiti's main airport, which can now receive relief workers. From the White House, President Obama said to Haitians: "You will not be forsaken. You will not be forgotten." Contingents of U.S. experts from agencies and the military began touching down in Haiti on Thursday. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States is providing a communications network to shore up the battered Haitian government infrastructure. Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, are to begin leaving for Haiti today, and are expected to arrive in Haiti before nightfall. The Dominican Republic was the first country to give aid to Haiti in the aftermath of Tuesday's devastating earthquake. By the end of today, a total of five Spanish aid planes are due to land at the Haitian capital, carrying humanitarian aid and rescue and medical personnel. Haitian airspace was opened today to charitable organizations. Rescue teams with sniffer dogs, doctors with food and medical supplies are arriving from Israel, China, Chile, Argentina. United Nations Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner committed $1 million to address the most urgent humanitarian and re-construction needs in Haiti. The New York Yankees announced a donation of $500,000 in support of rescue and relief efforts. The Jolie-Pitt Foundation announced it would contribute $1 million to Doctors Without Borders emergency medical operations. Former U.S. President and U.N. Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton urged people to donate to his Clinton Haiti foundation. Search-and-rescue teams from the U.S. prepared to head to Haiti. France, Haiti's former colonial ruler, dispatched two planeloads of rescue personnel. Cuba sent an additional doctors and medical supplies, AmeriCares is sending $3 million worth of medical aid to Haiti. The World Health Organization is sending a team to Haiti to help with the medical response. The World Food Programme is immediately airlifting tons of food from its emergency hub in El Salvador. PRID Rassin reports, The Rotary International DAF should be set up within hours. Agencies, celebrities and charities worldwide have mobilized relief efforts.
9:25am Jan. 14th, 2010 - DRRAG Chair PRID John Eberhard contacted R. I. President John Kenny: "With your help RIDE John Smarge and PDG/PRID Barry Rassin are assisting the process of setting up a Donor Advised Fund for Haiti in our Rotary Foundation. We are looking forward to details on this so that DRRAG can encourage its members to donate funds through this single source. District 7020 has Rotarians on the ground providing water, food, and rescue operations. Communication is possible with satellite phones—purchased for this very reason. The 64 Rotary Clubs in D4060 in the Dominican Republic are making arrangements to have Rotary truck convoys move across the frontier to immediately respond to the expanding need for consumer goods (water, medicines, shelter, first aid supplies, shelter), even though transportation in Haiti is difficult".
9:00am Jan. 14th, 2010- CNN reports: "With the first of its flights touching down in earthquake-devastated Haiti, the U.S. began deploying military plane, ships and ground troops to the Caribbean nation, carrying an assessment team which arrived at Port-au-Prince airport 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, to get the airport working where it can handle all the flights coming in from around the world filled with people and supplies to help the victims of the quake. The U.S. Southern Command is leading the Dept of Defense's response. Gen. Keen, deputy commander, was in Haiti when the quake struck and has seen the situation at the airport. He says 'the runway is functional, but the tower doesn't have communications capability. The passenger terminal ... has structural damage to it, a group is going in to make sure they can gain and secure the airfield and operate from it, because that's one of those locations we're going to have a lot of the immediate effort from an international basis going into'. Gen. Fraser ordered the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to steam toward Haiti with supplies. The carrier is able to provide needed helicopters for lifting aid from the ship into the country as well as moving construction equipment to places where the machines are needed to clear rubble. The U.S. Navy also activated the hospital ship USNS Comfort on Wednesday. Southern Command has ordered a unit of about 2,000 Marines to head to Haiti. The Marines will deploy aboard a large deck amphibious ship, which would give the military more helicopters to work with in Haiti. It also has a large medical facility that could help with treating the injured. The Army said a brigade of roughly 3,500 members of the 82nd Airborne Division is on notice that they may soon be sent to Haiti".
8:25am Thursday January 14th, 2010 - Communication breakdown in Haiti leaves people around world anxious over the fate of their friends and loved ones. With few phone calls going through in the Caribbean nation in the aftermath of Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude quake, people are communicating by texting and online communication. Video images captured just moments after the earthquake in Haiti show dust-covered survivors rushing through the streets, yelling in terror. Other trapped in buildings are seen punching out debris and bricks, and shouting for help and trying to squeeze themselves out through cracks in the structures. The faithful pray for relief, for mercy, for safety as aftershocks continue to rumble across Haiti.
10:20pm Jan. 13th, 2010
- The first U. S. ship arrives in Haiti as massive American relief
operations get underway - devastation greeted the first Coast Guard
cutter crew to pull into Port-au-Prince on Wednesday. The landscape
is described as "catastrophic destruction". The United
Nations is rushing food, personnel and medical supplies to alleviate
the "major humanitarian emergency."Rotarians around the
world are mobilizing to send aid. The Rotary Foundation will be
establishing a donor advised fund for U.S. Rotarians who want to
donate to help with long-term recovery. RI President John Kenny
and Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Glenn Estess have sent a joint
letter conveying Rotary's condolences to victims of the quake and
asking for more information on how Rotarians can help. While dead
bodies are everywhere, rescuers are still finding survivors under
the rubbage; Intl Red Cross says one third of Haiti's 9 million
people may need relief aid. God Bless these proud, hard working,
warm people so close to our shores, yet seemingly so far away at
this hour. - PDG Marlene
9:25pm Jan. 13th, 2010
Haiti - Summery for the Day from PDG Dick McCombe By: John Eberhard
- Dear Fellow Rotarians, This is the most tragic situation you can
imagine. The support from Rotary and the world has really stepped
up. Here is a brief summary of where we are after 24 hours: We have
communicated by Satellite Phone or e-mail to most of our Haiti Task
Force Team. The situation is so grave they are not yet in a position
to move or check on others. At this point our priorities are as
follows: we are asking for money first and will have a Foundation
DAF account available tomorrow. I have also spoken to Rotary in
the DR and there is a possibility that we can buy goods and services
in the DR and Truck them to PaP. Secondly we are working on getting
shelter, Shelter Boxes, we have approximately 500 organized to start.
We desperately need medicine and food. We need clean water and have
100 Water Boxes on their way from England. Additional water purification
and supply will be necessary as we go forward. Our Haiti Task Force
ROTAH N.G.O. has funded immediate relief for the few that it can
reach. We need another day or two to have our Rotarians to tell
us what they feel they want us to do. Rotarian Claude our Haiti
Disaster Chair is our primary contact on this and is working closely
with the Government of Haiti and Red Cross on our behalf. God Bless
him. By 7:00 PM last night he had over 100 injured people in his
yard and was out of food, blankets and space. Please pray for Haiti
and give something in support. Your fellow Haitien Rotarians will
get it to where it will serve best. Thank You - PDG Dick
Jan. 13th, 2010 - Marlene,
You may have met Ted L when you were down. He is an AG. He managed
a two minute call on his Sat phon to PDG Dick before he got cut
off. He is in the street outside the Palace, lost his house, lost
his business and with his wife and child doesn't know what to do.
My heart breaks for this good person and he is just one of thousands.
- RIPD Barry R
Tuesday, January 13th, 2010 - As a PDG, and Co-Chair of our Rotary
District's Haiti Project, I've been in email contact with our Rotary
colleagues in the Haiti area, and DRRAG (the Disaster Relief Rotarian
Action Group), all of whom are working together to coordinate support
efforts for our friends in Haiti.
The Presidential Palace (which is half way up the hill on one of
the very few roads in Port au Prince) and the 5-story U. N. building,
as well as the Hotel Montana (the 4 star hotel at the top of the
hill, where we stayed), & their hospital are all in ruins. The
few hospitals left standing are overwhelmed with wounded. Corpses
litter the streets and the air is thick with the dust of crumbled
concrete. People are praying and crying in the midst of collapsed
walls and rubble and barbed wire. Bodies
are piled up. The phone lines are down & communication cut so
don’t know yet if all the Rotarians involved in our Haiti
project are safe. Haitiens
had survived the devastating hurricane season of 2008, and Carnival
was approaching. Then Port-au-Prince was hit by the country’s
worst earthquake in 240 years. As search and rescue continues, we
fear for the lives of many of these people, living in the poorest
country in our hemisphere, so near to our shores. But we look to
helping those God spared, in any way we can. If
you wish to donate to this project, which I'm sure will be ongoing
for weeks and months, at least, email
your Club & District name, and the amount your Club would like
to donate, earmarked for a Disaster Fund through The Rotary Foundation
which is being set up by that area’s Past Rotary Int’l
Director Rassin for cash donations to enable organizations to bring
in the basic necessities of water, food, & medicine to aid in
search and rescue efforts begun in Haiti. The
Haitien people are survivors, they just need our help. Thanks for
caring & sharing – Marlene
SOME HISTORY OF HAITI: In the 1700's, labor for plantations was provided by African slaves. In the late 1700's, Haitiens revolted, the slaves were freed, then in the early 1800's the French tried restore slavery and brutalized Haitiens. In 1803, war resumed between France and Britain, and in order to concentrate on the war in Europe, Napoleon signed the Louisiana Purchase in April, selling France's North American possessions to the United States. In 1804 independence was declared. Haiti is the world's oldest black republic and the second-oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere, after the United States. Haiti actively assisted the independence movements of many Latin American countries. The Constitution of 1867 saw peaceful and progressive transitions in government that did much to improve the economy and stability of the Haitian nation and the condition of its people. This period of relative stability and prosperity ended in 1911 when revolution broke out and the country slid once again into disorder and debt. In 1915, a dictatorship was formed in Haiti. The United States occupied the country until 1934 and while some problems occurred, reforms were carried out, currency was reformed and the debt stabilized. Corruption was reduced. Public health, education, and agricultural development were greatly improved. In the years following, several coups occurred, and the Great Depression decimated the prices of Haiti's exports, destroying the tenuous gains of the previous decade. From 1986 to early 1988 Haiti was ruled by a provisional military government. In 1994, President Bill Clinton dispatched a negotiating team led by former President Jimmy Carter to persuade the authorities to step aside and allow for the return of constitutional rule. With intervening troops already airborne, top leaders agreed to step down. Elections were held in June 1995. Anti-Protests in January 2004 led to violent clashes in Port-au-Prince. In February, a revolt broke out, the rebellion began to spread, and Cap-Haïtien, Haiti's second-largest city, was captured. On February 29, 2004, with rebel contingents marching towards Port-au-Prince, dictator Aristide departed from Haiti. The government was taken over by supreme court chief Boniface Alexandre. The United Nations Security Council was petitioned for the intervention of an international peacekeeping force. 1,000 U.S. Marines arrived in Haïti within the day, and Canadian and French troops arrived the next morning. June 1, 2004, the peacekeeping mission was passed and comprised a 7000 strength force led by Brazil and backed by Argentina, Chile, Jordan, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Spain, Sri Lanka, and Uruguay. Brazilian forces led the United Nations peacekeeping troops in Haiti composed of United States, France, Canada, and Chile deployments. After Aristide's overthrow, the violence in Haiti continued, despite the presence of peacekeepers. In the midst of the ongoing controversy and violence, however, the interim government planned legislative and executive elections. After being postponed several times, these were held in February 2006. The elections were won by René Préval, who had a strong following among the poor, with 51% of the votes. Préval took office in May 2006 and is the current president of Haiti. In the spring of 2008, Haitians demonstrated against rising food prices, the few main roads on the island were blocked with burning tires and the airport at Port au Prince was closed. On January 12, 2010, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake, with massive destruction and deaths.
FURTHER HISTORY: Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti, is home to about 2 million people, many of whom live in poorly constructed shanties. 80% of its 9 million residents live in poverty. Haiti covers the western third of the island of Hispaniola, which lies between Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea. It shares a border with the Dominican Republic. Most of Haiti is mountainous, and the country’s name comes from a native word that means “high ground.” Much of Haiti has been deforested, the wood from the remaining trees is used mainly to make charcoal for fuel, and heavy rains often cause flooding and mudslides. In 2009, four weeks of storms led to flooding in Port-au-Prince that left more than 800 dead. In 1492, Christopher Columbus was the first European to reach the island, which he named Hispaniola. After two centuries of rule by Spain, France took control of what would become Haiti and named it Saint Domingue. Haiti is the second-oldest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere after the United States. In 1791, slaves rebelled against the plantation owners and Toussaint L’Ouveture, a form slave, took control and wrote a constitution. Napoleon I sent an army to try to put down the rebellion, but lost in 1804. Since 1804, a succession of 70 dictators ruled until President Wilson sent Marines to Haiti in 1915 to restore order. U. A. Forces occupied Haiti for nearly 20 years. More dictators and coups followed, however, and in 1994 U. S. Troops returned to restore to power President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who won Haiti’s first free election in 1990. Haiti’s military has been the dominant force in Haiti’s political history since former slaves rebelled and won independence from France in 1804. Dictators and military strongmen held sway over Haiti for more than a century. After a period of relative peace under U. S. Occupation in the early part of the 20th century. Haitian army officers seized power from a weak government in 1946. In 1957, Francois Duvalier was elected president and later declared himself president for life. In 1971, he transferred power to his son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who was just 19 years old. He held on to power for 15 years before a revolt forced him to flee the country. A new constitution and free elections followed, but stability remained elusive. After a chaotic tenure in officer, former Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide cut short his term as president in 2004. Rene Garcia Preval was elected president in 2006. Economy: Many of Haiti’s 9 million people are subsistence farmers. Agricultural products are a chief export. Sugar was once the nation’s biggest cash export, but declining prices and international competition have decimated that industry. Cheap labor has attracted some foreign investors, and clothing exports made up two-thirds of Haiti’s export earnings in 2008. However, decades of political and social unrest have resulted in stagnant economic development. There is an acute shortage of arable land, made worse by erosion from deforestation. Aid from other countries, international charities and the United Nations is essential not only to future economic development, but also to day-to-day survival for millions of impoverished Haitians. Security: Dictators and strongmen have long held on to power in Haiti with the muzzle of a gun and through intimidation by violent street gangs. In 1995, President Clinton ordered U. S. Troops to restore order in Haiti after four years of chaso following the nation’s first free election. President Aristide held on to power until rebellions and unrest forced him to flee Haiti in 2004. Since then, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti has kept the peace. In 2006, newly elected President Rene Garcia Preval asked U. N. Forces to crack down on street gangs that controlled Port au Prince.
Marlene B. Brown, PDG
Click here to Read about our Trip to and Project in Haiti.
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Rotary eClub NY1 * Updated 2010