In the wake of the catastrophe that struck near Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti, my thoughts and prayers go out to those who are searching for loved ones and family members as well as those who may not have survived this horrific event. I hope that for those who live in my district who may have family in Haiti find that their loved ones are safe and unharmed. The earthquake that struck the southern portion of Haiti on the evening of January 12, 2010 was one of the worse natural disasters ever to hit the island, and help and aid in all forms are desperately needed.
During unfortunate events such as this it is imperative that our community come together to support our neighbors and fellow residents who may be searching and, in the worse cases, grieving for family members. Up to 3 million people may have been affected by this disaster many without food, clothing, water, electricity, and most importantly a place to call home. It is extremely important that we keep everyone who may be affected by this tragedy in our minds and hearts.
If you are searching or worried about a family member who may have been in the earthquake you may call the Haitian- Americans United for Progress, Inc. at 718.527.3776 and the U.S. State Department Operations Center at 1-888-407-4747. There is also a Facebook group called EARTHQUAKE HAITI if you’re looking for loved ones. The website www.cnn.com, in addition to others, is allowing people to upload photos of family members as well as any relevant information about them to help expedite the search and rescue process.
Many United States and International Agencies are being deployed to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to help combat the extremely grave conditions many of the residents are in. The American Red Cross, UNICEF, Oxfam, International Medical Corps, The Salvation Army, and many others are accepting donations to help provide clean water, medical supplies, food, and water to the distressed people in Port-Au-Prince and surrounding areas. President Obama was the first person to pledge support and disaster relief to Haiti on behalf of the United States and subsequent countries have followed such as France, China, and the Dominican Republic.
The citizens of Port-au-Prince and surrounding towns need a wealth of help and compassion from everyone in the international community. We all must play a role in lending a helping hand to those who need it most. In the darkness that many have encountered, know that there is light and help arriving. It is when adversity rises, do we truly know the extent of our inner strength and compassion. I hope that those residing in my district, throughout America, and in Haiti searching for loved ones, know that our prayers and condolences will continually be with them.
Shirley L. Huntley
New York State Senator
10th Senatorial District