Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Brooklyn Response to Haiti Disaster

The aftermath of the one-minute, 7.0 earthquake that toppled such towns as Port-au-Prince and Jacmel, has the world rushing to provide rescue assistance to Haiti. Brooklyn Borough Hall was the place for the January 15, 2010 Haiti Earthquake Relief meeting. Co-hosts included Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Deputy Borough President Yvonne Graham, the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Council Member Mathieu Eugene was overcome with grief while discussing steps to assist the Haitian nation. A Haitian-American nurse presented herself and a group of Creole-speaking nurses as eager First Responders. Her frustration was not being able to secure a flight out to Haiti for her group.

A call for temporary status for up to one year for undocumented Haitians currently residing in the United States was made by Bill de Blasio. Similarly, Council Member Jumaane Williams urged US President Barack Obama to sign an executive order for protective status from deportation to Haiti.

Juxtaposed beside handling the remains of tens of thousands of people is the medical treatment and other services to the survivors. Haiti's high youth population is a particular consideration. "50% of Haitians are under thirty years of age," stated Council Member Letitia James, "39% of that amount is under the age of 15 years." James advanced working to relocate these young survivors to their relatives in the United States and adoption for others.

Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Roy Hastick announced that a SUNY Downstate trauma vehicle would be parked at the Flatbush Caton Market that day from 2:00 - 6:00 PM to provide trauma intervention for residents and visitors who are impacted by the disaster.

The most effective assistance the public can give is financial contributions to trusted nonprofits such as the Red Cross. The USAID's website www.usaid.gov has a list of NGOs and instructions on how to help.

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