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Rotarians Join Effort To Aid Haiti

OSWEGO, NY – Rotary clubs around the world, including those in Oswego/Fulton area, are joining the relief effort for Haiti.

A magnitude 7 earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12 at 5 p.m. with devastating results. (See http://news.bbc.co.uk/ for details.)

The staggering death toll in affected areas has not yet been determined.

The earthquake has left much of the tiny country in ruins.
The earthquake has left much of the tiny country in ruins. (Photo from the Rotary website)

“I’ve been in communication with our Rotary colleagues in the Haiti area and with DRRAG (the Disaster Relief Rotarian Action Group),” said Joette Deane, Rotary International’s assistant governor for this region. “All of them are working together to coordinate support efforts for our friends in Haiti.”

Haiti, a nation of 9 million people, is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

It is about the size of Maryland and is on the western half of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic.

If any individual wishes to donate to this project, they can contact one of the local Rotary clubs and let them know the amount you would like to donate, along with what you’d like your donation earmarked for.

There is a need for just about everything.

A disaster fund, through The Rotary Foundation, is being set up by that area’s past Rotary International Director for cash donations to enable organizations to bring in the basic necessities of water, food, and medicine to aid in search and rescue efforts begun in Haiti, she added.

“I’ve been told, via email from Rotary contacts, that the Presidential Palace (which is halfway up the hill on one of the very few roads in Port au Prince) and the five-story U. N. building, as well as the Hotel Montana and their hospital are all in ruins,” Deane said. “People are praying and crying in the midst of collapsed walls and rubble and barbed wire. Bodies are piled up everywhere. I don’t know yet if all the Rotarians involved in our Haiti project are safe.”

The relief effort will likely be ongoing for several months at least.

The death toll continues to rise following the earthquake and several aftershocks. (Photo from the Rotary website)
The death toll continues to rise following the earthquake and several aftershocks. (Photo from the Rotary website)

“The phone lines are down and communication cut. 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,” Deane said. “But we look to help those God spared, in any way we can.”

According to Marlene Brown, Internet Comm Officer for Rotary District 7150, there’s information and pictures at http://www.rotaryeclubny1.com/HaitiProject.htm

There is also information on how to help on the Pure Water for the World website, with a blog for persons contacting others in the country to gain whereabouts of loved ones, Deane said, adding, “All our water projects have been with Pure Water for the World.”

The site is www.Purewaterforheworld.org

Rev. George Reed, a member of Oswego’s Sunrise Rotary Club, noted the American Baptist International Ministries is among the myriad agencies providing relief.

American Baptist missionary families serving in Haiti with International Ministries were in the United States at the time, according to a press release from IM.

$25,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds will be made immediately available to the Haitian Baptist Convention, IM’s partner in Haiti.

International Ministries, along with its HBC partners, is conducting an assessment of the crisis.

For updates, check www.internationalministries.org