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Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Jeremy Collymore, has reiterated the region’s commitment to offer “appropriate and targeted” support to Haiti over the long-term.
Speaking to journalists yesterday (Jan.22) via satellite from Barbados, Mr. Collymore noted that Jamaica would continue to lead CARICOM’s efforts in its role as the CDEMA Sub-Regional Focal Point (SRFP) with responsibility for Haiti.
CARICOM has chosen to focus its aid in the area of health, and Mr. Collymore informed that about 350 CARICOM nationals are currently in Haiti helping with the relief efforts.
He said that in the last 48 hours, members of the medical team had delivered more than 400 treatments and 30 surgeries, including amputations. The team has also, since being in Haiti, rescued three persons alive, while recovering several bodies.
“In terms of emergency supplies, though we have not quantified it, several shipments of water, emergency blankets, health materials, like pharmaceuticals, etc., have been moved into the area,” he told journalists.
CDEMA is also responding to airlift challenges by placing an aircraft in Jamaica to help move some of the emergency personnel and supplies into Haiti, while another aircraft donated by Bermuda will periodically airlift supplies out of Jamaica to Haiti. Mr. Collymore also informed that it is expected that by Monday (Jan. 25) 15 per cent of the port in the Haitian capital will be repaired to allow some access by sea.
“On the ground, the damage to the infrastructure is already impeding people’s ability to move around. These are some of the issues that the Community is now looking at with respect of our own resources and already, plans are in place to identify a barge or some large vessel to move heavy vehicles and fuel into the operating area,” he told journalists.
CARICOM has also enhanced its presence in Haiti with a Special Co-ordinator appointed by CDEMA, who is working with the Haiti Civil Defence Protection, and the CARICOM security forces, international donors and the humanitarian community on the ground, to ensure sustained and effective co-ordination of the CARICOM relief efforts.
Mr. Collymore also informed that eight CARICOM countries have together contributed US$4 million towards relief efforts.
Meanwhile, four Caribbean nationals, who were in Haiti for a civil aviation meeting, remain unaccounted for. Two of them are from the Netherland Antilles, one from St. Lucia and the other from Trinidad and Tobago. They were all staying at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, which experienced massive damage from the earthquake.

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