JIS News

After March 5 this year, the focus of CARICOM in earthquake ravaged Haiti will shift from relief efforts to recovery interventions and longer term contributions.
This was announced by Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Jeremy Collymore, at a press conference, held at the Norman Manley International Airport on February 6, shortly after a CARICOM mission returned from Haiti, where members of the delegation met with President Rene Preval, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health.
The press conference was held to outline CARICOM’s assistance to Haiti so far, plans for the future and to update Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who has just returned from an official visit to the People’s Republic of China.
Mr. Collymore pointed out that by March 5, “we are sure that the framework and action for the longer term commitment in Haiti will be well underway.”
“At that time the focus will be shifted from relief and emergency care to looking at some recovery interventions and longer term contributions, commitments and solutions, such as health interventions,” he told journalists.
Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr. Edwin Carrington, who was also a member of the mission to Haiti, emphasised that the March 5 date would not mean a removal of the Community from that country. “It is a turning of the type of activities that we will be involved in,” he explained.
Commenting on the assistance provided by CARICOM to date, Mr. Collymore informed that more than 3,000 persons have been given first treatment by doctors, with several repeats; there have been more than 200 major operations; 15 search and rescue missions; and the moving of 95 tonnes of tinned food, 41 tonnes of water and four tonnes of medical supplies.
Additionally, the Executive Director said that approximately 40 containers of food supplies, which have been collected from across the Community through national and civil society co-ordination, would be sent to the Haiti.
“One key area of the support to Haiti that we think is making a difference is the technical assistance in helping to establish a relief distribution system. There will be house management, as well as guidelines for the many camps that have been established. In fact, that has allowed the government of Haiti to now say to the international donors that they want them to respond to their priorities, because they now have the technical capacity,” he said.
Mr. Collymore noted that the area of accommodation is a “very serious one,” adding that tents have been organised to address shelter for 5,000 persons. These, he said, should be on the ground starting sometime next week.
With the issue of health being the Community’s key intervention area, the Executive Director said that significant work has been advanced in relation to an action plan.
“Today we had discussions with the government at the level of the Ministry of health, who has reviewed the options and has given their positions to all of that,” he said.
Mr. Collymore commended the role of Jamaica, as the CARICOM hub, in the support for Haiti. “There has been very dedicated focus and support to Haiti in the areas of medical health, search and rescue, relief distribution, security and technical support,” he said.
Other members of the CARICOM mission included Special Envoy on Haiti Disaster Relief, the Most Hon. P. J. Patterson; Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Dominica, Mr. Roosevelt Skerritt; and Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM, Ambassador Colin Grandison.

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