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Jamaica will be relying heavily on the local branches of international charity organisations, such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, to help in co-ordinating its aid efforts to Haiti.
At a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House in Kingston on Wednesday (January 13), Minister with responsibility for Information, Hon. Daryl Vaz, stated that with communications hampered and the lack of a co-ordinating body on the ground, the international organisations would be critical in helping to ensure that the aid reaches the people who need it.
President of the Jamaica Red Cross and Vice President of the International Federation of Red Cross, Dr, Jaslin Salmon, said the organisation was “alert and ready” to play its part and would facilitate the transfer of goods and human resources between Jamaica and Haiti.
“At this point, we recognise that we don’t fully know what the needs are. As I speak to you, we have a delegation from the Federation that is now on its way to Haiti to see what we can do, to see what the needs are, so we have proper co-ordination,” he explained.
Chief Executive Officer of Food for the Poor, Ryan Peralto Jnr., pledged that his organisation would do everything in its power to help the aid efforts directed towards Haiti.
“I was speaking to a couple clothing retailers on my way here, and they are going to try to mobilise some clothing, so we can get some commercial quantities of clothing to be able to put into the containers, and I got a call from BNS (Bank of Nova Scotia) who said they would be able to cover some of the freight back to Haiti,” he informed.
Mr. Vaz pointed out that one of the biggest challenges to Jamaica’s aid efforts would be in getting air and sea transporation. He appealed to both international charity organisations to help the Government in that regard.