As relief and charity agencies continue to provide assistance to Haiti in the aftermath of Tuesday’s (January 12) devastating earthquake in Haiti, Jamaicans are being urged to contribute to the effort.
Leading the charge, and to ramp up its own relief efforts, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) will be staging a collection drive tagged ‘Help Haiti’ at its offices at 2-4 Haining Road in Kingston tomorrow (Jan. 15) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; and on Sunday (Jan. 17) from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Cash donations can be made to any branch of the National Commercial Bank (NCB) to account number: 21-2387304. Persons are being advised that the items most needed are: bottled water, tarpaulins, tents, semi-folding field relief cots, mattresses, plastic sheeting, bed sheets, woolen disaster relief blankets, collapsible water containers, water purification tablets, water containers including buckets, lanterns (flashlights) with batteries, baby diapers, towels, toiletries, basic food supplies, detergent, bath soap, hygiene kits, sanitisers, cooking containers, first aid kits, and canned food.
Director of Information and Training at the ODPEM, Delmaris White, told JIS News that the Office is also calling for volunteers to come in and assist in receiving these donations.
Meanwhile, Territorial Development Director of the Salvation Army in the Caribbean, Envoy John Williamson stressed that the most important contribution is cash.
He said that although cheque donations are preferred, cash can be dropped off at the Salvation Army’s headquarters at 3 Waterloo Road in Kingston.
“On top of that we are looking for bottled water and non-perishables, preferably like canned goods. Generic medical supplies will be very useful to us as well. The public has been very generous to us. We were hoping to have a plane-load go out today, but we aren’t sure the plane will be able to land in Port-au-Prince, but it will happen sometime over the next 48 hours,” he said. Mr. Williams informed that 25 disaster relief experts from the United Kingdom and the United States should land in Port-au-Prince by tomorrow evening.
Some of the supplies gathered by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to be sent to Haiti to assist the relief effort in the country, in the aftermath of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, which rocked the island on January 12.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Jamaica has already dispatched supplies with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) envoy that left for Haiti yesterday (Jan.13), and has mobilised its members throughout Jamaica.
Director of ADRA in Jamaica, Wenford Henry said Adventists will be making contributions throughout their churches in Jamaica, and the rest of the West Indies Union. “Whatever is left at our churches, the pastors will take to conference offices and ADRA will do the collection, and we will route them through ODPEM to take them over there,” he said. A special offering will also be collected for the relief effort.
An account (number 187917) has been set up at the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), and persons may make contributions at any branch of that bank. In addition, he said, counsellors from the Northern Caribbean University are on standby.
“We are also aware that in situations like these, we get refugees from Haiti and our members in Portland and St. Thomas are mobilised, and we are making our facilities available just in case we need to house anybody and care for them,” Mr. Henry noted.
Food For The Poor Jamaica (FFP) is already offering logistical and technical support to assist in the relief efforts from Jamaica.
“In the first instance, we’ll be sending generators with the JDF vessels that will be going into Haiti today with a team from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). Jamaica will serve as a co-ordinating centre for many international aid responses including donations from CARICOM. This team will therefore be able to make a proper assessment of the damage in the country and the extent of the needs,” explained CEO of Food For The Poor (FFP) Jamaica, Ryan Peralto in a release from the organisation today (Jan. 14).
With the most immediate need being cash, the charity is opening special bank accounts with NCB and the BNS where persons can make direct financial donations. The NCB account number is 471043885. FFP says the public will be advised of the account number for BNS as soon as it is finalised.
The massive 7.0 earthquake struck southern Haiti leaving behind a trail of destruction and fears that hundreds of thousands are dead.