Port au Prince Devastated; Food Supplies Threatened Elsewhere in Haiti
Most Oblates are believed safe, but news is still minimal. Relief aid is urgently needed.
The devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12 has caused unimaginable suffering for the people of Port au Prince. Tens of thousands are feared dead and supplies of food and water are low. Medical supplies are desperately needed. Shelter and sanitation are major problems, with many homes and buildings utterly destroyed or unsafe.
More than 120 Oblates work in Haiti, and while most Oblates and scholastics in the ruined city are believed to have survived, one death – that of Brother Weedy Alexis, a 28 year-old scholastic - has been reported. Learn more…
Haiti will depend heavily on foreign assistance to provide needed medical care, food and water, as its struggles to cope with this latest natural disaster. Long-term reconstruction and development will also be greatly needed. It is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most food-insecure nations on earth.
Immediate assistance is needed for relief efforts:
Please donate to the Oblate Mission in Haiti. Contributions to the relief effort are urgently needed and can be sent to:
Oblate Foreign Missions, P.O. Box 9088, Lowell, MA 01853-9088. Please specify that the donation is for HAITI EARTHQUAKE RELIEF
The Obama administration has already begun to mobilize immediate emergency relief, which is vital in the coming weeks and days. But it is becoming clear that Haiti will need support for relief and reconstruction from the US and international community at unprecedented levels. The nature of this official development assistance is of vital importance. Given the devastation and the massive reconstruction that will be needed, we are urging you to call on the White House to adopt the following three policies:
- Official assistance needs to be in the form of grants, NOT loans.
- All of Haiti’s debts need to be cancelled;
- Temporary Protective Status (TPS)should be granted to undocumented Haitians in the US.
- Official assistance needs to be in the form of grants, NOT loans: The IMF just announced it will be providing $100 million in emergency financing to Haiti – but this is in the form of a loan, not a grant. Given Haiti’s extreme poverty and the level of devastation, loans – even low-interest loans - are inappropriate.
- Haiti’s debt burden must be cancelled: This earthquake threatens to erase much of the progress the country has made in the fight against poverty and economic injustice in recent years. In June 2009, Jubilee USA supporters and partners (of which the Oblates are one) celebrated $1.2 billion in debt cancellation for Haiti, erasing most -- but not all -- of Haiti's debt. The country needs full debt cancellation now.
- As part of its long term relief effort, the Administration must grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitian immigrants who are now in the U.S. TPS is meant to protect nationals of a country that has experienced political turmoil or a natural disaster. Haiti clearly qualifies. With TPS, Haitians in the U.S. would be given permission to work, allowing them to provide money for their extended family members in Haiti, thus magnifying relief efforts.
Use your voice for Haiti today. Please call the White House today at 202-456-1111 and ask President Obama to take these steps.
Here's a sample script (thanks to Jubilee USA):
"Hi, My name is XXX, and I live in X town, Y state. I am calling to ask that President Obama do everything in his power to help the Haitian people in this time of crisis. As part of its emergency response, President Obama should ensure the US provides massive assistance for relief and reconstruction as grants not loans; advocate for the cancellation of all of Haiti's remaining debts, and provide Temporary Protective Status for Haitians living in the United States. Thank you."
Click here for background and more information about these three asks.
As further news of the Oblates in Haiti becomes available, we will post it on our website www.omiusajpic.org. News is also available on the main US oblate site: www.omiusa.org
Please pray for the people of Haiti and our Oblate community there.