COCONUT CREEK – Food For The Poor, the foremost international relief organization working in Haiti, is responding to the recent damages caused by Hurricane Dean in the southernmost region of the country. Although the hurricane brushed close to the island, initial government reports list nine deaths, and more than 12,000 people who have been displaced or lost their homes. At least 4,000 homes have been partially or completely destroyed.
Food For The Poor maintains facilities in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien, where supplies of food, medicine and emergency relief supplies are available and will be directed to the affected areas. In addition, Food For The Poor has already sent additional containers of medical supplies, clothing, food and other essentials to Haiti.
Food For The Poor’s is the largest NGO operating in Haiti today, serving more than 1,100,000 people in all areas of the country. A distribution network, consisting of over 2,000 churches, missionaries, orphanages, hospitals and schools is already in place, and is the most effective means to ensure that aid reaches the poorest of the people who are in need.
According to Robin Mahfood, president of Food For The Poor, “Our dedicated staff and facilities are prepared to handle this emergency, and we are able to swiftly aid the victims of Hurricane Dean in Haiti.”
Relief efforts in Jamaica
Of the 130 communities that have been affected by the hurricane in 12 parishes, Portland Cottage is one of the most devastated. Consequently, Food For The Poor, which was instrumental in the recovery process in that area during Hurricane Ivan, has been assigned full responsibility for the community’s current recovery effort, following a high-level meeting with Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, Minister of Local Government Dean Peart and the Office of Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management (ODPEM) Director General, Mr. Ronald Jackson.
According to Bradley Finzi-Smith, Executive Director of Food For The Poor Jamaica, just two days ago the organization sent a crew of building contractors into the area to assess the level of damage to the housing stock there.
The assessment priorities centered on houses impacted by the hurricane, general observation of damages and preliminary identification of needs. Initial assessment indicated that approximately 65% of the housing units in the area sustained major damages or were destroyed. “We are nearing completion of our assessment, and if everything goes according to plan, we could start the rebuilding process by as early as Monday, August 27,” Finzi-Smith said.
A 20-vehicle-long convoy, including two large trucks filled to capacity with food and other emergency relief supplies from Food For The Poor, will roll into hurricane-ravaged Portland Cottage on Friday, August 24th.
Additionally, a volunteer team of 28 medical personnel, inclusive of 13 doctors and 15 nurses, will accompany Food For The Poor to provide medical care. “Currently there are people being sheltered there at the Portland Cottage Primary School, but our concern goes beyond the needs of just those people,” said Finzi-Smith. “As it stands, initial assessment has indicated that in this area, there are some 15,000 people there that have been affected by the hurricane, and we will be aiming to address everyone’s immediate and future needs.”
The current supply of emergency relief aid in Food For The Poor’s Spanish Town, Jamaica warehouses will be significantly augmented with the arrival of more than 120 additional containers filled with medical supplies, housing materials and other relief items.
Food For The Poor continues to fulfill its commitment to the entire Caribbean area through its major involvement with ongoing relief efforts to the islands of Dominica, St. Lucia, the Dominican Republic and Haiti — areas that have also experienced severe hurricane damage. Major relief efforts, including the delivery of food, emergency supplies, building materials and medical assistance, are all underway in these countries, as well as in Peru, Belize and Mexico.
To assist with the work of Food For The Poor, please visit the Web site at www.foodforthepoor.org or call 800-487-1158.