On August 14, 2021, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Haiti, killing more than 2,000, injuring more than 12,000 and destroying thousands of homes across the Tiburon Peninsula, about 90 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Days later, Tropical Storm Grace pounded the region with heavy rainfall, hindering already challenging rescue and recovery efforts. Today, Haiti is in dire need of earthquake relief — again.
These disasters could not have come at a worse time for the country, still reeling from the crisis following President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination just a month earlier.
Haiti had not yet recovered from the 2010 earthquake, which resulted in over 200,000 deaths and left another 1.5 million people displaced. Years later, millions of Haitians are still in need of humanitarian aid — an unfortunate truth that has made the recent 2021 earthquake and hurricane nothing short of devastating for the country.
Although the situation remains a priority in the Haitian community, the outpouring of support from the United States may pale in comparison to the 2010 efforts because of the number of other headline-grabbing events happening around the world and their impact. These include the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Hurricane Ida’s destruction from Louisiana to the northeast and COVID surges throughout the United States. But while America manages multiple crises, the issues in Haiti remain as pressing as ever.
Just hours after the tragic event, President Biden, a number of nonprofits and individual organizations promised much-needed urgent help for Haiti earthquake relief.
CEO and co-founder of Primary Medical Care Center, Prinston Jean-Glaude, has made a personal contribution to the Haiti earthquake relief efforts. “As a son and daughter of au Cayes, Port Salut, Haiti,” he wrote in an email encouraging public support, “my wife and I, along with Primary Medical Care Center and its affiliates, have committed to donating $50,000 to help Haiti rebuild in the wake of the earthquake that destroyed so many families on August 14, 2021.”
Jean-Glaude ended the email by saying, “Together, let’s make a HUGE humanitarian impact. Every dollar, every donation, it can help change someone’s life.”
Headquartered in Jamaica, GraceKennedy is one of the largest food manufacturers in the Caribbean. Speaking for the organization, community relations specialist Donna Callender says, “We donated pallets of [food] products through the Caribbean American coalition under the Caribbean Strong Relief Fund and Global Empowerment Mission. GraceKennedy Foods was happy to assist with this very worthy cause as our neighboring country is in desperate need of help.”
Born out of relief efforts for the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, World Central Kitchen has been committed to providing relief and assistance across the globe. Founded by celebrity chef and restaurateur José Andrés, the nonprofit partners with local restaurants and chefs to bring fresh meals to disaster zones while also supporting the local economy.
According to the organization’s Florida ground team lead, Monica Majors, a team from World Central Kitchen was deployed within the first 24 hours to help with Haiti earthquake relief efforts.
“When the earthquake struck the southern part of Haiti, we knew that there was going to be a need for food because, simply, when people are hungry, they can’t wait. Food is urgent,” Majors said. “But along with that we also [distribute] solar lamps, that are provided by partners, or access to bottled water or beverages. [Our service] does spread to whatever needs need to be filled.”
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the United States, began working in Haiti in 1986 and still serves there.
In a September 1 news release from their website, the organization noted, “In the 18 days since Haiti’s southern peninsula was rocked by an earthquake, Food For The Poor has dispatched more than 60 truckloads of critical Haiti earthquake relief supplies to families in desperate need of food, water and shelter.”
The agency, in the same news release, added that it has moved displaced families into 48 newly built homes and sent multiple truckloads of medicines and medical supplies to hospitals in the country.
“Our commitment to Haiti is strong and we’ll be there for as long as it takes. We’re not leaving them behind,” said Jisabelle Garcia-Pedroso, Food For The Poor’s senior operations manager. “We’ll continue to do whatever work is needed to bring relief, to bring hope and, hopefully, to bring transformation.”
Note from the publisher: Island Origins Magazine is a strong supporter of these organizations and we encourage our readers to support all Haiti earthquake relief efforts. Please visit foodforthepoor.org and wck.org to donate. Learn more about Primary Medical Care Center at primarymed.com.