Known for its historic fighting and victorious, unprecedented battles for freedom, Haiti today is helpless and at the mercy of Mother Nature as she continues to pummel the country with a third natural disaster, acts Haitian American Lawyers Association President Daphnee Pierre Camilien called “tragic.”
Formerly a French colony, Haiti is acclaimed for being the country to overthrow slavery. The country is now dependent on help from the international community.
“Haiti is the first country to win freedom from slavery and will continue to persevere in their fight against earthquakes and natural disasters,” said Camilien. “Haiti is often depicted negatively instead of with strength.”
Haiti has a history of earthquakes and natural disasters yet despite the catastrophes, Haitians have survived. But the strength of Haitians is once again being tested.
As if last Saturday’s (August 14) 7.2 earthquake weren’t enough for Haiti, that devastation was followed by more than 10 inches of rain. And, according to Camilien, Haitians had not yet recovered from the 7.0 earthquake of January 12, 2010.
Reverend Jesse Jackson said what is needed is to “meet their humanitarian needs. They do need water.”
He said France must become a part of this heavy discussion. Haiti is a French-speaking, largely Catholic nation and Haiti invested much in America and France.
Jackson said both the U.S. and France “should stand strong with the Haitians, including the whole world. They have reason to be part of Haiti.”
Referring to the 2010 earthquake when 250,000 died and 300,000 were injured, Camilien said, “Some of the concerns about that earthquake were a lot of money was donated to organizations; however, it did not help Haiti. We don’t know what happened to the money. What we do know was that it did not go into helping infrastructure or to re-build Haiti.
“People are concerned and want to help. We are taking donations and are making sure that when donations come in it will go to local and national organizations that directly help Haiti and those in Haiti. People are working,” including her organization, the Haitian American Lawyers Association.
And while Camilien said thousands have lost their homes, what Haitians need right now is water. “We’ll be able to distribute water on a large scale to Haitians. Money to buy water is great, too. They need water. All the other stuff, clothes, food are needed, but water is an immediate need,” she said.
“Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in Haiti,” Camilien told the Chicago Crusader. “The current conditions are very horrible. Our prayers go out to them. We are trying to do our best to see how we can help them.”
“Thousands of people have died and each day the numbers continue to go up,” she said. The earthquakes and Tropical Storm Grace are just two acts of Mother Nature but then there was the third tragedy. Haitians, she said, have yet to get over the July 7 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, and the political fallout that has ensued.
“This is very devastating. People need help. They need water,” Camilien said. “This is not as populous as Port-au-Prince, but it’s still affecting a lot of people.” She said at least 2,000 people have died and that the area lacks proper hospital infrastructure.
“What is needed immediately is water,” attorney Camilien said. Water donations can be sent to Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti, 2010 Dewey, 3rd Floor, Evanston, Illinois, 60201.
Attorney Camilien gave the following Haitian organizations that are only accepting financial donations for Haiti.
Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti
Haitian American Lawyer’s Association of Illinois Paypal/[email protected]
Jeremie Charitable Foundation (located in Haiti)
National Donations Partners in Health