Haiti in desperate need of helping hands

By Justin Rheingold Online Breaking News Editor

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the small Caribbean island nation of Haiti, devastating the capital city of Port au Prince and the lives of many already impoverished Haitians.

Located 700 miles south of Florida, Haiti’s population shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. It is home to 9 million people, and is recognized as the poorest nation in the western hemisphere with 80 percent of its citizens living below the poverty line.

“You see the poverty and you can’t really walk in the streets,” said junior Torshie Cineas whose mother’s family is Haitian. “When you are driving, you see little kids come up to the car and ask for money.”

Cineas recently spent part of her winter break with family in Haiti. While her family lives outside the city, she has witnessed the immense poverty firsthand.

“We have gotten in contact with some of [our family], although we just got in contact yesterday,” Cineas said. “My other family went to see the house [where my other family lives] and it was completely destroyed.”

Governments across the world are pledging their aid to the destroyed nation, and the U.S. federal government has activated the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship, and an aircraft carrier. In Northern Virginia, Fairfax County has already sent a 72-member disaster relief team into Haiti, with search and rescue dogs, first-aid kits and other disaster supplies. The local CHS community will also be donating money to the country.  Last year, the French Honor Society set a precedent of helping Haiti when they met with the Haitian ambassador’s wife and gave money to the country.

“The [FHS] is going to make a donation of over $1,000 to Haiti,” adviser Jeanne Touzeau said. “They [raised] this money through fundraising and they hope to continue fundraising.”

B’nai Brith Youth Organization will hold a bake-sale fundraiser to aid Haiti this Sunday, Jan. 17 from noon to 5 p.m at the Cabin John Mall Giant Food store.

To help with relief efforts click on the link “Ways to Help Haiti” in the left side bar on the Churchill Observer main page. Some organizations who are receiving donations are also listed below.

The American Red Cross: 800-733-2767 or text “Haiti” to 90999 to donate $10 which will be added to your cell phone bill

The Salvation Army: 800-725-2769

UNICEF: 800-367-5437

Hope for Haiti: 239-434-7183

Oxfam: 800-776-9326