Posted on Thu, Sep. 18, 2008reprint print email
BY JACQUELINE CHARLES
City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones will lead a 20-member delegation to Haiti Friday to deliver 50,000 pounds of hurricane relief to storm-ravaged victims in the impoverished Caribbean nation.
The supplies, collected from local companies and individuals in recent days, are being flown to Port-au-Prince by DHL, and will arrive on Saturday. With the help of World Vision, the group plans to deliver the supplies to hard-hit Gonaives, Cabaret, Port-de-Paix, Jacmel and the Isle of La Tortue.
Four successive storms, including two hurricanes, in less than a month have killed at least 425 Haitians and impacted about a million people throughout the country. The delivery is just one example of the aid being offered by South Florida, where everyone from school children to corporations, have been assisting with the hurricane relief effort.
Food For the Poor, based in Coconut Creek, for instance has sent more than 65 shipping containers to Haiti in recent weeks -- and launched an appeal featuring local Miami band Mawon.
Also military crews from the USS Kearsarge have delivered more than 1.9 million pounds of supplies, including 24,800 gallons of water, by helicopter and boat to hard-hit regions of the country as part of an effort led by the United States Agency for International Development.
Meanwhile, hoping to make it easier for hurricane relief supplies to get into the country, the Haitian government has put some procedures in place, including temporary removal of import duties, said the country's finance minister Daniel Dorsainvil.
Specially-designated customs agents will be assigned to work with nongovernmental and international organizations shipping relief supplies.
For individuals or others who do not have access to customs waivers, Dorsainvil said, ``we've set up a system whereby they can allow the Civil Protection unit to take over and clear customs for them and be involved in the distribution.''
To ensure hassle free delivery of supplies to the island, Dorsainvil recommends that individuals or agencies contact the local Haitian Consul General office or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org