Groups huddle to plan relief for Haitians

Local efforts are under way to help the people of Haiti during this devastating period.

The Friends of Haiti will be hosting a meeting today at the City View Hotel at 2 pm and group head, Pastor Jean Gerald Lafleur, has called on Haitians living in Antigua & Barbuda and the general public to attend.

According to Lafleur, the effects of the quake and relief efforts will be discussed at the session.  Also, a press conference is scheduled for Monday.

The pastor projected that “it’s going to take years and years and years to really change that situation in Haiti.”  Referencing the number of dead bodies recovered thus far, he added that it’s “a drop in the bucket of the amount of people that are on the ground and that are under the rubble.”

Meanwhile, Antigua-based regional carrier, LIAT, has announced that it will make its aircraft available to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) for the organisation’s relief efforts.

“The LIAT Board of Directors has agreed to make available use of an aircraft to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to support the regional relief effort for Haiti,” a communiqué said.  “A number of LIAT’s staff, including pilots and engineers, has already offered to provide their services for this activity.

“In these particularly painful circumstances, the board of directors, management and staff of LIAT (1974) Ltd would like to extend to President René Préval, families of the victims and to all the Haitian people, our sincere condolence, compassion and sympathy,” the release added.

The statement said that the company is saddened by reports of the missing Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) management personnel in Haiti, both of whom have had dealings with the regional carrier.

Additionally, local architect to the poor, Scott Mulrooney, who has years of experience in rebuilding countries after natural and man-made disasters, said he is preparing to go to Haiti as early as next week.

He has done similar work in Guatemala, Columbia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others.

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