The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti on Tuesday afternoon has prompted aid responses from Costa Rican institutions and aid groups that have offices in Costa Rica.
The National Emergency Commission (CNE) announced that it will send a relief team of 55 experts to Haiti. This commission will aid in rescue and relief efforts.
Press officials said the team will include engineers, doctors and health care and disaster relief specialists.
The Haitian Red Cross estimates that between 45,000-50,000 people may have died in the quake.
The CNE is working out an agreement with global courier DHL to transport the relief team and their equipment to theCaribbeanisland. The CNE and DHL collaborated on a 4.8 ton delivery of supplies to El Salvador after heavy rains provoked by Hurricane Ida in November of last year left at least 157 dead and hundreds homeless in the Central American country.
The Costa Rican Red Cross announced late Wednesday that it will send rescue personnel and equipment to the battered nation. The Red Cross opened its bank accounts at Banco Nacional and Banco e Costa Rica (see box) for donations for victims of the earthquake.
Red Cross Haiti on Wednesday afternoon reported that its teams in the countrywere “completely overwhelmed.” The Doctors Without Borders organization said none of its three hospitals inHaitiare operable.
Costa Rica’s National Police will send 20 officers who specialized in search and rescue missions.
Habitat for Humanity’s Latin American and Caribbean office sent four volunteers, who live and work in Costa Rica, by plane to Haiti. One Costa Rican Habitat for Humanity staff member, Susan Herrera, was already stationed inHaiti. She arrived with her two sons, ages 10 and 15, and her husband to Haiti approximately two weeks ago. She and her family are safe.
The best way to help Habitat for Humanity’s response to the Haitian disaster is by donation via their Web site: www.habitat.org.
The Chilean-based Un Techo Para Mi País (A Roof for My Country), which helped rebuild homes after the Cinchona earthquake in Costa Rica in January 2009, announced plans to build 100 emergency shelters for families affected by yesterday’s earthquake. To collaborate, visit www.untechoparamipais.org.
Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno said on Wednesday afternoon that he had gotten reports that nine Costa Ricans were in Haiti, including Herrera and her family, when the quake struck. However, he said there could be more. Three Costa Ricans were working in Haiti for the Coca-Cola Company. One was evacuated by helicopter, and the other two are secure, Stagno said.
Tuesday’s earthquake is believed to have been the worst disaster ever to have struck the deeply impoverished nation. Haiti was battered by four hurricanes in 2008 and officials had been hopeful at the time that the aid the country received after those storms would finally help the country get on its feet.
The country’s poor infrastructure does not allow for quick disaster response. Streets and highways are lined with now-homeless citizens, including Haitian President René Preval. The runway at the Port-au-Prince airport is operable, but the air traffic control tower has been damaged, further complicating relief efforts.
Helping Haiti from C.R.
Donate to: Costa Rican Red Cross Bank Accounts
Banco Nacional de Costa Rica: 100100-7 for colones,
68666-7 for dollars.
Banco de Costa Rica: 176003-3 colones, 204-6 dollars.
Habitat for Humanity
Un Techo Para Mi País (A Roof for My Country)
See www.ticotimes.net for more ways you can help.