The Rainbow PUSH organization and the Chicago Haitian-American community will announce an effort Friday morning to raise $250,000 for the Caribbean nation that was ravaged by Hurricane Matthew last week.
The funds will be used "for desperately needed medicine, building materials and other emergency supplies," according to a release from the Rainbow RUSH organization, which be holding a press conference with the Chicago Haitian-American community Friday morning to formally kick off the fundraising effort.
"Our prayers go out to the Haitian people as they struggle to recover from yet another traumatic storm," Rev. Jesse Jackson said. "Our profound condolences go out to the families who have lost loved ones. But we want them to know that they are not alone and that help is on the way."
Some 1.4 million people are in urgent need of medical assistance, food and clothing, with 172,000 people living in shelters or the open air. About 1,000 people were killed as a result of the hurricane. A cholera outbreak has ensued, endangering the lives of hundreds more Haitians.
All funds raised will reportedly be distributed by the Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad (AMHE), a 40-year-old, New York-based organization.
According to Rainbow PUSH, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lionel Jean Baptiste outlined the challenges facing the people of Haiti following the hurricane:
- Agriculture which is the mainstay of the area which is also one of the bread baskets of the nation has been devastated.
- There has been massive loss of farm animals such as cows, goats, pigs and poultry killed by the hurricane.
- The city centers are flooded with sea water. There is no electricity, no fuel and drinking water is scarce.
- The water is contaminated by the mudslides created by the hurricane and the presence of dead animals.
- Diseases are flourishing, particularly cholera which was introduced in Haiti by UN Nepalese soldiers who have contaminated the natural rivers of the nation by dumping their sewage.
- The major bridge connecting the affected section with the rest of the country was damaged to such an extent as to impede entry to deliver humanitarian assistance.
- A small passage for light vehicles was created to facilitate delivery of assistance after significant delay.
- Major structures such as schools are either damaged or being used for shelter.
- Children have not been able to return to school.
- In certain coastal villages, the waves have destroyed cemeteries and exhumed corpses (some of dead died of cholera).
"Haiti is in the midst of a period of recovery even from the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010 and building its democracy evidenced by the scheduled election for Sunday October 9, 2016 which had to be canceled," Judge Baptiste said. "Hurricane Matthew caused tremendous damages. However, with the help of our friends, our allies, the Haitian people will rebuild better and stronger."
Donations can be made directly to the AMHE Hurricane Matthew Relief Mission and mailed to the AMHE Foundation, 1166 Eastern Parkway, 2nd Floor Brooklyn, NY 11213.