DR and the Haitian Earthquake

>First I need to say that this earthquake that happened in Haiti is unbelievable to me. I felt the tremor here in Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo. I was on the computer in the office and the monitor started shaking. I thought it was my leg shaking the desk. Well, it was not my leg, it was the earth moving. I sat for a few seconds thinking it would stop like others I felt in the past years living here but it kept going. I figured that maybe I should go out to the street. I felt a little tipsy walking out of the store. The mobiles on the ceiling of the gift shop were all swaying back and forth all the same when usually they are all moving a little in all directions. All the neighbors were in the street when I got out there discussing what happened with a look of fear on the faces. After a few minutes and with a cold beer in my hand I went back to the office and started checking the web to see what happened. The DR1 message boards were in full swing with people posting what they felt. Then the news started coming in that it was a 7 point quake in Haiti and about a 4 point here in Santo Domingo.

Now my problems…
I have been watching the TV to see what was happening. The English language stations report that USA and other countries are sending help. That is great, bless all who help. But Dominican Republic was there first and none seems to acknowledge this. Here is some stuff from newspapers about what DR has done to help Haiti.

From Dominican Today

The Dominican Government’s humanitarian aid for the Haitian people in the wake of Tuesday’s quake is evident in the different barrios and zones inhabited by thousands of refugees.

The aid to thousands of Haitians is includes the distribution of ready-meals on the Dominican Government’s recently acquired Mobile Economic Cafeterias, with more than 10,000 distributed daily.

News source diariolibre.com said several Dominican agencies also provide drinking water, medical rations, food and services, for which hundreds of people eager to received them formed long lines this weekend.

Moreover the Government allocated RD$131 million for the Public Works Ministry, for heavy equipment sent to remove debris.

The First Lady of the Dominican Republic announced on Sunday the campaign “Return to Joy” for the psycho-affective recovery of the Haitian children who survived the earthquake.

Santo Domingo.– More international relief aid is expected to reach Haiti by land via the Dominican Republic as air transport is jammed, following the promise by Dominican President Leonel Fernandez of granting land access for aid delivery to the neighboring country.

“The Dominican Telecom Institute (Indotel) and the CDEEE will work in the reestablishment of communication and energy, while the rubble is being removed,” Preval thanked Fernandez for the immediate support and solidarity received from the Dominican Republic, and highlighted he was the first national leader who visited his country after the devastating earthquake.

President Leonel Fernandez decreed Friday and Saturday “Days of National Mourning” for the loss of thousands of human lives in Haiti as a result of the 7.0 earthquake that struck the neighboring country.

According to the Decree 29-10, “the Dominican people are profoundly disturbed because of this great tragedy, and therefore it is considered to be a moral obligation to demonstrate their sorrow and solidarity with the Haitian people.”

The decree orders all flags to be flown at half mast at all government buildings at the national, provincial and municipal levels. I addition, all official activities of a festive nature are suspended.

Jimani, Dominican Republic.– Buses from Port-au-Prince arrived at the General Meleciano Hospital, in Jimani, 280 kilometers west of the Dominican capital city, carrying dozens of seriously injured children, women, men and the elderly, many with fractured skulls and broken limbs. The most serious cases were transferred to larger hospitals for treatment, as well as members of the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti.

A logistics center was also set up in Jimani for aid groups to use, while trucks carrying water and food left from the camp along with mobile kitchens, the first batch of a mission to supply around 10,000 meals a day. Doses of tetanus shots were also being transported.

The Dominican military and police were reinforcing rescue teams looking for survivors on the other side of the border.

From DR1

President Leonel Fernandez has convened the representatives of multilateral organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the Caribbean Community, the Inter-American Development Bank and other regional cooperation organizations. The central issue that will be discussed is short and medium-term international aid for Haiti after the 12 January earthquake. Presidents Fernandez and Preval and Haitian Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive have already discussed the general guidelines.

Fifteen television channels, 50 radio stations and local channels that transmit via the Internet joined in a television marathon to help the people of Haiti over the weekend. The appeal has already collected more than RD$54.9 million.
Prominent TV, sports, music, political and business figures took part in the radio and television marathon organized by the Conference of Dominican Bishops and the “Sur Futuro” and “Que viva el pais” Foundations. From the Colorvision studios, Haitian ambassador in the DR Fritz Cineas, clearly moved by the displays of solidarity, thanked the Dominican public and said that his people “would never forget the generosity and compassion of the Dominican people” at this difficult time.
Starting at noon, 27 telephone lines (15 from Codetel and 12 from Tricom) were allocated for the radio and television marathon. Two bank accounts were set up to accept donations in dollars and pesos. Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez made an appearance to appeal to the solidarity of the Dominican people.
A TV marathon organized in Santiago, collected an additional RD$11 million for Haiti over the weekend

The humanitarian aid supplied by the Dominican government to victims of last Tuesday’s Haitian earthquake is visible in all the areas that are occupied by thousands of refugees. The aid for thousands of Haitians consists of food cooked in mobile kitchens recently acquired by the Dominican government at a cost of millions. More than 10,000 meals are handed out daily. Diario Libre reporters also saw long lines of quake victims receiving water, uncooked food rations and medical services provided by several Dominican institutions over the weekend.
A tank truck from the Santo Domingo Water and Sewer Corporation (CAASD) distributed 2000 gallons to people along the Martin Luther King Avenue. Meanwhile, in the areas near the collection centers opposite the International Airport, men, women and children left with plates of food, thankful for the help sent by President Leonel Fernandez at a cost of RD$131 million. At the same time, heavy equipment from the Ministry of Public Works was at work removing rubble.

The Dominican government has equipped the Maria Montez International Airport in Barahona for the Open Wings for Haiti Air Bridge Operation. The airport will serve as a multiple aviation logistical platform to facilitate the collection and distribution of humanitarian aid from the DR and abroad. The large airport was out of operation but has the capacity to handle large airplanes. The airport will be converted into the center of air traffic for aid to Haiti. On Saturday, a commission made up of aviation director Aristides Fernandez Zucco and Air Force chief Major General Carlos Altuna Tezanos traveled to Barahona for the preparatory work, including clearing the runway, preparing for fuel storage and equipping the terminal.
The US Southern Command is now operating out of the Maria Montez International Airport (BRX). Furthermore, a Navy source told Hoy that the docks in Barahona have been prepared for ships arriving with aid for Haiti.
Furthermore, a source of the Navy told Hoy that docks in Barahona have been prepared for ships arriving with aid for Haiti.

Hospitals in Neiba, Barahona, Jimani, Azua, Santiago and Santo Domingo are treating thousands of cases of Haitians injured in Tuesday’s 7.0 earthquake. According to Hoy newspaper, more than 2,600 people have been treated and over 250 remain hospitalized. The nation’s largest trauma hospital, the Dario Contreras, has performed hundreds of operations on quake victims.

President Barack Obama called President Leonel Fernandez at around 9pm yesterday to discuss recovery plans for Haiti in the immediate, medium and long term. The Presidents agreed that the DR is the ideal bridge for the aid that needs to get to Haiti.

Supermarket advertising campaigns have been replaced by appeals for aid for Haiti. La Cadena is offering to contribute one box worth RD$450 containing milk, juice, chocolate, sugar, corn, beans, water, sausages, sardines and crackers for every RD$450 donated by customers.
Plaza Lama has a full-page spread inviting customers to donate bottled water, canned goods, tetrapak juice and milk, sheets, blankets, towels, shampoo and soap. The drive is for Plaza Lama at 27 de Febrero Avenue, and Carretera Mella on Friday, 15 and Saturday 16 from 10am to 8pm.

There is much more in the Dominican Spanish papers but I´m sure you get the idea. I sure wish that the world news people and others would realize that we are here and give us a little recognition.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

Please keep the Haitian people in your prayers. I have many Haitian friends that still have not heard from family members. Every Haitian I´ve spoken to has lost many members of their friends and family. This is a terrible tragedy and thank you all who have donated to aid the people.

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