A charity seeking to help the people of Haiti following a major recent earthquake is calling for people not to forget the beleaguered Caribbean nation.
A 7.2 in magnitude quake struck on August 14th, and was followed by tropical storm Grace, which brought torrential rain and flooding.
More than 2,000 people have died and many more are badly injured, homeless and without food and clean water following the events.
The cost of sending containers of relief supplies has proven to be a headache for Project ESPWA, an Irish non-government organisation established in 2011 after another devastating earthquake hit Hispaniola, the island Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic, in 2010. ESPWA is the Creole word for hope.
ESPWA director Kieran Tansey says the containers have been filled with medical supplies worth hundreds of thousands of euro such as bandages and crutches, but that covering the bill for shipping them would be a challenge.
Shipping costs have ballooned during the last year, largely due to the pandemic, and are now around €5,000 per unit.
“We have all the aid we need. What we need now is cash,” Mr Tansey said.
ESPWA has purchased its own containers as it wants to avoid facing extra and often dubious demands for customs charges or kickbacks when the shipments arrive in Haiti. The containers, once emptied, can be recycled or used to provide shelter if needed.
Mr Tansey said the estimated cost of collecting the supplies and transporting them to Cork would amount to several thousand euro, and that the overall cost of getting the three containers to Haiti could be €30,000.
“We welcome donations from anyone, but are especially hoping for some corporate sponsorship,” he said.
With international focus very much on Afghanistan, where the Taliban has retaken control of the country, the Irish Red Cross acknowledged the difficulty of responding to various countries desperately seeking help at once.
“Many of us feel helpless when we witness the devastating scenes that are playing out across the world. Haiti and Afghanistan are two very different contexts but they both need the support of the Irish people,” its secretary general Caitríona Sheridan said.