By Kurt Campbell
Making good on his pledge to assist the people of Haiti who are recovering from the devastating effects of an earthquake and a tropical storm, President Irfaan Ali on Wednesday confirmed that the government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has transferred cash totalling US$50,000 to Haiti.
Dr. Ali said the cash transfer was upon the request of authorities in Haiti who advised the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that they preferred cash donations.
Speaking with the News Room on the sidelines of an event at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), the President explained that the government intends to make a second cash transfer next week.
That will be done with direct funds from the government along with funds in a humanitarian account established at Republic Bank Limited (96235619938) in the name of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC).
Up to last Friday, there were no funds in that account, more than a week after it was established. Persons, especially those in the business community, were asked to make contributions to the account so that Guyana can make good on the promise of Dr. Ali to combine energies and resources to meet this latest humanitarian challenge.
A second independent account was established at the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI).
Director-General of the CDC, Lieutenant-Colonel Kester Craig is encouraging the Guyanese public to continue to contribute to the fund so that Guyana can assist its sister CARICOM country.
According to Craig, Haiti prefers to receive cash donations in order to procure the needed relief items in the country and through an already established international procurement process.
Craig said Guyana continues to work directly with Haiti and through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CEDEMA). Haiti has indicated that among its needs are tarpaulins, tents, health care supplies, food and water.
Already, the government of Belize has made a contribution of BZ$200,000 to Haiti through the bank account set up by CDEMA for relief efforts.
In addition, the UN launched a Flash Appeal for Haiti, requesting more than $187 million and USAID Administrator Samantha Power visited the affected communities in southwestern Haiti, announcing $32 million in humanitarian assistance in response to the earthquake.
According to the latest report released by CEDEMA on August 30, 2021, there are a total of 2, 207 persons reported dead, 12, 268 injured and 320 missing. Some 52,953 houses were destroyed and 77,006 houses damaged in the three most affected areas.
The 7.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded on August 14 in the southern region of the country. Since then, at least 600 aftershocks have been detected in the southern region, according to scientists in Haiti.