The victims of the earthquake in Haiti urgently need your help
With up to a staggering 200,000 people feared dead following the massive earthquake that struck Haiti on Tuesday 12th January, the authorities have been frantically trying to move the tens of thousands of corpses from the capital’s streets to mass burial graves outside the city. At the same time, they are fighting to keep the city’s survivors alive, with 300,000 people made homeless and desperate for food and water. There are concerns that the supply of drinking water will only last a few more days.
The Lotus Trust is the welfare arm of ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Manor and is working with the UK Hindu community to assist with the huge relief effort that is required. We have partnered with Global Food for Life who will be co-ordinating food and water relief activities from the ISKCON centre in neighbouring Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, where a dedicated Haiti Relief base station has been set up.
In addition, ISKCON volunteers from the USA, UK and Hungary are travelling to the area to assist their colleagues in the food relief efforts.
- Your donations are crucial to our relief efforts.
- 200 nutritious meals can be served for as little as £30.
- Please give generously and help our volunteers save lives.
Update 22nd February
Extract from our volunteer Robin Laing from the base in Haiti:
‘We now live in the garden in tents provided and put up by the Indian UN.
We bought a lot of cooking gear in St Dominigo before we left including two
large gas burner cookers, two large pans and a load of other bits and pieces
including cooking gear for ourselves. We also secured a lot of large
barrels for storage and a lot of smaller barrels for distribution. The
cook, Laksminath das from South Africa arrived and we are cooking and
distributing in three refugee camps and an orphanage in the city. We are
doing about 1500 -2000 meals daily. This figure will increase around
Wednesday this week when steam cooker for rice arrives from SD and other cooking gear is in the pipeline. We have made a connection with a farmer outside the city and the first supply of potatoes, rice, vegetables etc will arrive today, just as the supplies we bought in St Dominigo run out.’
‘I always ask people I meet about their experience with the earthquake. One policeman told how he was on duty right down in the city when it struck. He described that the whole earth was shaking and the only thing he could do was to lie down on the ground. He said that the sound was awful – a frightening experience. Worse for him was that the prison wall right where he was cracked open and 4000 prisoners found their way out! They grabbed guns from the guard house and started shooting in the street – the soldiers managed to secure the area and many of the prisoners – most of those prisoners are still roaming around the country! A boy I met described how he was in a two storey house when it hit, he said that he ran down the stairs and out just as the whole building collapsed to the ground. He lost
some family members as did so many here. The people seem to be coping well with the situation and the UN and various military forces have created large camps and providing tents for those who have lost their homes, which is most of them.’
Distribution in Full Swing
18th February, 2010
Whilst food distribution has been going on continuously for several
weeks from the main base in St Domingo, it has meant a lot of travel
across the border and it has been difficult for the FFLG team to reach the most severely affected areas of the earthquake. Last week, the team were finally able to establish a secure base for several months in Port Au Prince beside the Indian UN. New sizable cookers and pots have now arrived which enable the team to cook huge quantities. Freshly cooked meals of beans and rice are now reaching thousands of people as one team focus on cooking and the other on distribution, with much greater efficiency as distance is no longer an issue.
There is still much work to do and with heavy rains are expected soon, there will no doubt be many more challenges to overcome.
Haiti Distribution / Sanitation
January 31st, 2010
This morning, after much waiting and delay near the border, the FFLG team has finally joined a convoy of trucks accompanied by the military travelling into Jacmel and Port au Prince. They will be working in close coordination with local relief workers of Haitian-Dominican Chamber of Commerce under its President Rosa Maria Garcia. FFLG is also working in cooperation with the Ministry for Defense who will provide protection from attacks and assaults which have frequently taken place on relief agencies due to desperation. Project coordinator, Richard Higgins said, “We feel very confident now that we have this military protection in Haiti. This first mission into the disaster zone will give FFLG first hand knowledge of what we are up against.”
One of the major challenges faced by all aid agencies is sanitation, so FFL Global has partnered with New Directions Foundation that specializes in sanitation solutions. “There is sewage all over the ground in Haiti. It is extremely unsanitary at the moment,” explained Higgins.
Hospital distribution in Santo Domingo
Food for Life Global volunteers are continuing their distribution of freshly prepared vegan lunches for Haitian survivors of the earthquake who are now being cared for in the Dr. Dario Contreras Hospital in Santo Domingo. Volunteers prepare the lunches at the local FFL kitchen and then package them to be handed out at the hospital, which specializes in trauma.
Locals fly to Haiti to take part in relief efforts
January 26th, 2010
Two local volunteers based at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Aldenham are flying off to Haiti this week to take part in the relief efforts. Other international volunteers from USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, and Hungary have arrived and have joined Food for Life Global (FFLG) to establish working relationships with other relief agencies and the military to create the most secure and efficient service possible.
FFLG now has a plane waiting in Florida to fly in bulk organic produce, grains and other supplies. They are also partnering with Water for Life Global who have mobile water purifying system and they will also be providing a sanitation service.
Priyavrata Das, Coordinator of the efforts on the front line, said “it will take some time before things stabilize in the country, and is likely to end up as a four month endeavor”.
We are immensely grateful for all your donations to date and will soon give you updates on the progress of our teams. Please encourage friends and family to continue in their support.