News Release: International

Feb. 9,  2010

Campus Relief Efforts for Haiti Continue

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From Emory  Report

For Jihan Francois, the need to help earthquake victims in Haiti is intensely personal. Her 8-year-old cousin died from internal injuries sustained after the Jan. 12 quake toppled the little girl’s elementary school.

When Francois, a career adviser for MBA students, put out the “help wanted” call to faculty and students in the Goizueta Business School, they responded immediately with 20 bags of blankets and other necessities and $1,200 in cash. The students are continuing the fundraising effort. “My family is sad but we are lucky because a lot of families lost more people — we are looking at it like that,” Francois says. “And the community here and my friends and family have been very supportive.”

The Emory community continues to seek out ways to ease the suffering resulting from the quake that killed tens of thousands of Haitians and injured many more. The efforts have come in many forms, from teach-ins to fundraisers to prayer vigils to legal advice to shoe drives.

When the University requested French or Creole speakers willing to serve as interpreters for Haitians  evacuated to Atlanta, more than 50 people signed up within two hours. Within two days, more than 300 had. The first flights carrying earthquake victims for treatment in Atlanta area hospitals began arriving last week.

The law school is coordinating with local attorneys to assist Haitians already in the United States who want to apply for Temporary Protected Status. The Emory College Staff Consortium is collecting loose change for Partners in Health until Feb. 12. For a list of current efforts and volunteer opportunities vist the CEPAR Web site.

In a single day, the Health Organization for Latin America (HOLA) raised $1,164 and collected 539 pounds of medical supplies. “Students mobilized with enthusiasm and humility and lent of their time graciously. The spirit to do something for the Haitian community was contagious,” says Sulma Jessica Herrera of HOLA, a newly created student organization in the Rollins School of Public Health.

Jean Cadet, a native of Haiti working toward his master’s in public health, traveled to Port-au-Prince with the money, which he said helped feed about 200 homeless families living in a church parking lot near the devastated Presidential Palace. “If you compare what the other organizations on the ground are doing, what HOLA has done may seem like a little thing. But for the families that benefited, it presents a huge help,” says Cadet, who returned to Emory Jan. 29. “The need in Haiti is just so great.”   

Across the campus, other relief efforts are in the planning stage. Emory’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) is coordinating the University’s relief efforts and asks that groups send finalized plans regarding events and donations to emergency@emory.edu.

“The recovery period for Haiti is going to be measured in years, if not decades. I think you are going to see many at Emory remain engaged in the recovery effort,” says Alexander Isakov, CEPAR’s executive director. “That is consistent with the makeup of our community, to lend a helping hand to those in need.”



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