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Fri January 13, 2012
Local Organizations Still Helping Haiti After Earthquake
By Paul Tuthill
Springfield, MA – Two years after the catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti, killing 220 thousand people, and leaving more than a million people homeless, recovery is painfully slow. Billions of dollars in relief money was donated by governments, humanitarian organizations and individuals. WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports on how people from western Massachusetts are helping Haiti rebuild.
Two years after the 7 magnitude earthquake struck the capital region of Haiti, OXFAM estimates there are still a half million Haitians homeless, living in tents or other temporary quarters.
Dr. Joni Paterson is director of development and administration for the CRUDEM Foundation based in Ludlow Massachusetts. It operates Sacred Heart Hospital in northern Haiti. The hospital was swamped with patients in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Paterson says the foundation received over 3 million dollars in donations, with a large percentage of it coming from western Massachusetts
The American Red Cross raised 486 million dollars for Haitian earthquake relief efforts. 330 million has been spent so far on such things as housing, providing clean water, and health care. Some money has also gone into financing the re-start of businesses.
Rick Lee, Pioneer Valley Massachusetts Red Cross Chapter executive director says the scale of the disaster in Haiti makes a speedy recovery impossible.
Lee said more than 400 thousand dollars has been raised locally for Haiti and donations are still being accepted
Members of a church in Longmeadow Massachusetts are rebuilding a school in Haiti. The four story building , which had classrooms for K through 12 grade, and a nurses school, collapsed. 20 nursing students were killed. Nancy Marshall, of the First Church of Christ in Longmeadow, says a new school was built within a year
An multi denominational coalition of ministries funds the school. Students from the nursing program at American International College in Springfield have also gotten involved. They hope it someday leads to an exchange program.
The family of a Massachusetts college student, Britney Gengel, who died in the earthquake in Haiti where she was doing volunteer work, are building an orphanage in her memory.. Her parents hope to dedicate the orphanage in Haiti on the third anniversary of the earthquake.