Puerto Rico joins humanitarian push to help Haiti
The island is sending 20 national guardsmen to help search for survivors, but also food, water and medical supplies among many more.
On Saturday, Aug. 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the Caribbean island of Haiti. The death toll has reached 1,419 people and more than 6,900 were injured, while an unknown number are still missing.
Medical equipment such as bandages and peroxide are sparse, food is almost non-existent, and survivors are losing hope.
To help, Puerto Rico is doing what it can.
Omar J. Marrero, secretary of state in Puerto Rico, announced the island’s nonprofit organization, the Puerto Rican Solidarity Alliance, is partnering with the Haiti Se Pone De Pie (Haiti Stands Up) Foundation to provide much-needed supplies to the island.
He also stated that the organization will start a collection at the Navy Frontier dock in Puerta de Tierra, San Juan. The donation drive will be in place seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Puerto Rican locals will be donating canned goods, diapers, antibacterial wipes, and other important items in response to the earthquake.
Marrero also announced the National Guard of Puerto Rico(NGPR) arrived in Haiti on Tuesday, Aug. 17 to help search for Haitian citizens who have been missing since Saturday’s earthquake.
The National Guard will also participate in immediate medical response and work with others in distributing essential items.
It was reported that three helicopters from NGPR headed to Haiti with around 20 soldiers.
"This morning, we held a meeting with various government agencies such as the Puerto Rico National Guard and the Ports Authority to centralize humanitarian aid together with the Puerto Rican Solidarity Alliance and the Haiti Stands Up Foundation, entities with which we have made an alliance to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti in this stage of the emergency," Marrero said to PR Headline News.
Major General José J. Reyes, the Adjutant General, and the commanding officer of the Puerto Rico National Guard, said how crucial it is to protect and help Haiti, especially since they are close neighbors.
“We are prepared to fulfill our humanitarian responsibility towards our Caribbean brothers in their time of need,” he said to PR headline News. “Twenty Citizen-Soldiers specialists in aviation will be mobilizing to Haiti to assist and carry out search and rescue operations, medical transport, and aerial reconnaissance and assessment of the damage caused by the earthquake.”
Puerto Rico and Haiti are only 376 mi away from one another. The Dominican Republic is the only plot of land geographically between both islands.
However, Haiti has been the victim of many traumatic events in the past year and decade For instance, the Caribbean island is currently still overwhelmed with the assassination of its President, Jovenel Moïse and the attempted assassination of their first lady, Martine Moise.
Moïse was killed at his residence on July 7, 2021. So far, according to the Wall Street Journal, around 44 suspects have been detained by Haitian police. They range from 18 Colombian former soldiers to Haitian police officers, including two government officials.
In addition, the island is still recovering from the devastating earthquake that killed around 200,000 people and injured 300,000 on Jan. 12, 2010. The shock spread all over Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti whose population, before the earthquake, was 2,141,000.