Letter from Haitian American Law Enforcement Officers Association
Submitted to AlterPresse on October 2, 2004
Hurricane Jeanne’s flooding in Haiti has bought about the most severe loss of life and property damage from one storm in a single country so far this hurricane season. There have been apparently over 2,000 deaths and as many as 300,000 reported homeless. The suffering is horrendous and unrelenting in a nation that even without the devastation of hurricane winds and floods had been subject to extreme levels of poverty and despair.
The Haitian American Law Enforcement Officers Association and several Haitian American organizations are joining forces to do everything possible to get help and relief to the victims as soon as we can. HALEOA is standing up to be of service and to help lead the way at this critical time. We are continuing to collect goods such as tools, nonperishable canned foods, water, clothing, shoes, and personal hygiene items. We are working to get relief shipments transported to Haiti and to train and prepare disaster relief teams to deliver donated emergency supplies to the most impacted areas of Haiti.
We are fortunate indeed to have the participation and guidance of Paul Novack, who has previously led disaster relief teams into Haiti and who has vast experience in helping to credibly and effectively provide emergency relief and to establish working democratic institutions. His work is legendary and he continues to inspire us all.
This endeavor intends to not only provide relief supplies to victims, but also to create permanent capacities for leadership, management, and coordination amongst members of the Haitian communities involved. That is one of the things that we have learned from Mr. Novack, that we can simultaneously provide emergency supplies AND leave behind a lasting ability for the Haitian people to become more self-sufficient and productive for the good of the future of their communities and their nation. In this way we serve Haiti, and the United States, and help to produce long term benefits for both.
We are also fortunate to have the help and leadership of Nadine Patrice of Operation Greenleaves as an active participant in our effort. The fact that the recent disaster was as terrible as it was is partially a result of environmental conditions in Haiti, including the vast deforestation of some much of the land area. Operation Greenleaves has focused on this problem for many years now, and its expertise at this time of crisis is invaluable to our efforts.
All volunteers are welcome. Everyone’s prayers, support and encouragement are vitally important. Please contact me for more information about our ongoing efforts.
Yves Lafontant (786-306-4419)
President & Founder of H.A.L.E.O.A
President, International Criminal Justice Association, Florida International University