More than a week after the tragic 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti, relief efforts continue from Florida’s Port Everglades and Miami-based Royal Caribbean International.
Yesterday, A White House press release notes “The vessel Americas departed Port Everglades today with 500,000 MREs, 290,000 liters of drinking water, 8,400 cots, 19,500 blankets, 41,800 tarps, 560 rolls of sheeting, and 70,000 comfort kits provided by FEMA, as well as medical supplies provided by USAID.”
As relief efforts continue to be coordinated by more United States presence on the island, the release goes on to say that Whitehouse.gov, The White House website continues to serve as a focal point for information for about the relief effort, including accounting for family and friends in Haiti and contributing to the relief effort.
Florida Today reports that a number of groups here in Florida have mobilized to help in the effort also
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean International, in the face of some growing, headline-grabbing criticism, continues it’s relief efforts, bringing supplies directly to the area on their ships that call at Labadee, the private resort leased from the Haitian government. At this time, Royal Caribbean is the only tour operator continuing to support the island in ways that will continue long after the initial disaster-relief operation has concluded.
Viewed with skepticism from some critics and passengers (see video), the ongoing support of the Haitian people that Royal Caribbean has provided for decades is a good example of the corporate citizenship needed to not only address the current situation but to open the door to a new tomorrow for the island.
Cruise passengers returning from ships that have called at Labadee since the earthquake tell top cruise information source CruiseCritic.com:
“There were many mixed feelings … we were aware that we were nearly 100 miles from the earthquake zone. We knew the ship was delivering supplies and we understood we were welcomed from the Haitians as they still wanted to generate economic activity in their area. In my opinion, the visitors seemed to be on their best behavior and were very generously buying crafts from the markets…and it appears to me that RCI appreciates and cares for these people”
I will be on board Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas next week when the ship calls at Labadee and will report back first-hand on the experience. Until then, it is good to know that Florida-based businesses, organizations and individuals are pitching in to help during this time of need.
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