The 7.0 earthquake that hit and devastated portions of Haiti, including its capital city Port-au-Prince, yesterday January 12, occurred thousands of miles away, but residents of Madison, Wisconsin are stepping up to the plate to offer assistant.
In fact, a of number residents were in Haiti, working in a variety of humanitarian capacities, when the earthquake hit, including seven University of Wisconsin-Madison students volunteering with the Milwaukee-based Haiti Project.
According to Channel 3 News, five of the students returned safely Tuesday evening. The other two are said to be still in Haiti, but reportedly are safe.
Another group, consisting of five students and a professional engineering advisor working with Engineers Without Borders, is reported to be safe in the village of Bayonnais, approximately 70 miles north of the capital. According to Channel 15 News they were working to help build a small hydroelectric plant at the time of the earthquake.
The Catholic Diocese of Madison is coordinating to send aid to Haiti through Catholic Relief Services. Bishop Robert Morlino issued a press statement today encouring parishes and individuals throughout the diocese to “do all they could for the people currently suffering in Haiti.” The Bishop authorized an immediate disbursement of $25,000 to sent to Catholic Relief Services specifically for aid to Haiti, and anticipates more fundraising to follow. Haiti is predominantly a Catholic country. It’s Archbishop Serge Miot, as well as hundreds of priests, are reported to have died as a result of the earthquake.
Sen. Kohl comments on Haiti earthquake damage
Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) released the following statement regarding the tradgedy in Haiti today, along with the embedded link:
In light of the extensive damage caused by the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the U.S. Department of State has set up an Operations Center and Haitian Task Force to help locate and assist U.S. Citizens currently in Haiti and notify family members of these individuals in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Department of State website at the following link http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1134.html for updated information on the situation. You will also find contact numbers and further instructions on how to get information on U.S. Citizen friends and loved ones currently in Haiti.
As communication in and out of the island is very difficult at this time, you may not get information about a specific individual immediately. This office has been assured by the State Department that the situation is being closely monitored and every possibly measure is being taken to locate and assist U.S. Citizens.
Sen. Feingold comments on Haiti devastation
Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) released this statement today:
My thoughts are with the people of Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake that has taken many lives and caused overwhelming damage. As the Obama administration organizes relief efforts to get the Haitian people much needed assistance, the American people stand ready to help our Haitian neighbors with whatever assistance we can provide, and many have already begun to offer help. Once again, I extend my deepest sympathies to the Haitian people and people around the world who lost friends and loved ones in this terrible disaster.