Action Report: Haitian relief efforts on two Fronts

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by Bill Capo / Action Reporter

wwltv.com

Posted on February 19, 2010 at 11:10 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 19 at 11:18 PM

Final briefings were held Friday at Belle Chasse Naval Air Station on plans to send 200 army reserve soldiers from New Orleans to Haiti.

"These guys are fired up, let me tell you," said Colonel Mike Ford.

The members of the 377th Theater Sustainment Command head to Texas Saturday for final training for their mission as part of Operation Unified Response, to help Haiti recover from the earthquake. They expect to be in Haiti by the end of the month, and their leaders say they not only have the ability to help, they understand what the victims are going through.

"These guys here, out of this headquarters, went through Katrina, so they know what it means to be the vicitm of a national disaster," Ford said.

The equipment they will bring to Haiti includes generators, portable water purification plants, even mobile command posts so they can accomplish a variety of tasks.

"We can clear roads, we can build runways, or cause that to happen. We can carry supplies to different places, we can organize airlift," Ford concluded. 

And if you're wondering what you can still do to help the earthquake victims in Haiti, well your help is needed. Donations are being collected right here in New Orleans.

A warehouse on Edwards Avenue in Elmwood has become the staging area for donations to the Louisiana-Haiti Sustainable Village Project. They say they already have enough donated supplies to fill a barge that is being shipped to Haiti.

"It's really very heartwarming how generous people have been," said Jacques Morial, of the Louisiana/Haiti Project,  "I think it is because of all that we've been through, and all the help we've received. We're going to fill this barge before it sails on Sunday morning, and we're working on a second barge."

To fill the second barge, they are depending on more donors bringing in supplies vitally needed in the devastated nation.

"Everything that you could think of that you needed after Katrina, and more is what the people of Haiti need, so they need houshold good, they need clothing."

They also need volunteers, so even Congressman Joseph Cao put his daughters to work, giving them a lesson about helping others.

"I told them about the destruction caused by the earthquake," Cao said.  "I actually told them that there are a lot of poor people in Haiti that we have to help." 

"We need medical supplies," Jacques Morial continued.   "We need shelter in the form of sturdy camping tents, we need drugstore type medicines, and we need bulk food, non perishable food."

You can contact the Louisiana/Haiti Sustainable Village Project by calling toll free 1-800-971-6640, or visit their website at www.louisianahelp.org/haiti.html.

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