Oxfam team in place for Haiti earthquake response

By cengstrom

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PORT-AU-PRINCE — Following a major 7.0 earthquake near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, international aid agency Oxfam announced that its teams are ready to respond.  Early reports state that over two million people have been affected near the Port-au-Prince area, Haiti’s capital city.

Oxfam has a staff of about 200 people on the ground in Haiti and a team of 15 highly-experienced emergency specialists based in the capital will be responding with public health, water and sanitation services to prevent the spread of waterborne disease.

"The first step in an emergency will be getting clean water to people who need it as we know from experience that shocks like this disrupt water lines, and transportation is completely broken down," said Michael Delaney, director of Oxfam America’s humanitarian response department.

The agency announced that as soon as assessment teams have a fuller understanding of the emergency needs Haitians across the region face, Oxfam will work urgently to meet them now and in the coming days.

"As we’ve seen time and again, in emergencies the poor are hit the hardest," said Delaney. "Given the severity of this earthquake and the poverty of the country, our response will be long term."

Oxfam America organizer Sophia Lafontant has been in touch with family and friends in Port-au-Prince.  She said, "The scene described was something out of a movie or war zone. Gray filled skies, dust debris, and broken structures and bodies." 

To support Oxfam’s response in Haiti, please donate to the Haiti Earthquake Response Fund.

Donations can be made at www.oxfamamerica.org, by phone (1-800-77-OXFAM), by fax (1-617-728-2562) or by mail (Oxfam America, Haiti Earthquake Response Fund, PO Box 1211, Albert Lea, MN 56007-1211).