An earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale struck Haiti on January 12 2010, resulting in an unprecedented scale of disaster and despair. More than 300 000 people died and millions were left homeless. The Al-Imdaad Foundation responded to the crisis by dispatching its team of relief workers to Port-au-Prince. Headed by AIF projects co-ordinator Qari Ziyaad Patel, they worked closely with the South African Emergency Operations Committee to co-ordinate a comprehensive response to the disaster.
The AIF team visited relief camps in Port-au-Prince and reported massive infrastructural damage, deaths and injury, coupled with incidents of violence and looting of aid convoys.
AIF’s relief team was based in the Dominican Republic, and co-ordinated a massive food distribution drive in Port-au-Prince during the week of February 08. The South African ambassador to Cuba Phatse Justice Piitso met the AIF team before the convoy of 11 trucks - the largest African aid convoy to Haiti - left to deliver over 100 tons of aid to the affected population.
The trucks transporting food packages, water buckets and gas stoves were based at Port-au-Prince International Airport under armed protection. The distribution drive occurred on Wednesday February 10th under the protection of soldiers from the United Nations Jordanian battalion. Proudly bearing the South African flag, AIF first handed out relief items at an orphanage destroyed by the quake, and then to residents of an area called Taba. The final leg of the distribution drive was completed in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme. Recipients included some poor UN staff, who formally expressed their gratitude to the AIF team for their assistance. More than 20 000 people in total benefited from the food aid distributed.
The Al-Imdaad Foundation’s relief activities featured prominently in the local media in Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince, and government officials there publicly expressed their gratitude to South Africa for their commitment to assisting the Haitian people.
Qari Ziyaad Patel reported that the relief mission to Haiti was challenging but successful. While search, rescue and food aid operations have ceased, AIF is assessing the possibility of long-term water and housing projects to help rebuild infrastructure in the country
AIF RESPONDS WITH MUCH NEEDED FOOD AID
15 Feb 2010
AIF delivers over 100 tons of food aid to different suburbs of Port-au-Prince
Fresh bottled drinking water was distributed to various communities across Haiti