The Need Is Great
Congresswoman Richardson on Haiti
The tragic events in Haiti have energized Black elected officials like no other tragedy since Hurricane Katrina - including L.A.'s Congresswoman Laura Richardson.
By Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Managing Editor
Like the rest of the world, Congresswoman was moved by the tragic events in Haiti and, along with President Barack Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBS), she has been has taken several measured steps to assist the people of Haiti in their time of dire need.
There are many Haitian nationals in her congressional district (CA-37) and they have looked to her for some support in learning about their friends and family back home. And she in turn, has reached out on their behalf and stated, "In my district which includes Compton, Long Beach, Carson, Watts and Willowbrook, I have been personally instrumental in leading the disaster relief effort for the people of Haiti like the one we did for the tsunami in American Somoa. Members in our district have been responsible for collecting clothes, money and other non-perishable items to go back to Haiti; the city of Carson has contributed $5000 to the relief effort in Haiti and in Long Beach, we've contributed $40,0000 in cash to the relief effort.
"As a member of the CBC, you can be assured that I will do whatever is required as a member of Congress to assist in the ongoing relief effort for Haiti," the Congresswoman continued.
In addition to gathering donations - money, clothes, non-perishable items - many public officials and government representatives have visited the devastated island to be able to see for themselves the scope of the work to be done and the massive outlay of aid that is needed, not only governmental and/or American, but also private assistance, NGOs (non-governmental agencies) and other countries. Relative to her future plans to visit Haiti, Congresswoman Richardson said, "It is not on my immediate itinerary, but I do plan to go there in the near future, so that I may better be able to continue my relief efforts and report to my constituents especially the Haiti nationals."
At present, there have been many reports that the people have not been receiving the aid in a timely and appropriate manner, plus the logistics in reaching those who are in the most need are burdensome at best. Prior to the January 12 earthquake - and the aftershocks that have occurred - the country's infrastructure was in need of immediate repair and the 'quake has added to the crisis of needed repairs.
It has also been learned that the people of Port au Prince, the capital, where most of the damage was done and where most of the country's population reside, are still afraid of returning to their homes for fear of aftershocks. As a consequence, the need for tents as temporary housing is tremendous and until that need is filled, many of the people are forced to literally live on the streets.
The people of Haiti need all the help they can get from all who are able to give, and they are going to need it for a long time.