Thursday, January 28, 2010

Disaster Relief in Haiti: challenges ahead for KIRF

We are communicating with people who just got back from Haiti and those who are still there. We know where to go on the island now. The challenge now is getting reliable transportation from the border of the Dominican Republic to several orphanages near Port-au-Prince. Next week it will be KIRF's team of three and thousands of other relief workers from international NGO's such as the World Food Programme, CARE, Red Cross, Oxfam,World Vision, etc.--all dealing with the transportation problem. The stories from aid workers at the border have been "interesting".

The earthquake relief effort in Haiti is an almost over-whelming situation with an entrenched generations-in-the-making- foreign aid dependent economy with socio-economic structural barriers to health, education and financial self-sufficiency by the 95% or so of Haitians who are not elite. And, the country had a failed economy and government-- before the earthquake--due to a variety of reasons outside of the average Haitian's control. This trip may be our biggest challenge yet.

However, I expect success. It will just take some creativity and resourcefulness but we will be able to make a difference like so many times before. KIRF C0-founder Mark has been through rough aid situations in primitive conditions before in areas such as in rural Bihar (India), Cambodia, and indigenous villages in crises mode after being leveled by the earthquake in Peru. The key to success is understanding the culture and the people through local contacts. Mark will be accompanied by two KIRF volunteers: both experienced in traveling in primitive conditions in impoverished areas. And, one of the volunteers has worked in Haiti. If we could get aid into Burma after Typhoon Nargis, we can certainly get aid into Haiti.

Donate to KIRF's Stage II disaster relief for Haiti>
(Donations earmarked for Haiti in the next few weeks will go to helping survivors of the earthquake in Haiti.)

KIRF delivers Stage II relief to people who need it the most but due to socio-economic structural barriers may not have access to it through formal channels controlled by elites.

Stage II relief is disaster relief that occurs generally after the elemental needs for immediate survival such as water, medical aid, food and safety are met. Our stage II relief projects are focused on social, economic and environmental sustainability. We help people regain their financial self-sufficiency and quality of life. Our aid endeavors to be also environmentally sustainable. When coordinating disaster relief in an afflicted area we find local community leaders or humanitarian institutions (schools, medical clinics, churches) and work with them to deliver in-kind aid and aid solutions that are culturally appropriate and go to those most in need.

Read about our sustainable Stage II disaster relief projects at>

Thank you for your support,


Kirwin International Relief Foundation (KIRF)

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