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Helping Haiti

January 14th, 2010 by Mindel DeLaTorre - Chief of the International Bureau

[You can find a January 15 update here.] [January 20]

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On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, an earthquake struck off the coast of Haiti, causing major damage and loss of life in Haiti, a country of 9 million people.  The United States Geological Survey (USGS) called it the strongest earthquake in this area since 1770. The epicenter of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit 10 miles west of the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince and its 2 million inhabitants. Other parts of Haiti apparently have not suffered the extent of damage that Port-au-Prince has, where loss of human life and infrastructure devastation is expected to be very high. 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is undertaking a variety of efforts, in conjunction with our Federal partners and international agencies, to aid Haiti in its recovery.  We are doing so now and our commitment is for the longer-term.  Chairman Julius Genachowski and the entire agency convey our sympathies and ongoing concerns to the people of Haiti for the loss of life and destruction in the country.  In a statement the day after the earthquake, Chairman Genachowski offered that “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti during this terrible tragedy.”  The FCC also is taking specific actions to help, including:   

  • ** Issuing a press release by the FCC Media Bureau on procedures for noncommercial educational stations to follow in order to waive the Commission’s rules for fundraising appeals to support relief efforts;

  • ** Reaching out to the U.S. Agency for International Development on Haitian relief and restoration efforts as it relates to telecommunications;

  • ** Contacting regulatory counterparts in Haiti expressing FCC’s condolences and concern and offering immediate and longer-term assistance;

  • ** Conducting continuous outreach to Haitian communications providers to determine their operating status and to offer technical assistance in the relief efforts and longer-term communication restoration efforts;

  • ** Reaching out to communications providers, including satellite, wireless, wireline, and submarine cable providers, as well as broadcasters, to determine communications impact and current needs regarding telecommunications services between the U.S. and Haiti, and within the country; and

  • ** Collecting information about the telecommunications situation and needs in Haiti;and establishing a group of agency staff experts for particular issues to review and identify technical solutions.

  • At the FCC, we’ll continue to help regarding the communications priorities and needs in Haiti.

    We have been advised that anyone who wishes to help can do so by donating to the Red Cross to assist the relief effort. Contribute online to the Red Cross, or donate $10 to be charged to your cell phone bill by texting "HAITI" to "90999."  Find more ways to help through the Center for International Disaster Information.

    Families of Americans living in Haiti are encouraged to contact the State Department at 888-407-4747.



6 Responses to “Helping Haiti”

  1. Dan says:

    A team of New York architects is flying to Haiti this week with prototypes of an octagonal vinyl structure they hope will help house some of the 1.5 million Haitians still homeless because of the Jan. 12 earthquake.

    The first of the aluminum-and-steel octagonal structures will be built in Jacmel in southern Haiti under an arrangement with the nonprofit group Rural Haiti Project. Each has 166 square feet of space and is designed to withstand wind, hurricanes and earthquakes<a href="http://www.waterdamageout.com">.</a>

  2. Ako says:

    The United Nations is urging residents in Haiti to show patience and restraint as they await the results of this past Sunday's presidential runoff election, in which former first lady Mirlande Manigat faced off against popular singer Michel Martelly.

    <a href="http://bgsportal.blogspot.com/" rel="dofollow">Current Top News</a>

  3. Guest says:

    There is no mention about the ham radio community providing volunteer communications access to disasters like the earthquake in Haiti in your press release...I guess the FCC considers the amateur radio community a non-essential part of world-wide disaster communications.

  4. Greg says:

    Oh please, like there are even any HAM operators in Haiti. That comment is ridiculous.

  5. Guest ham says:

    part Right - there are is less than a page of Haitian call signs listed. Radio nets are active - messages few. So hams can support voluenteers, citizens there and/or get themselves deployed, or send money to one of the 3000+ non govt groups there. They may need dollars to buy a water bucket more than bottles of water.

    But - I hear the Red Cross and relief workers (some are hams) are now able to use two repeaters (fore-runner of cell phones) that a Dominican Republic radio club restored to working order in eastern Haiti. Thank-you to their helpers and drivers.

    ? How would you get a reciprocal operating permit to operate a USA ham radio station in Haiti? The address for agency listed with a post office box in Port-au-Prince. Is there a new address? Could you just have the form stamped by imigration if or when we get there? Haiti Forms are near the bottom of the page on reciprocal license on the ARRL org page.

  6. Daniel Pardieu says:

    Hi, my name's Daniel Pardieu. I was born & raised in Haiti, Port-au-Prince. I haven't seen my father or my family since the year 2000. But, i have heard from them, they're alive, but not safe. I miss them so much, and i can't wait to see them, may GOD be with them. I pray for the Haitian Nation. J'AIME HAITI. FOREVER

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