haiti earthquake

Toronto volunteers sending thousands of supplies to Haiti for earthquake relief

A Toronto organization is joining the aid effort to get emergency supplies to Haiti after the devastating earthquake on Saturday.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Les Cayes and Jeremie on Haiti's southern peninsula on Aug. 14.

At least 1,900 people were killed and nearly 10,000 injured in the quake, destroying homes in an area of about 1.5 million people.

Toronto-based Global Medic joined the international effort to get aid into the county, which is no easy task, Rahul Singh, executive director for Global Medic tells blogTO.

During the pandemic, there have been fewer flights to the region. Then, once the kits arrive, there are several obstacles such as gang attacks, rough roads and limited access to small villages.

"Logistically this is a nightmare," Singh says.

Fortunately, the organization, which has provided disaster relief since 2002, had already sent 2,320 family emergency kits to Haiti in May in anticipation of storms during Atlantic hurricane season, Singh says.

In those kits, there is a water purification system (ceramic filter), hygiene items, a solar light and Pedialyte for dehydration.

"That's our first level of response."

Tropical storm Grace hit on Monday, which made matters much worse for people trying to recover from the earthquake.

"There is incredible needs in Haiti, they need all the basics."

On Aug. 18 Global Medic packed about 1,600 kits in locations in Kitchener, Brampton and Etobicoke with about 10 to 15 people at each shift. Because of COVID-19, they are limiting the numbers of people on a packing shift.

Global Medic volunteers packed culturally appropriate food in buckets — rice, peas and grains. The small buckets protect the food and can be packed in small spaces for transport into remote locations. The bucket can then be used to gather water.

The kits will be sent via airplane then boat, depending on what is accessible. But Global Medic is also buying local items in Haiti to get aid to the area hit by the earthquake more quickly.

Anyone interested in helping out with the efforts can donate on the Global Medic website.

Lead photo by

John Tory

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