Washington (DC), Today, Congressman Al Green (TX-09) expressed his deep condolences to the people of Haiti in the wake of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the capital of Port-Au-Prince on Tuesday. The Congressman also pledged to cooperate with federal and local authorities to assist with the relief efforts they are coordinating.
“This is a horrific tragedy. The earthquake was brutal, the most powerful to hit Haiti in more than 200 years. It has distressed a very poor and humble nation. Haiti is our neighbor and, therefore, the United States is strongly committed to leading the international relief efforts that are being carried out as we speak,” said Congressman Green.
The Congressman noted that due to the severe damage to Haiti’s infrastructure, it is very difficult to determine how many people have lost their lives in the disaster.
“The United States and nations from around the world are coordinating relief efforts that focus on the rescue of those who are alive, as well as providing medical attention to the survivors,” he explained. The Congressman added that the supply of water, food and medicine, and construction of temporary shelters are priorities during the next few hours.
Congressman Green’s Washington and Houston District offices are in constant contact with the federal and local authorities coordinating the response to this catastrophe. In Houston, Congressman Green’s office is working with the local Haitian-American community.
“Haiti needs the help of the United States. Haiti has helped other nations and now we need urgent assistance to re-build our country. We need a commitment in the long run from many sectors such as medical providers, manufacturers and representatives of the construction industry,” said Roselene Alexis, the head of Haiti Earthquake Relief 2010 in Houston, who is originally from Haiti.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2,518 Houstonians have Haitian ancestry.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) reports Haiti is one of the world’s poorest countries and suffered $900 million in hurricane-related damages before yesterday’s earthquake. The World Bank classifies Haiti as a low-income, chronic food deficit country because it produces less than half of its food needs (43 percent in 2008) and 46 percent of Haitians do not have access to potable water.
The struggles of the Haitian people are of great concern to Congressman Green. He noted that the unemployment rate is between 70 and 80 percent, 54 percent of the population lives on less than $1 per day, and illiteracy is estimated at 44 percent.