Rev. Richard ButlerThe Reporter has made contact with Fr. Richard J. Butler, a Boston Archdiocesan priest who arrived in Haiti on Tuesday, just hours before the quake. Butler, a senior priest at St. Mary of the Assumption in Brookline, was traveling to a Boston-affiliated hospital— St. Boniface— in the southern town of Fond des Blanc when the earthquake hit.
In an e-mail today he reports the following:
"We arrived Tuesday at 1:30 at Port au Prince and were almost at Fond des Blancs when the earthquake occurred. Thank God as we arrived at the St. Boniface Hospital the damage was minor. We quickly heard how severe was the damage elsewhere.
"We have had continuing tremors and are staying alert but we are safe."
Senator John Kerry's office has just issued a statement on efforts to restore communications in Haiti. Kerry is Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. He characterized yesterday as the today commented on efforts by "the biggest day in history for mobile phone generated charity."
Kerry's statement also brought new information about Spirit Airlines, which he says is "resuming flights in and out of Haiti on Thursday, January 14."
Western Union, the money transfer company, has begun offering "no fee" money transfers to Haiti today, the company tells the Haitian Reporter. The company says the offer is good on "any amount sent to Haiti from the United States, Canada and France... for a period of seven days, once service is reestablished throughout the country, when sending money to Haiti from the U.S., Canada and in France, in cooperation with our Agents."
Local unions are organizing efforts to raise funds for Haiti after a massive earthquake devastated the poor island nation.
SEIU Local 1199, which has 4,000 Haitians among its membership, will be fundraising and planning to send a delegation to Haiti to offer volunteer services from nurses and other health workers, according to Herbert Jean-Baptiste, chair of the Haitian Caucus within the union.
He is also working to get SEIU Locals 615 and 509 involved as well, he said.
Donna Barry, chief policy director for the Boston-based Partners in Health organization, says that the organization is now registering health care workers who are willing to go to Haiti.
"If you are a health professional interested in volunteering, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with information on your credentials, language capabilities (Haitian Creole or French desired), availability, and contact information."
Go here for more info.
Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office has issued a cautionary message to those looking to donate funds to help earthquake victims in Haiti: beware of scammers and illegitimate agencies seeking to take advantage of the groundswell of sympathy.