Letter in solidarity with the people of Haiti after its devastating earthquake

UPDATE- January 24th, 2010:
There are many ways you can take action in helping Haiti rebuild.
Join Doctors for Global Health and others to call for debt cancellation for Haiti.
Sign on this petition to cancel Haiti's existing debt which amounts to 890 Millions dollars and ensure new aid is providing in the form of grants, not loans.

UPDATE- January 15th, 2010: We just learned that the Department of Homeland Security had decided to grant TPS to Haitian nationals who were in the U.S. as of January 12, 2010.
For details, visit their website at http://www.dhs.gov/journal/theblog/
Many questions remain. What will happen to those currently detained, awaiting deportation?
And those who attempt to come to the US in the wake of the earthquake?

Thank you to everyone who took action on this important issue!

January 14th, 2010

We at Doctors for Global Health want to express our support and solidarity with the people of Haiti in the wake of the recent earthquake that struck the country on January 12, 2010.

Denise Zwahlen, Physician’s Assistant at Codman Square Health Center in Boston, MA, and DGH Board Member states: "here in Boston, where one of the largest concentrations of Haitians in the United States lives, this is not only news on the TV screen or in the newspaper but up close and personal. For so many of my co-workers and patients, what is the hardest is to not know what has happened to your loved ones and to fear the worst…"

Support is needed both in Haiti and in the Haitian communities in the U.S. The city and many groups around the U.S. are pulling together to develop a quick response in these critical days right after disaster hits.

Doctors for Global Health would like to suggest immediate actions you can take:

- Make a donation to support the relief efforts mounted by Partners in Health. PIH is already in Haiti and has been working there since 1987. Their facilities in Cange and Hinche have not been affected and they are in the process of setting up a field hospital in Port-au-Prince. Currently, there are 120 physicians and 500 nurses and health care workers at their disposal. Earthquake victims have already been pouring in to their clinics, and they are organizing the transfer of patients who need more specialized care to their hospitals. In addition to donations, they are looking for volunteers with experience in emergency and surgical care to join them. For more details, to donate, volunteer and to get updates, please visit their website at www.pih.org.

- Contact your Congressional representatives to ask them to support an initiative to grant Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to all undocumented Haitians who have been issued deportation orders and to release those who are held in detention, awaiting deportation. Homeland Security can grant TPS to nationals who cannot safely return to their homeland because of natural disaster. For more information, please visit the TransAfrica Forum website at http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5878/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=2365.

This is only the beginning. We would like to echo the words of Tracy Kidder in the New York Times today when he said “while earthquakes are acts of nature, extreme vulnerability to earthquakes is manmade” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/14/opinion/14kidder.html?ref=opinion). It is time to build new relationships between Haiti and the global community that find effective solutions to the social injustices that have created this extreme vulnerability.

In Solidarity,

Board of Directors, Doctors for Global Health