DGA Chair Gov. Jack Markell shares his thoughts and prayers with the families affected by the earthquake and the many volunteers who are helping them survive: “Our prayers are many these days. They are with everyone who experienced this tragic loss. They are with everyone are fighting each day for survival in Haiti and those who answered the call to help. They are with the brave volunteers from Delaware, hard at work in Jacmel, and everyone supporting them from home.”
“At times like these, we’re not Republican or Democrats. We’re Americans living up to our long tradition of helping our neighbors in catastrophic need, even when we face a challenging economy ourselves,” said Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association . “Together, we’re urging citizens to donate what they can to reputable aid organizations, readying our National Guard units and offering comfort to the Haitian communities in our states.”
Governors are mobilizing resources on the ground to make a difference in Haiti. In their states, they have helped airlift hundreds of thousands of pounds of food and supplies to Haiti, encouraged the members of the military deploying on humanitarian missions and established registries to help track the missing and reunite loved ones.
Some highlights of their efforts are below:
On a request from the Haitian ambassador to the United States, Governor Ed Rendell flew to Haiti to rescue 54 Haitian orphans. The Haitian children are now safely in the United States and on track to join adoptive families.
Images of the skinny, shell-shocked little survivors of the earthquake being carried off a plane in Pittsburgh compelled hundreds of people to reach for their phones or send an e-mail with the same question: How can I adopt one of the Haitian orphans?
Gov. Rendell, and the 53 homeless children whose rescue he orchestrated amid the disaster, had barely touched down in Pennsylvania Tuesday morning when phones began humming at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.
Over the last two days, the agency has logged 430 phone calls from people who said they wanted to become adoptive or foster parents for Haitian orphans, said Karen L. Blumen, deputy director of the Office of Community Relations.
Gov. Bill Ritter welcomed 32 Haitian orphans to Colorado [on January 24], capping a 10-day effort to reunite children from earthquake-ravaged Port-au-Prince with their adoptive families here in Colorado.
“Thanks to the patience, perseverance and determination of many people and organizations, today we were able to bring all of these children together with their new families,” Gov. Ritter said at Denver International Airport. “While getting these kids to Colorado was a major milestone, there are still more Haitian children waiting to come to Colorado, and many more Colorado families living on pins and needles waiting for them to arrive. We are going to keep up the pressure until all of these children are together with their new families.”
For the past week and a half, Gov. Ritter’s Office and the Colorado Department of Human Services have been working closely with the U.S. military and Departments of Homeland Security and State to get the orphans out of Haiti and processed through customs in Florida.
Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland visited with the crew of the USNS Comfort as they prepared their ship for a relief mission to Haiti.
Airmen with the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing are working around-the-clock in an effort to get critical life-saving supplies into the hands of Haiti’s earthquake victims.
The air base in Martinsburg, W.Va., was transformed Jan. 14 into a staging area for more than 332,000 pounds of supplies bound for the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of pounds more are expected to be palletized at the air base for shipment to Haiti in the coming days.
“Presently there is little information from Haiti because the earthquake caused extensive damage to Haiti’s infrastructure,” Governor Paterson said. “Although there is a massive international relief effort under way, it will take time until Haiti’s infrastructure is restored and systems are in place to help locate and identify individuals.
“However, collecting information now about New York citizens in Haiti will help locate them once information becomes available,” the Governor added. “Once the massive response to this catastrophe is in place, I am sure a number of organizations will work to reunite loved ones. This registry will be of vital importance to that effort.”
“I’m proud that the Illinois National Guard has been called upon to support the people of Haiti in their time of need,” said Governor Quinn. “This state will do all that it can to assist in this international effort.”
Governor Granholm: In difficult times we pull together to help one another.
There are hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti who need food, water, shelter and medicine, and the need is urgent and immediate. Monetary donations are the most efficient and effective way to help in the relief effort. They allow humanitarian organizations to purchase the exact type and quantity of items needed by those affected by the crisis.
I encourage anyone who is able to contribute to the American Red Cross to help with the relief efforts in Haiti. You can donate through your local Red Cross or online at www.redcross.org. You can also donate via cell phone by texting HAITI to 90999. An amount of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross and charged to your cell phone bill.
Please keep the people of Haiti and their families and friends around the world in your thoughts and prayers.
Governor Strickland: Today, our thoughts and prayers remain with everyone in Haiti, as well as the family and friends of Haitians here in the United States who may be in search of loved ones or grieving a loss. We know that many Ohioans are looking for ways they can financially assist with the relief efforts in Haiti. We are encouraging Ohioans to donate what they can afford to help the families who are struggling and without essential needs as a result of this catastrophe. The compassion and charity of Ohioans can go a long way toward helping Haitians who may be left with next to nothing.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people who have been devastated by this earthquake, and should our service be needed, Oregon’s National Guard stands ready to assist in the recovery effort,” said Governor Ted Kulongoski. “Our citizen soldiers are trained to assist in efforts like this at home and abroad – and if called, stand ready to serve.”
“The Haiti earthquake has claimed thousands of lives and has left many more without homes, food or water,” Governor Doyle said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected by this tragedy, and Wisconsin is ready to step up and help any way we can.”