News

Haitian refugees may be airlifted to CFB Trenton

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

NORTHUMBERLAND - The Salvation Army in Cobourg is among those offices on alert and ready to help if, and when, Haitian refugees are transported to CFB Trenton says the local director of family services for the Salvation Army in Port Hope.

"We're on standby if they need us," Dave Alexander said during an interview Friday after being contracted about this aspect of the relief project.

Alexander said he expected their help would be provided in the way of transporting food and clothing to the refugees - but beyond that he did not know what kind of assistance may be required after the refugees displaced by the massive earthquake and aftershocks in Haiti are flown to this part of Ontario.

In addition, the local Cobourg office 905-373-9440 is accepting monetary donations for the work ongoing in Haiti, he said. The Salvation Army has worked in Haiti for over 60 years, Alexander added.

As of Friday morning, the Red Cross estimated about 50,000, including four Canadians, have died as a result of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that destroyed almost every building on the ground in the Port-Au-Prince area of Haiti last Tuesday. While over 1,400 Canadians in the country remain missing, about 270 have been airlifted back to Canada on military aircraft, according to published reports.

Aid is pouring in from all around the world and many organizations are offering various ways for individuals to get involved.

Already acrylic collection boxes are filling up on the counter in the Cobourg LCBO, said manager Bob Reynolds in an interview Friday. The front of the container reads: "Your Help is Urgently Needed." The money will go directly to the Canadian Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Reflief Fund. Donations can be made at any LCBO store.

"The Canadian government has said it will match every dollar Canadians contribute to the relief effort in Haiti up to a maximum of $50-million," states a media release from the LCBO.

District 7070 of Rotary is supporting the relief effort by sending Shelter Boxes which can house a family of up to 10, provide water purification tablets, food, a small cooking stove, sleeping mats and blankets. Within a day of making the decision this week, 47 boxes from the district were dedicated to the relief effort, said Cobourg Rotarian Gail Moore and more are coming. All five Rotary clubs in Northumberland have pledged to be part of the shelter box effort, she said.

Walmart is accepting donations at all its Canadian stores.

Sears Canada has announced all its retail stores, including the outlet in Cobourg, are taking donations in the form of cash or credit cards.

"Donations made by Sears customers on their Sears card or Sears MasterCard" will earn points, states a media release. These donations are also eligible to be matched by the Canadian government, Sears says. Donations can also be made on line at www.sears.ca.

The Royal Canadian Legion, Quebec Command, has also set up a special bank account for the relief effort through the Red Cross. There was no local Legion information about this at press time but cheques can be sent to 1000 St-Antoine St. W., #410 Montreal QC H3C 3R7.

Donations can also be made directly to Red Cross offices like those on Ward Street in Port Hope or www.redcross.ca

vmacdonald@northumberlandtoday.com