On Aug. 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the southern part of Haiti. The natural disaster, which was similar in magnitude to a catastrophic quake that hit the island nation in 2010, came just over a month after assassins murdered Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in his home.
Haiti, already in political disarray, has since plunged into abject despair. As the earthquake’s death toll climbed to more than 2,200 people — with 12,260 people injured, 344 people still missing and some 130,000 houses damaged or destroyed — aid has been slow to arrive.
And with hurricane season in full swing with three potential storms brewing in the Atlantic, more harm could still be on the way.
While politicians have been quick with thoughts and prayers, that simply isn’t enough, Chambliss said by email.
On Tuesday, Chambliss, Giménez and members of the Homestead Ministerial Alliance launched the South Dade Haitian Relief Task Force, which he described as “an open collaboration between South Dade elected officials at the local, state and federal levels of government along with non-profits and Haitian community leaders.”
The task force, which is to meet every Tuesday and Friday “until further notice,” has five goals:
— Bring together community stakeholders and others interested in supporting the Haitian community
— Provide updates and analyses of the ongoing crisis in Haiti
— Share information and strategies to identify effective collaborative opportunities
— Share information and opportunities with the greater Haitian community
— Target the Haitian Community with direct support efforts through January 2022, followed by an assessment measuring continued needs in the community.
“The goal of this effort is to have the task force grow in size, so that there can be a consolidation and coordination effort on behalf of our community that can have a positive and deep impact on our brothers and sisters in Haiti and the diaspora,” Chambliss said in a statement, adding that anyone interested in joining the task force or attending a meeting can contact his office “at any time.”