Haiti is several weeks post-earthquake. Royal Caribbean’s involvement is what one would expect from our company and people. The media has moved on to other topics or at least other aspects of the post-earthquake environment. Meanwhile, our people and guests continue to help. This will remain true for a very long time given Haiti’s needs.
I would like to thank the remarkable number of people who wrote letters, sent emails and posted on blogs in support of the calls of our ships and the importance of delivering supplies, maintaining economic activity and sustaining hope. Some of the most heartfelt communications came from our own employees including at headquarters.
Fortunately the number of employees who have not made contact with us has significantly reduced. For days it was stuck at 34 out of 50 and it seemed that we were facing a possible 68% death rate of our crew who were at home in Haiti on vacation. Now the number is down to 11 and none of those are confirmed dead. So we continue to hope that all of our crew are in fact safe but we simply do not know. Nine of the 11 have addresses in the Dominican Republic so we’re hoping some of the 11 were not even in Haiti at the time. Obviously we are trying to contact them to be sure.
The ships are routinely bringing in pallets of supplies and within a week we will have delivered over 1,000 pallets. There is a focus right now on getting three generators onboard to be delivered to schools in Haiti. Also by a week from now we will have contributed over $500,000 in proceeds from the revenue we normally earn during our Labadee calls. In addition, in aggregate our shoreside employees, guests and crew have donated $300,000 to relief efforts.
Maryse and Daniel Kedar continue to implement their water distribution efforts in PAP. John Weis has been back and forth between PAP and Florida as he settles into his new role working for the UN. While the world needs to be generous, there’s no substitute for knowledge of logistics, distribution, facilities and port infrastructure. John has all of this skill and experience and he will be invaluable to Dr. Paul Farmer’s efforts.
Our readers could not help but have heard about Haiti’s issues pre-earthquake. Some allege that the world was not paying attention until the earthquake. There were many stories about donor countries not releasing promised aid until relatively recently. What is less known is how much NGO involvement had been taking place in Haiti. According to President Clinton, when his office attempted to catalogue the NGOs who were present in Haiti, they quickly counted over 10,000 and stopped counting. Yes, over ten thousand groups of well meaning people were already trying to help Haiti before the earthquake. In order to move Haiti forward there will have to be a completely different kind of coordination in the future. The previous effort did not produce enough results.
I will continue to comment on all aspects of the Haiti effort as well as ask John and hopefully Maryse to guest blog as well. We are just beginning to plan out our longer term interests such as school construction and opening the Citadelle to our guests. Having said that, I need to mix the Haiti entries with everything that continues to go on in the rest of our exciting business. We have a backlog of entries that did not seem appropriate to post over the last few weeks but should be available to the readers.
Interested in helping? Royal Caribbean International is working with Food For The Poor and the Pan American Development Foundation. We encourage guests to make monetary donations to either of these organizations which are currently engaged in the relief effort. For even more information on Royal Caribbean’s humanitarian relief to Haiti, click HERE.