Haitian re­lief worker in Ja­maica pleads for Haiti

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Corey Robin­son Staff Re­porter corey.robin­son@glean­erjm.com

HE NOW calls Ja­maica home, but Lieut Le­an­dre Ro­liams’ heart re­mains in Haiti, the land of his birth.

Last week, Ro­liams was lead­ing the Sal­va­tion Army’s ef­forts at shel­ters in Port­land as Hur­ri­cane Matthew took aim at Ja­maica.

While Ja­maica was spared Matthew’s wrath, Haiti was not that lucky, with more than 900 per­sons feared dead up to yes­ter­day.

Now Ro­liams is turn­ing his at­ten­tion to his home­land and he is urg­ing Haitian au­thor­i­ties, and the re­gion, to fo­cus on pro­vid­ing quick re­sponses for the thou­sands be­ing housed in shel­ters in that coun­try.

“The main pri­or­ity for the au­thor­i­ties now is to get food Lieut Le­an­dre Ro­liams (right) and his wife Shadene, with blan­kets ready to hand out to per­sons in the Sal­va­tion Army shel­ter in Port An­to­nio, Port­land, last week.

AT TOP: Homes lay in ru­ins after the pass­ing of Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, last Thurs­day. sup­ply quickly as a short-term re­sponse to the peo­ple. They need wa­ter and they need food items be­cause there have been over 10,000 peo­ple shel­tered,” Ro­liams told The Sun­day Gleaner.


Matthew left a trail of death and de­struc­tion across the coun­try, es­pe­cially in Grand-Anse, lo­cated at the north­ern tip of the penin­sula, and the death toll is ex­pected to rise as the au­thor­i­ties and aid work­ers con­tinue to make their way into the hard-hit ar­eas.

Sev­eral homes, build­ings and prop­er­ties were de­stroyed, and up to yes­ter­day there were re­ports of per­sons des­per­ately in search of clean wa­ter, cling­ing to the few be­long­ings they could sal­vage from their de­stroyed homes.

“They have to make sure that they are OK. They need toi­letries. Now they are not in the re­build­ing process, they are in quick re­sponse to deal with the prob­lem,” Ro­liams stated, ar­gu­ing that food and health re­sources are more needed than fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance at the mo­ment.

Ro­liams and his wife have been liv­ing in Ja­maica for many years, but said he is con­cerned for rel­a­tives back home, even though their com­mu­nity was not among the hard­est hit by the storm.

“My rel­a­tives are lo­cated in the west of Haiti. They are not so much af­fected re­ally, just mi­nor dam­age,” he told The Sun­day Gleaner, adding that the Sal­va­tion Army has been very ac­tive in Haiti and that its Ja­maican arm will ren­der what­ever as­sis­tance it can to the coun­try.

Be­fore it hit Haiti, Hur­ri­cane Matthew claimed four lives in the Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic, one in Colom­bia and one in St Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines. The hur­ri­cane also dev­as­tated sec­tions of Cuba and Ba­hamas be­fore it wreaked havoc on the United States East Coast.


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