Stamford Advocate (Sunday)

State woman rides out Haiti quake; Americares sending aid

- By Adam Hushin

Stamford native Bianca Shinn Desras makes frequent trips to Haiti to visit friends and family, but Saturday morning was the first time she ever experience­d an earthquake.

“I felt everything around me circling and shaking,” Desras said. “I literally thought I was losing my mind.”

Desras said initially she froze up until she heard voices yelling out to run.

“The ground was trembling while I ran,” Desras said.

This made running down four flights of stairs difficult, but she was able to make it outside unharmed. Many individual­s further southwest were not so lucky.

Just before 8:30 a.m. Saturday, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck 78 miles west of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 6.2 miles, the United States Geological Survey said. This was followed by a series of aftershock­s.

The quake killed at least 304 people and injured at least 1,800 others, according to the Associated Press.

Desras said to keep Connecticu­t’s Haitian-American population in your thoughts.

“A large part of the state’s Haitian community come from that affected area,” Desras said.

Angelucci Manigat, editor of the Bridgeport-based Haitian Voice, has many friends and family that he still hasn’t heard from.

“Not all of them are accounted for,” Manigat said. “So I’m still waiting for more details.”

Desras called on Connecticu­t’s political leaders to use their voice to help.

“The minimum amount we should get is support,” Desras said. “Just show us that you’re with us.”

Late Saturday, Stamford-based Americares officials said it has medicines and relief supplies on the way to Haiti for survivors of Saturday’s quake.

A shipment carrying 9 tons of intravenou­s fluids is headed to earthquake-damaged Les Cayes, and Americares relief workers in Haiti and the United States are preparing additional shipments in the coming days to supply health workers treating the injured with antibiotic­s, wound care supplies and urgently needed medical supplies. Americares relief workers on the ground in Haiti are assisting the local response, and the health-focused relief organizati­on plans to deploy additional staff in the coming days to support the relief efforts.

“Water storage tanks in Les Cayes were destroyed in the earthquake, flooding the streets and creating an urgent need for safe drinking water,” said Americares Vice President of Emergency Programs Kate Dischino. “Survivors need immediate medical care for broken bones, laceration­s and other wounds. We are getting requests from hospitals and health centers throughout the affected region in need of medicine and supplies.”

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