(lubavitch.com) More than two days after Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake, rescue efforts have yet to begin in earnest.
As many as 50,000 people are feared dead after a 7.0-magnitude quake struck Port-au-Prince, the capital city of this poor Caribbean nation.
With dead bodies beginning to decompose, a shortage of potable water, and people trying to dig their loved ones out of the rubble with their bare hands, the aftermath of the earthquake has all the makings of another disaster.
“The smell of death is everywhere” and “entire families are decimated,” a witness told lubavitch.com.
International relief efforts are slowly beginning to arrive, but chaos is everywhere apparent, with Haitians saying they have no one in terms of reliable leadership, to count on.
Rabbi Mendel Zarchi of Chabad of the Caribbean is coordinating its relief efforts in conjunction with the Chabad representative Rabbi Shimon Pelman in Santo Domingo. “Santo Domingo has become a humanitarian hub for volunteers attempting to get into Haiti,” Rabbi Zarchi told Lubavitch.com
Rabbi Zarchi has sent two rabbinical students to Santo Domingo to assist the volunteers there.
Rabbi Pelman is in direct contact with relief efforts and emergency personnel preparing for entry into Haiti. He himself is en route to Haiti at the request of concerned relatives to search for missing family members.
“I also need to get there so I can asses the needs for kosher food for the Jewish residents and volunteers,” said Rabbi Pelman.
Haiti’s President Rene Preval appealed to the international community for help. “We need medicine. We need medical help in general.”
“Some of the hospitals, they collapsed. The hospitals, they are full and they put people in the outside. … So we need some hospitals, some medicine and some doctors”.
Thursday, President Obama pledged a hundred million dollars in immediate relief. “The people of Haiti “will not be forsaken” or “forgotten,” America and the world “stand with you. … Today you must know that help is arriving.”