AIDG’s Catherine LainÃ©, live from Haiti
Boing Boing posted a great interview with my friend Cat LainÃ©, Haitian-America tech activist who runs the amazing non-profit AIDG with her husband Peter Haas. Both Cat and Pete are on the ground in Haiti right now. As Cat explains the situation in Port Au Prince is beyond dire, as we’ve all seen and heard by now. Cat’s brother, who lives in Port-Au-Prince, is not yet accounted for.
I don’t know many people more resilient than Cat and Pete, and it’s pretty amazing to hear Cat explain how the Internet, cellphones and social networking is helping people on the ground in real and meaningful ways. If you can, please donate, details are below. AIDG does incredible work at the best of times, and in the worst of times, they are vital. They are also looking for volunteer engineers – details below:
Got this update from Cat this morning:
We have established an operations center in Cap-HaÃ¯tien with our partner SOIL to serve as a hub for coordinating volunteer efforts and supplies coming into the country, especially those coming in through the port of Cap-HaÃ¯tien and the Dominican Republic (one of the few open routes into Haiti these days). Our presence in the north, away from the destruction zone, has allowed our communication and logistic abilities to continue relatively intact, which has been extremely useful in coordinating efforts on the ground with other partners and aid groups.
As an immediate priority, we are recruiting and mobilizing teams of engineers and other technical experts to directly support relief efforts of key partners. As I write this, we are preparing to send our first teams of engineers into Haiti to support the medical response efforts of Partners in Health, an organization that, as we previously noted, is having a significant impact here. We are particularly interested at this moment in placing French or Creole speaking civil and structural engineers. If you are, or know, an engineer that might be interested in volunteering in Haiti, please send a resume or CV to email@example.com.
AIDG will also be helping to coordinate the distribution of a large number of cookstoves in affected areas. Even before this week’s disaster, AIDG was in discussions with several leading stove groups (including Prakti Design, WorldStove, and Trees Water People), and in fact had been planning to host these groups at a conference in Cap-HaÃ¯tien next week to strengthen our collaboration in Haiti. Our focus has obviously shifted in the past couple days, and the group is now mobilizing very quickly to bring in as many stoves as possible, while at the same time developing local manufacturing capacity.
Aside from these immediate response priorities, we are also already hard at work developing a longer term strategy for supporting reconstruction efforts in Haiti, including a collaboration with our friends Architecture for Humanity to promote the development of low cost earthquake resistant housing. More details on this will follow in the coming weeks.
As you can imagine, we have all available hands on deck right now to support the response in Haiti. But WE NEED YOUR HELP to make sure we have the resources to continue these efforts. These next weeks are critical for us and for Haiti, and we are asking you to make a donation, whatever you can, to support our work here. Every dollar helps, and every dollar will have an immediate and direct impact in the wake of this tragedy.
You can make a secure donation online here:
Or if you’d like to mail us a check, you can send it to the following address:
AIDG P.O. Box 104 Weston, MA 02493
We can’t thank you enough for all of your support.
The AIDG Team Cap-HaÃ¯tien, Haiti