Palm Bay: Councilman Wants To Use Disaster Fund For Haiti.

A powerful earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday morning, killing at least 304 people and leaving hundreds of others hurt, authorities said. The 7.2 magnitude quake was strong enough to be felt in neighboring countries.

Haitian officials said more than 1,800 people were injured in the disaster, some of whom were being treated in hospitals in the three most affected communities.

The epicenter of the quake was 7.5 miles northeast of Saint-Louis du Sud, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That’s about 78 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

According to CBSNews, the number of dead and injured has increased since the initial reports:

The death toll from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Haiti soared to at least 1,297 Sunday as rescuers raced to find survivors amid the rubble ahead of a potential deluge from an approaching tropical storm.

Saturday’s earthquake also left at least 2,800 people injured in the Caribbean nation, with thousands more displaced from their destroyed or damaged homes.

Haiti is in need of assistance on many levels.

First, the country still reeling from the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last month.

Secondly, the country is being heavily affected by COVID as the country did not have the resources to purchase or distribute vaccines. The United States donated vaccine to the country through a United Nations program, but due to issues in Haiti, the roll out has been slow.

Third, the country has been trying to recover from a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010 which killed over 220,000 people.

With the latest earthquake, the US has rushed aid to Haiti. Private organizations have rushed people and supplies to the region.

The North Carolina-based aid group Samaritan’s Purse announced Sunday it would airlift 13 disaster response specialists and 31 tons of emergency supplies to Haiti. Those include shelter materials and water filtration units.

(You may remember Samaritan’s Purse as they are a group that during New York City’s COVID crisis set up a hospital for people, supplied health workers and supplies all at no cost to the City. In an incredible display of “tolerance” and “gratitude,” after the numbers of infections slowed down, the group was asked to leave because of their Christian beliefs. )

The Red Cross is moving aid into the country. Cuba is sending help. The UN is trying to help. Groups like Doctors Without Borders are already on the ground working. Agape Flights has increased flights to Haiti bringing supplies and airlifting victims to locations for medical care.

Enter Palm Bay City Councilman Donny Felix:

“It just saddens my heart, my family is from that very region of the country,” said Palm Bay City Council member Donny Felix, who spent Saturday evening on a conference call with Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S. about the situation.

“It just made me think, ‘When will we get a break?’” said Felix, who also is president of the Haitian American Association of Brevard, an organization based in Palm Bay where most of the county’s 5,000-plus residents of Haitian descent reside.

Felix has a solution:

“Money right now is the best thing,” Felix said. “I will be going to the city of Palm Bay. We do have disaster relief that was founded for situations like this.”

Palm Bay does have, as required by law, funds that are to be used when a disaster strikes.

That is when a disaster strikes Palm Bay, not a different sovereign nation.

Felix is way off base on this one.

Basically, Palm Bay has enough issues and worries without sending money elsewhere. Furthermore, with COVID and being in the middle of hurricane season, Palm Bay should keep funds here.

It sounds horrible, but Council members’ responsibility is to the people of Palm Bay, not another nation, no matter how close of a tie you feel to that nation.

[Felix] added that organizers of stateside groups aiding Haiti want to avoid what happened following the 2010 earthquake that struck the island.

“There were many reports that showed how big-name organizations raised funds but did not do any justice to Haiti. We want to make sure the relief is getting to the people.”

There were issues with relief getting to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Many “start-up” charities and groups took money in and used it for “overhead” and “costs,” which meant a lower of percentage impacted Haitians.

By far the biggest problem was the Haitian government itself.

Investigations showed that money flowing into Haiti helped line the pockets of the wealthy and well connected. The government failed in helping to establish a distribution system for aid, which meant that many programs from outside of the country were duplicated or inefficient.

And now Felix wants the residents of Palm Bay to send a blank check to the Haitian government without any accountability?

No. Just no.

Once again we see that Felix is more than willing to spend taxpayer money on questionable issues without any benefit to the people of Palm Bay.

It just made me think, ‘When will we get a break?’” said Felix…..

The people of Palm Bay are wondering the same thing. When will they get a break from tax and spend officials who offer no accountability, only special interest issues.

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