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Reporter's Notebook

October 30, 2010

Reporter's Notebook: Despite lack of coverage, Haiti is still in need of help

I am not sure who has a shorter attention span, my 2 ½-year-old daughter or the news media.

The Haitian earthquake captivated the country for several weeks. But by April, Anderson Cooper and Geraldo Rivera had moved onto the next disaster: The BP oil spill.

After talking with Pastor Thomslay Budlaire Laguerre of Haiti last week, it seems clear his country remains in dire need of help.

But it isn't simply a matter of massive fundraising efforts and shipping aid to Haiti.

Both Laguerre and his host, Pastor Jeff McLallen of South Edmeston Community Church, said millions of dollars in aid raised by public fundraising efforts has reached the country but not the people for which it was intended.

McLallen, who visited the county in June, also said much of what has been pledged by foreign governments has not yet reached the people.

"Acres of earth-moving equipment sit in the harbor, not having moved since they were delivered, an indicator of paralysis in the country," McLallen said.

Pilfering of aid shipments is rampant, and the Haitian government has been slow to coordinate distribution of the relief, they both said

Laguerre is focusing on 3 acres of land he is purchasing and has taken in 10 families.

Several area churches, including The Family Worship Center in Wells Bridge, are raising funds to support that effort.

McLallen said finding a secure way to ship the aid has been a struggle, but the effort may soon see progress.

Laguerre spoke in terms of revival and spiritual renewal. And he meant not just for the Haitian people, but also for Americans.

At 39 years old, Laguerre is a notable spiritual and political figure in Haiti, according to McLallen.

Laguerre is a supporter of presidential candidate Wilson Jeudy, a devout Christian and political reformer.

The Haitian pastor ended our interview with a blessing for me to assist in writing a good story. Sometimes I need all the help I can get.

McLallen called me later in the week to give me the address where donations may be sent:

Burlington Flats Baptist Church

101 Arnold Road

Burlington Flats, NY 13315

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