FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Miami-based U.S. Southern Command has been assisting with aid distribution in Haiti’s southern peninsula for about two weeks.
The region is facing the hurricane season after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake destroyed nearly 130,000 homes. The aftershocks continued after Aug. 14. More than 2,200 died. The crisis hit just after President Jovenel Moise’s July 7 assassination.
A delegation of The National Haitian American Elected Officials Network, a nonprofit organization based out of Orlando, traveled to Haiti on Monday.
They plan to meet with Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry and officials with President Joe Biden’s administration who are working on the $32 million effort to help the earthquake-stricken nation.
NHAEON delegate Florida Rep. Marie P. Woodson, who was born in Port-de-Paix, said since Henry, a 71-year-old neurologist, just assumed office on July 20th the Haitian American community wants to understand his plans.
“We know things are not good down there,” said NHAEON delegate Alix Desulme, a councilman of the city of North Miami.
The delegation includes Florida Rep. Marie P. Woodson, who was born in Port-de-Paix; Michael Joseph, a Haitian-American commissioner of the city of North Miami Beach; and Mary Estimé-Irvin, a Haitian-American councilwoman of the city of North Miami.
The group departed for a one-day trip on Monday morning out of Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
The itinerary also includes a helicopter tour and meetings with U.S. Agency for International Development officials working in Haiti; Michele Sison, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti; and Bocchit Edmond, the Haitian ambassador to the U.S.
The visit comes just as a group of more than 300 nonprofit organizations in the U.S., including the Haitian-American Diaspora Council and the National Immigration Law Center, in the U.S. sent a letter to Biden and U.S. Homeland Security asking to halt the deportation of Haitian migrants.
Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents arrested more than 40 undocumented migrants who arrived at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne.
Read the letter
Local 10 News Reporter Glenna Milberg contributed to this report.