Haiti and the Dominican Republic occupy the same land mass or island in the Caribbean. When the massive earthquake hit Haiti on 12th January 2010 the Dominican Republic felt shakes but nothing like the Haitians.
I guess the Dominican Republic were lucky to be spared the devastation that Haiti suffered. It could so easily have been the Dominican Republic and its people.
Initially little was heard of what was happening in the Dominican republic but today, 18th January 2010, I have seen some press coverage.
This is an example of what the Dominican Republic's tourist industry is doing to help.
- Holidaymakers are still visiting the Dominican Republic but there have been some changes. Holidaymakers are being asked to leave what they can behind, when their vacation ends. Clothing and toiletries are particularly useful. However I guess cigarettes, first aid equipment and snack foods may help.
- Some airlines are carrying supplies for Haiti, along with their passengers and luggage.
- Hotels have been fund raising and have had good results.
- 40 free seats, on some flights, have been offered to the Disasters' Emergency Committee. These will be used to give to aid workers so that they can reach the disaster zone as quickly as possible.
- Various carriers are also working with many of the charities involved.
- Virgin Atlantic are carrying Shelter Boxes from the UK. These boxes are simple but are designed to offer the immediate help that is desperately needed. A Shelter Box contains a disaster relief tent, for up to 10 people, a stove, blankets and other items essential for survival.
Sadly on the ground the Haitians have had less direct help.
Currently two days of mourning are planned. Flags are to be flown at half mast. All celebrations, events and festivities in the Dominican Republic have been suspended. Some Haitian government officials have been treat in hospital in the Dominican Republic.
It also looks now as if a contingent of Dominican Republican troops will be deployed in Haiti. These troops have been offered to UN leader Ban-Ki Moon to aid with the devastated UN mission. It has been stressed that is not a military presence but simply a means of aiding the relief effort. Worrying times indeed for each country as they strive to keep their independence.
Despite the close proximity of these two countries we must forget that they are two separate nations. Each will now have their own problems to solve. However it is good to know that for now the Dominican Republic is being a good neighbour.