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Pennsylvania group arrives in Haiti
HARRISBURG, Pa. (10/1/10)--A delegation from the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation arrived Monday in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for a two-week visit to evaluate damage from Hurricane Matthew and the January earthquake and explore opportunities for credit unions to help repair the remittance system between the U.S. and Haiti. The delegation includes foundation Executive Director Joe Wambach, his wife Maryse, and Chris Woods, foundation board member and president/CEO of Keystone FCU, West Chester (Life is a Highway Sept. 28). The foundation said Wambach sent a text message indicating he was "stunned by the rubble and conditions, and there's still no electricity." The loss of electricity was due to the hurricane, which hit the country last week. On Tuesday, the group met with World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) officials and CARE International. The team also met officials from the relief group Plan International, which is conducting Cash for Work programs and other microfinancing iniatives through Fonkoze, Haiti's Alternative Bank for the Organized Poor. Fonkoze is the largest microfinance institution in Haiti, serving more than 45,000 women borrowers, most of whom live and work in the countryside. The institution has more than 200,000 savers served by a network of 41 branches throughout the country (Life is a Highway Sept. 30). On Wednesday the team traveled to L'Hopital de Canape Vert (Canope Verte Hospital) in Port-au-Prince. The hospital, which was nearly destroyed during the Jan. 21 earthquake, lost many staffers. Months later, there is still insufficient space and resources to treat patients. Most of the medical records were destroyed and computers are scarce to rebuild the system, said the report. Thursday the group was scheduled to visit two credit unions. The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association will provide updates during the visit.
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