PETIONVILLE, Haiti (1/15/10)--"We survived. The building has not." That's the start of a dispatch from the World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU's) team leader for its project in Haiti. WOCCU last July launched a program in Haiti with funding from the U.S. Agency for
Rubble inPort-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. (Photo by Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Image, provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
International Development. The Haiti Integrated Financing for Value Chains and Enterprises (HIFIVE) program works across the financial sector to bring savings, credit and remittance-linked products to people living in poverty in underserved areas of the country. WOCCU's 16-member team, under the leadership of Greta Greathouse, was at work for less than six months when the devastating earthquake struck Tuesday just south of Port-au-Prince. WOCCU has begun receiving sporadic reports from the field, including this e-mail from Greathouse: "We survived. The building has not. No one was injured in its evacuation. [The building] will not be repairable. Part of [the] team was downtown with me for a meeting. We had just left when [the earthquake] happened. "Because of the streets being blocked with rubble/people/abandoned cars and downed power lines, we decided to abandon our cars and walk back to the offices. Many of the staff had worked late, fled the building and were in the parking lot. We spent the night there. "Most team members were able to contact their families last night or this morning. We have limited power, Internet and phones, so communication is difficult. "My house is probably totally destroyed, given its proximity to the [Hotel] Montana and what happened on that mountainside. We are going to try to climb up to see later today. There's no vehicular access since the road is entirely blocked with rubble and boulders from the collapse of the Montana and other buildings. I am staying with a colleague who lives in a safe area. No water, but he has limited electricity." WOCCU will provide daily dispatches from the Haiti team so long as communications work. Here's how to support WOCCU's relief efforts on behalf of Haiti's credit unions and their members: Make payments via check, credit card or wire to:
Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions Inc.
5710 Mineral Point Road
Madison, WI 53705, USA
Donations may be made online with a credit card at www.woccu.org /give. For wire transfer information, contact: Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, 608-395-2055 or firstname.lastname@example.org
. Please indicate that your donation is for the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund. U.S. credit unions can also support WOCCU's relief efforts by donating through the National Credit Union Foundation's CUAid system at www.CUAid.coop.