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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

AmericasRelief team celebrates Caribbean humanitarian relief in 2007

Posted December 10, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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(Publisher’s note: As you know we focus on Cuba releated information but wanted to post this story since AmericasRelief is run by a well respected Cuban American Teo Babun. I had the pleasure to finally meet Mr. Babun in Miami at the Caribbean Central American Action conference where this awards reception was held. Mr. Babun also runs the humanitarian operation ECHOCuba and I proudly support all of his humanitarian efforts.)

Media release by America’s Relief

In the aftermath of the earthquake in Peru and the passing of Hurricanes Dean and Felix through the Caribbean, AmericasRelief Team pulled all its resources to coordinate the logistics for over 10 of the major non-profit and government organizations in order to provide effective and timely relief to those in need in the Caribbean basin.

On December 4th at Downtown Miami’s Intercontinental Hotel, AmericasRelief Team hosted an end-of-season celebration of unprecedented logistics and humanitarian
relief with special guest speaker Jose Cardenas, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Cuba and South America office of the United States Agency for International Development. Awards were given to Cliff Deeds from FedEx Latin America, as well as Albert Portuguez from the American Red Cross of Miami for their leadership and contributions to those affected by the 2007 disasters in Latin America.

“AmericasRelief Team is elated to have achieved such a positive impact in the lives of thousands of victims during this hurricane season,” comments Teo Babun, Executive Director of AmericaRelief Team. “We have been working diligently for the last few years to arrive at the capacity that we are today, and look forward to
continue our work on a larger scale.”

While not all-inclusive, the following snapshots of immediate and continuing activities provide a striking window into the breadth and depth of the work being carried out by nonprofit organizations, private foundations, individual and corporate donors, and other caring groups and individuals. “AmericasRelief Team is proud to help each of the organizations in their efforts,” comments Teo Babun, Executive Director. “They offer inspirational examples to follow; every partnership offers opportunities to provide crucial needs for the victims in the wake of a disaster.”

American Red Cross of Greater Miami & the Keys donated and/or was responsible for:

• 16 water purification systems
• 4 pallets of powdered milk
• 10 pallets of bottled water
• 10 tons of non-perishable food
• 150 cots
• 550 gallons of chemical disinfectant
• Over 10,000 basic hygiene kits
• And unspecified amount of medical supplies and miscellaneous items
• 15 doctors and registered nurses

Transportation and local distribution was handled by donations and different government bodies. Engineers Without Borders donated $650.

Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF)

The PADF, through its disaster Management Emergency Response Program (DMERP), addresses critical emergency needs after natural disasters and engages the private sector to deliver immediate relief. After tropical Storm Noel in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, PADF mobilized the following response:

• Chevron Corporation purchased a $20,000 shelter package which provides emergency housing and potable water for almost 500 people. Aeropost International Services aided the transportation of the package. Chevron also contributed $5,000 towards the purchase of basic food in Mirebaleas, Haiti.

• Royal Caribbean cruise Lines has contributed $15,000 for relief in both countries. Purchases included basic food and other emergency provisions.

• The Organization of American States (OAS) contributed $15,000 for relief in the Dominican Republic.

Further, PADF and the AmCham Haiti Disaster Management and Business Continuity Committee, developed with support from the OFDA/USAID-sponsored Disaster Management Alliance Project, immediately met with Haitian Department of civil Protection. Upon assessing impacts and needs generated by Noel, the Haitian companies raised over $88,000 for mattresses, potable water, and other urgently needed items.

World Vision’s staff arrived in Pisco, Peru, 22 hours after the earthquake responding to immediate and basic needs. Distribution included food, aid, blankets, pain medication, antibiotics, medical supplies for minor surgeries, shoes, warm clothing, soap and towels. Also, three water cisterns were installed in three of Ica province’s hardest-hit municipalities: Ica city, Chincha and Pisco. Over 2,900 families received emergency assistance. The organization was also responsible for the reconstruction
of 500 houses, schools and the full reconstruction of one health center.

Food for the Poor’s response included 200 shelters that housed over 5,000 people during and after Hurricane Dean. Containers of tents, tarpaulins, blankets, emergency relief items, clothing, mattresses, cleaning supplies, food, water, lumber, zinc, medicine and medical supplies were sent to Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Along with those items, the organization sent doctors and nurses as well as hospital supplies. The staff is currently working on
replacing roofs for schools and homes with furniture and mattresses underway. In the aftermath of the devastation Hurricane Felix left behind, the organization sent 27 containers with emergency relief supplies, medications, clothing, leaning supplies, blankets and building materials to Nicaragua and Honduras. In addition, Food for the Poor has committed nearly $1 million for the repair construction materials.

Aidmatrix Disaster Relief Network was activated in U.S. States upon first reports of Hurricane Dean potentially hitting them. Most U.S. Gulf States are now linked with each other, with FEMA, and with VOAD non profit organizations through the Aidmatrix Network. When Hurricane Felix hit Honduras, the Government of Honduras accelerated their request for the Aidmatrix Disaster Relief Network. A basic system was written and put in place within 24 hours. The novel system was not ideal due to a lack of advanced training, both in-kind product and cash offers were transacted.

Cross International deployed their staff on site immediately aster Hurricane Dean. The relief provided by the organization, in addition to the continuous supportive staff, included 14 palettes of shovels, cleaning supplies, disposables gloves, and much more.

FAVACA was instrumental in the relief for Nicaragua and Honduras by granting $10,000 per country for the Jimmy Buffet’s Singing for Change Foundation. These grants will provide victims of Hurricane Felix with zinc roofing sheets to use for reconstruction as well as for additional materials such as nails, tools, blankets, bed sheets and fuel. The organization worked closely with SINAPRED and COPECO.

AmericasRelief Team is a nonprofit organization formed by a collaboration of corporations and nonprofit organizations to expedite relief to the Caribbean and Latin America in response to natural disasters and human crises. AmericasRelief Team focuses on coordinating logistics through guidance, education, and state-of-the-art techniques while planning and implementing effective distribution of humanitarian aid. AmericasRelief Team also coordinates storage and transportation through its members’ assistance.

AmericasRelief Team members include top executives from Carnival Corporation; FedEx Latin America; Feed the Children; Lucent Technologies; Pharmed Group Corp.; Caribbean Central America Action (CCAC); Florida Stevedoring; G.O.A.L., Inc.; Miami-Dade Aviation Department; Port of Miami Terminal Operating Co. (POMTOC), Seaboard Marine; Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas (FAVACA); Food for the Poor; Gordon, Reyes & Co.; Harvest International; Pan American Development Foundation (PADF); WorldCity Media; Enterprise Florida, World Vision-South Florida, American Red Cross, Baptist Health and Cross International.


Special guest speaker Jose Cardenas, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), held a question and answer session.


Cliff Deeds from FedEx Latin America receives the Excellence in Leadership Award from Executive Director Teo Babun.


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(305) 381-8831 office
AmericasRelief
(305) 321-7870 cell

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