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MI Residents Stepping Up to Help Haitian Earthquake Victims

January 15, 2010

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan residents are being asked to help out in the aftermath of Tuesday's devastating 7.0 earthquake near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Detroit has about 2,000 Haitian residents, many living on the northwest side of the city. The Haitian Network Group of Detroit and international relief agencies around the world are collecting supplies and donations, but with 2 million people affected by the quake, officials say the need is overwhelming.

The deputy director of Oxfam America's Emergency Response Department, Dawit Beyene, says getting fresh water to the people is critical.

"The provision of water is primary for us and then with that goes the provision of hygiene."

Beyene says providing fresh water and hygiene supplies helps prevent the spread of waterborne illnesses. Oxfam America has 200 people on the ground in Haiti and 15 highly experienced emergency specialists.

Oxfam is eager to send additional help, Beyene adds.

"We are preparing to deploy international staff as quickly as we can get in."

Beyene says people across the state can help by donating directly to the Haiti Earthquake Response Fund at www.oxfamamerica.org.

Amy Miller/Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MI