Family hopeful: Trini still missing in Haiti hotel...

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Family hopeful: Trini still missing in Haiti hotel...

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Jan 17, 2010 ... =161583431

Family hopeful: Trini still missing in Haiti hotel...
Juhel Browne
Sunday, January 17th 2010

Gregory McAlpin’s family has not given up hope that the Trinidad and Tobago national is still alive, five days after the Hotel Montana where he was staying in Haiti collapsed when the devastating 7.0 earthquake struck there on Tuesday.

McAlpin’s sister, Karen Camejo, told the Sunday Express yesterday that his family’s hope that he has survived the earthquake increases with every survivor who is pulled out of the rubble in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, where the Montana hotel and many other buildings collapsed during the quake.

’I still have hope,’ Camejo said.

International media reports had stated only 100 of the 300 people staying at the hotel got out immediately after the earthquake, and Camejo said McAlpin’s family is satisfied he was in the building when the quake struck.

According to those reports, rescuers are still working on digging out victims from the hotel and other buildings in Port-au-Prince and other areas in Haiti.

McAlpin, who is the director of Flight Safety with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) based in Antigua, was in Haiti attending a Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS) meeting.

Camejo said McAlpin’s family is being encouraged by news reports of people being rescued from the rubble of the hotel up to late Friday night.

’I heard on the BBC last night they had received some text messages from within the rubble that there was a group of 20-something people trapped inside like in a pocket (in the rubble in Port-au-Prince). Once they keep working on clearing that rubble, then I have hope,’ Camejo said yesterday.

Camejo said McAlpin’s family is satisfied he was in the Montana hotel when it collapsed.

’He went to Haiti through Miami. He spent the weekend with his friend in Miami. He sent a text to his friend in Miami at 4.30 p.m. and said he was in the hotel room. We know for a fact that he was in the hotel at 4.30 p.m. Gregory would never have gone out without his cell I am satisfied he would have been there. Odds are a 90-something per cent chance that he is there,’ Camejo said.

Another of his fellow countrymen, director general of Civil Aviation Ramesh Lutchmedial, was also in Haiti attending the CASSOS meeting but was travelling in a vehicle to the Hotel Montana when the earthquake struck.

Lutchmedial returned home last night after spending two days in Jamaica where he was flown from Haiti by a military aircraft on Wednesday evening.

Camejo said as of yesterday, the family had received no word about her brother who was still identified on CNN’s ’iReport’ website as being missing.

’So we wait,’ she said.
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Caricom gets moving on Haiti

BY INGRID BROWN Observer staff reporter

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Caribbean Community (Caricom) team yesterday flew to Port-au-Prince to get a first-hand view of the devastation in the Haitian capital, as the regional body begins to formulate a relief plan to help the neighbouring territory ravished by Tuesday's massive earthquake.

The team -- Caricom Chairman and Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerritt, Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson, Secretary General Edwin Carrington, Archbishop of the West Indies Rev John Holder, and representatives of the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) -- was scheduled to meet with Haitian Government officials to finalise plans for the regional relief efforts.

People cover their mouths from the smell of dead bodies as they carry an injured girl to her family in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — In this photo released by the United Nations, buildings affected by an earthquake lay in ruins in Port-au-Prince, yesterday. (Photo: AP)
Displaced Haitians walk the streets amidst collapsed buildings and rubble in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti yesterday. (Photo: AP)
[Hide Description] People cover their mouths from the smell of dead bodies as they carry an injured girl to her family in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
[Restore Description]

Jamaica has been designated as the central co-ordinating point for all relief assistance coming out of Caricom to Haiti.

"We believe that throughout the Caricom community we will be able to get and put together a good contingent of doctors and other medical officers to assist in the situation in Haiti," Daryl Vaz, Jamaica's information minister, told journalists at a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House in Kingston yesterday.

Haitian President Rene Preval, he said, had indicated in a meeting with Jamaica's Prime Minister Bruce Golding Thursday that the priority needs were for doctors, medicine, food and water.

The information minister said a combined US$5 million has already been pledged towards the Caricom relief efforts.

In the meantime, Ronald Jackson, director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, said additional personnel would be deployed through the CDEMA to work alongside members of the Jamaica Defence Force, which will handle the region's relief operations on the ground in Haiti.

JDF Chief of Defence Major General Stewart Saunders said the Jamaican army had already established a base camp, which will facilitate all other aspects of support coming from Jamaica.

"After that we will start taking in critical supplies that are needed for the Haitian people and start distributing from our location," Saunders said.

Trinidad, Barbados and Antigua are also expected to deploy troops there to work in conjunction with the JDF team.

Jamaica will be facilitating the refuelling of planes carrying humanitarian supplies to Haiti. "We have waived all navigation and landing fees for all humanitarian aid," Vaz said.

In addition, Jamaica has offered the Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios, St Ann for all humanitarian vessels en route to and from Haiti to restock with potable water.

And Vaz said the Jamaica Public Service has committed to offering assistance in the rehabilitation of electricity to Haiti.

Vaz said, too, that telecommunications giant, Digicel, had assembled all equipment and food here in Jamaica to leave for Haiti as soon as possible. Technical and security personnel were also to be accommodated by the telecoms company.

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