The Embassy of Haiti in Washington, D.C. wishes to thank the general public and the international community for the outpour of support and the solidarity expressed in response to the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti yesterday, January 12th, 2010 just before 5:00pm. The Embassy has been continuously monitoring the situation since yesterday.
Assessment is currently being conducted, but as you already know, telephone communication is down, and internet communication is sporadic. We have been informed that aftershocks continued well through the night until approximately 3:00 o'clock this morning. Infrastructure damage is significant; the National Palace has collapsed, and the National Cathedral, many Government buildings, the U.N. Headquarters and the Hotel Montana have been severely damaged.
As you may know, Haiti was gravely affected in 2008 by a series of hurricanes, and was still, to date, recovering from the losses incurred from these natural disasters. Preliminary assessment indicates that losses will be as severe or worse than those of 2008 as a result of the 7.0 earthquake.
We are already extremely grateful for the offers of assistance that we have received, and we urge you to consider donating cash as opposed to in-kind donations. Indeed, the U.S. Office of Disaster Assistance's information office has issued similar recommendations through their press release and guidelines.
We share the pain of our fellow citizens of the Haitian diaspora everywhere but urge them to remain faithful and strong in the face of such adversity. "United we are strong" and the Embassy will do its best to respond swiftly and efficiently. In that light, we will provide guidelines on donations to Haitian institutions later today.