||Commissioner Edmonson expressed appreciation to the County Commission for entrusting her with leadership of the County’s Haiti relief effort. She also expressed appreciation to the County’s Mayor and municipal leaders, Assistant County Manager Alina Hudak, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department (MDFR) Chief Herminio Lorenzo, and Department of Emergency Management (DEM) Director Curt Sommerhoff for their support and daily updates on the relief effort.
Commissioner Edmonson noted that she and Vice Chairman Diaz spent 24 hours in Haiti, where they were guided by the MDFR. She pointed out that a DEM medical team was currently in Haiti. She noted that food, water, medical supplies, and tents to shelter the homeless were priority needs; face masks and gloves were also needed; and cash would not be rejected. Commissioner Edmonson pointed out that action was needed immediately, and noted that she would introduce two resolutions to address the disaster in Haiti.
Commissioner Edmonson asked County residents and her colleagues to support the Haiti relief effort. She noted she submitted a list of relief tasks that commissioners had agreed to execute, and would be distributing an updated list. Commissioner Edmonson asked her fellow commissioners to submit in writing any tasks she may have excluded from the list, and any help they would like to offer. Commissioner Edmonson also asked them to inform her if they wanted to opt out of tasks which they had been assigned, so that she could remove these assignments from the list.
Chairman Moss noted that Commissioner Edmonson was controlling the current portion of today’s (1/21) meeting.
Vice Chairman Diaz noted that the people of Haiti wanted help and work, and that in their need for electricity, they were connecting generators, which was very dangerous. Vice Chairman Diaz expressed appreciation to the U.S. Military, particularly Captain Grant of the U.S. Coast Guard, for its role in the relief effort, noting that Chairman Moss assigned him as the Commission’s liaison with the military. He also expressed appreciation to MDFR’s Chief Lorenzo and every member of MDFR’s Urban Search and Rescue team for their excellent efforts.
Chief Lorenzo expressed appreciation to everyone present today (1/21) for their commendations. He also expressed appreciation to members of the Commission for their work. Chief Lorenzo spoke about the need to find ways into Haiti besides through its airport, which was in disrepair. He urged the County to not abandon relief efforts.
Vice Chairman Diaz noted he was working with the military to determine whether supplies could be sent to Haiti and if members of the Commission could visit the country in one to two weeks. He asked his colleagues to contact him if they wanted to visit.
Commissioner Edmonson advised that visiting Haiti would involve hard work. She added that South Florida's FEMA Urban Search and Rescue team was working hard in Haiti.
Mr. Sommerhoff noted that DEM’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remained activated from 8 am to 5 pm to coordinate and support the County’s Haiti donation and relief efforts; was preparing contingency plans for mass migration or controlled evacuation of vulnerable populations that might be precipitated by the earthquake; and was providing 24 hour support of the Federal government’s repatriation efforts at the Homestead Air Force Reserve Base (HAFRB). Mr. Sommerhoff advised of the amount of goods donated to the County. He outlined the County’s efforts in partnership with Food for the Poor, and municipalities’ efforts to distribute goods in Haiti. Mr. Sommerhoff noted that a list of needed items could be accessed by visiting the County’s website, calling 311, or contacting any of the 22 municipalities which had joined the County to provide relief. Mr. Sommerhoff outlined efforts in the areas of fundraising, public information, employee support effort, and lifting tariffs on emergency transport to Haiti. He outlined the County’s efforts in collaboration with the Florida Department of Children and Families, to support the Federal repatriation mission at HAFRB, Miami International Airport (MIA), and Opa-locka Executive Airport. Mr. Sommerhoff also noted that the County was working with local partners to document costs to be reimbursed in the future by State and Federal partners. He further noted that to date, over 2,900 repatriated American citizens from Haiti were processed through HAFRB, over 700 through Homestead International Airport and over 12 through the Opa-locka Executive Airport.
In response to Commissioner Edmonson’s request for an update, Assistant County Manager Alina Hudak noted that all efforts reported by Mr. Sommerhoff today (1/21) were represented in the Earthquake Recovery Action Plan, and Item 14B1, the Earthquake Recovery Action Plan report, provided logistical information supporting the Action Plan.
Mr. D.J. Fabien introduced himself as the Black Affairs Advisory Board (BAAB) Chairman, and Executive Director of the Haitian American Emergency Relief Committee. Mr. Fabien provided a PowerPoint presentation on the BAAB’s being charged to support emergency relief distribution to Haiti. He also noted that Haiti relief agents were experiencing problems moving relief supplies on the ground. Mr. Fabien further noted that a company offered to donate 40,000 pounds of food if he agreed to distribute it in Haiti, and that the American Airlines’ Director agreed to unload his plane and help with the distribution. He indicated he would deliver supplies to Haiti as soon as he received a call to do so, and asked for the Commission’s support.
Commissioner Edmonson noted her office would work closely with Mr. Fabien, and expressed appreciation for his efforts.
In response to Commissioner Souto’s comment that some pilots offered him their free flying services to transport two cargo airplanes from the Dominican Republic to smaller airports in Haiti, Commissioner Edmonson asked that this information be submitted to her.
Commissioners Heyman and Sorenson expressed appreciation to Commissioner Edmonson for her leadership in the Haiti relief endeavor.
Commissioner Rolle noted he was sponsoring a water drive in collaboration with Northern Communication at Oak Road Park at N.E. 6th Avenue and 159th Street on Saturday, January 23, 2010 in aid of relief for Haiti. He added that he was planning to travel to Haiti after the water drive took place.
Commissioner Jordan expressed appreciation to Commissioner Edmonson for delegating her the responsibility of coordinating with the County’s black churches. She noted that due to scheduling conflicts, she was in the process of rescheduling dates on which to meet with these organizations. She also noted two cottages would be added to a facility that would house children arriving in the County from orphanages in Haiti.
Commissioner Sosa commended Commissioner Edmonson and Vice Chairman Diaz on their efforts in Haiti. She noted that Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho offered the former Baptist Hospital site in the City of Homestead, and noted the University of Miami and Florida International University were the leading medical responders. She further noted that municipalities were working with the State, and she identified County municipalities working with the County to keep police, fire, and library facilities open. She added that Mr. Juan Cento, President of FedEx Corporation’s Latin American and Caribbean Division, was ready to assist.
Vice Chairman Diaz expressed appreciation to residents of the Magic City for their efforts. He asked the County Manager to work with Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Mr. Miguel Alvarez, a local business owner in Commission District 6, to publicize a concert scheduled for January 24, 2010 between 4 p.m. and 12 a.m. to provide relief to Haiti. The Vice Chairman invited his colleagues to join him in this effort.
Chairman Moss expressed appreciation to his colleagues, the Mayor, the County Manager, and the Administration for working together. Chairman Moss noted a martial plan was needed to help the world rebuild Haiti, and he previously sponsored a resolution urging the Federal government to help Haiti with such a plan. He expressed deep concern that medical teams in Haiti were not receiving sufficient medical resources, and expressed a desire for the County and other entities, to improve this situation.
Commissioner Edmonson noted she would expand the list of relief task assignments. She also noted she would work with Mr. Andre Pierre, City of North Miami Mayor; Mr. Tomas P. Regalado, City of Miami Mayor; Mr. Julio Robaina, City of Hialeah Mayor; and Mayors of other municipalities regarding the Haiti relief effort.