The earthquake that hit Haiti last Tuesday, along with the 6.1 aftershock that occurred early yesterday morning, has left homeless survivors, worried family members and widespread devastation in its midst. A University of Buffalo PhD student, Samarth Joseph, is unfortunately dealing with the deaths of fifteen family members due to the quake.
Joseph, who presently resides in Buffalo, was born in Haiti. She has been studying under the UB Department of Geography and is supposed to be receiving her doctorate degree this May, which may be difficult to achieve due to her recent concern with helping those affected by the disaster. The earthquake claimed her close relatives, including cousins, but there are still three missing family members that have yet to be accounted for. Joseph’s fiancé, who was working in the country as an engineer, is currently stranded in Haiti. Luckily, Joseph’s parents, who live in New York City, are alive and well.
Because of the contributions of UB faculty, staff and students and the Solar Liberty Foundation of Williamsville, NY, Joseph was scheduled to leave by the end of this week to travel to Haiti in an effort to provide aid and support to her homeless family members. Due to the aftershock, however, the trip may be postponed. She is anxious to begin helping her remaining loved ones and other survivors.
The Solar Liberty Foundation has provided Joseph and other relief workers with solar cookers, which harness the sun’s energy to cook and sterilize water. The non-profit organization is working to raise the funding necessary to provide Haiti with one thousand cookers, with each cooker costing $100. In addition, the solar electrification system that the Solar Liberty Foundation had previously built in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, was left unharmed by the earthquake. Two more systems are being sent to Haiti. These systems will supply the power that is necessary to treat wounded in the hospitals and clinics.
If you’re interested in making a donation to help raise the money necessary to buy and send the solar cookers, please visit the Solar Liberty site. Donations can also be made to Partners in Health, and the American Red Cross.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Samarth Joseph and her family, and all those affected by the earthquake, during this difficult time.