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Hope Alliance Haiti program devastated

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Kym Meehan has been to Haiti dozens of times for her not-for-profit work, learning about a country that has long been one of the world’s poorest.

The Park City woman runs the Haiti Partnership, a program of The Hope Alliance for impoverished regions, and says thousands of Haitians have benefited from the partnership over the nine years it has been in existence.

She expects the Haiti Partnership will now provide some sort of humanitarian assistance to the country as it struggles with the devastation of the earthquake that struck Haiti. The partnership typically supports business enterprise, education and medical outreach.

Meehan was not aware of any Park City people being in Haiti when the earthquake occurred. She worried, though, about people she knows in Haiti through her not-for-profit work.

The Hope Alliance, co-founded by another Parkite, John Hanrahan, is involved with nine orphanages in Haiti. Meehan says seven of them were destroyed in the earthquake. Three people who managed the orphanages were killed and at least five of the children died, she says. Meehan says the remaining managers planned to move the children on a mule caravan to another orphanage.

Meehan, who was not in Haiti when the earthquake occurred, talks about the country for decades being among the poorest in the world. She says warlords have run the country, forests have been cut down and the sewer systems are antiquated.

"The problem is there is no infrastructure. Everything is so poorly built anyway. They’re literally living in cardboard boxes," Meehan says, describing the situation before the earthquake.

Trash litters the streets, she says, because garbage collection is not reliable.

"There’s rats feeding on anything they can find anyway," she says.

Meehan says the earthquake’s impact will be apparent for some time.

"Devastated. Horrific beyond belief . . . It’s just going to be horrible," she says.

For more information about the Haiti Partnership, call 1-801-952-0400. To make a tax-deductible donation to the Haiti Partnership, send a check indicating the money is for the partnership to:

Hope Alliance

1775 West 1500 South

Salt Lake City, UT

84104


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