Promoted from the diaries by Rosi
Help for Haitian Refugees in NJ
According to the Star Ledger (01/31/10) a state confidential document indicates, “by mid-February commercial flights carrying Haitians holding U.S. visas are expected to arrive in the USA, and many of the refugees will be seeking to join relatives in New Jersey. Our state has the fourth largest Haitian population in the country, with nearly 57,000 NJ residents born in Haiti or of Haitian ancestry. Most of them live in Essex and Union counties.” This “surge,” the article says, will create a humanitarian crisis and put new pressure on a state treasury already in peril.
In the last crisis when Haitian refugees arrived in the USA, people in NJ responded. The current crisis is of a much higher order as these refugees will need substantial medical, educational, housing, and psych-social services. Their US relatives will hep but cannot assume the large burden.
Hopefully the federal government will provide financial assistance. More important there is an immediate need for state and county government to create and implement aggressive assistance plans. This will be an early test of the compassion and skills of Governor Christie’s new administration, with support from the legislature.
A wide variety of NJ social/medical agencies and foundations have an equally important role. Like any large population some refugees will be gay, have chronic illnesses, have legal needs, etc.
Haitians, who have suffered for years from terrible governance and most recently from a devastating earthquake, have proven themselves to be resilient, vibrant, creative, and hardworking. They can contribute to the mosaic and economic strength of our state, but first they will need our help.
For information on how you can help go to www.nj4haiti.org