Volume 47, Number 11 - February 2, 2010

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Michael Finch
Michael Finch II

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Picture of haiti
Danyelle Carter, Student Government Association vice president, participates of the college-wide vigil.

Weighing in on the catastrophe

By Michael Finch

Picture of woman vigil
At the North Campus, the vigil was held on the south side of building four.

Anne Cossogue an international student at the North Campus did not speak with her parents until four days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti earlier this month.

In Delmas— a district east of Port-au-Prince— her mother, Paulette, was engaged in prayer at Notre Dame d’Altagrâce church with more than 300 other members, when the earth beneath them began to move. They believed it was the spirit of God moving the building.           

After getting out off work early, her father Yves, a land surveyor in Port-au-Prince, escaped the major impact of the earthquake.

Like several people in Delmas, her parents now sleep outside their home, which is no longer stable enough to live in, because of aftershocks.

“It’s a nightmare,” Cossogue said of her parents’ current situation.”Many people were not prepared before—now it’s worse”

In light of the disaster, all eight Miami Dade College campuses have launched relief drives for Haiti. On Jan. 26, the North Campus held a college-wide vigil on the south side of building four. North Campus dean of students, Malou Harrison, said the relief effort is an opportunity to show students what it is to be a good neighbor.

“I see this as an extension of what we do at Miami Dade College,” Harrison said. “The Haitian community needs a sense of support from everyone in the world.”

Harrison said that shortly after the earthquake, Miami Dade College President, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, visited Port-au-Prince for humanitarian relief, adding that his attitude was “wholly renewed” in terms of providing ongoing support for the island nation.

Recently, the North Campus’ club rush was turned into a relief effort. Student life director, Jaime Anzalotta, said that his department has collected $1,700 in donations as of Jan. 22, and will continue to collect funds and medical supplies.

"People need to know that the people in Haiti will need help for a very long time," Anzalotta said.

Cossogue, who was 18 years old when she left Haiti to live with an aunt in North Miami to pursue a college education two years ago, appreciates the sentiment.   

“I know that in many countries even though they are poor, they are trying to do something,” said Cossogue, who learned that her cousin, Loubert Lauredent, died during the earthquake, when the school he attended collapsed on him. She has yet to hear from many other relatives in Haiti. 

According to the United States Geological Survey, since the earthquake on Jan. 12, the country has experienced more than 53 aftershocks of 4.5 magnitude or greater.

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