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WOCCU delivers critical supplies to Haiti team
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (1/20/10)--Food and water--and later bricks and mortar--will be purchased with funds donated to the World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) Haiti Disaster Relief Fund. Meanwhile, key WOCCU staff arrived in Haiti Tuesday to deliver much-needed supplies for WOCCU's 16-member staff in Haiti.
Click to view larger image A Haitian woman is shown in better times, before the Jan. 12 earthquake that left an estimated one million people homeless. The photo was taken by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) staff during a previous visit. WOCCU has a 16-member staff in its Haitian program. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
WOCCU has begun a preliminary assessment of the devastation caused by the Jan. 12 earthquake--which registered 7.0 on the Richter Scale and was the hardest to hit Haiti in more than 200 years--and its impact on WOCCU's program in Haiti and the credit unions it serves. The evaluation will be managed by Dave Richardson, the WOCCU senior manager who oversees the Haiti program, and Greta Greathouse, the program's chief of party who manages operations on the ground in Haiti. Richardson and Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president and chief operating officer, entered Haiti Tuesday to deliver supplies to the project's staff. W
The World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU)'s plan for Haiti includes assisting staff, providing general relief for Haiti's people, and helping rebuild the country's credit union program, said Dave Richardson, who oversees WOCCU's Haiti program.
OCCU's team is in contact with field workers from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)--which financed WOCCU's three-year Haiti program launched in July--to assess the situation and address immediate staff needs. "Our first thought in disaster situations is to stabilize our staff and provide them with the basics of food, water, clothing and a place to sleep," Richardson said. "Our second step is to help the public with general relief, and we have chosen to work with Food for the Poor, based on the quick and efficient response they have demonstrated in disaster situations," he said. "Our third step is to find a temporary work space to replace our devastated building. We will be working on that this week," Richardson added. Many of WOCCU's past recovery efforts have focused on rebuilding credit unions that were destroyed in disasters. The approach not only assists credit unions with their losses, but enables the credit unions, in turn, to help their members and the communities in which they live rebound, said WOCCU. "Once WOCCU is able to assess all credit union damage, we will begin a formal rebuilding program to get credit unions back on their feet and assist them in helping as many members as possible," said Richardson. "Those efforts will include providing assistance to rebuild credit unions as necessary, training credit union staff to implement emergency loan programs and helping them implement crisis management strategies," he added. Richardson has been with WOCCU since 1987 and currently manages WOCCU programs in Haiti and the Philippines. He also was responsible in helping develop the PEARLS business management software system used by various WOCCU programs. To support WOCCU's relief efforts on behalf of Haiti's credit unions and their members, credit unions can give these ways:
* Donate via check, credit card or wire to:

Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions Inc.

5710 Mineral Point Road

Madison, WI 53705

* Make donations online with a credit card at www.woccu.org/give. * For wire transfer information, contact: Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, 608-395-2055 or e-mail vbreunig@woccu.org. Please indicate that your donation is for the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund. * U.S. credit unions can also support WOCCU's relief efforts by donating through the National Credit Union Foundation's CUAid system at www.CUAid.coop.
Haiti has 175 credit unions and more than 404,000 credit union members, according to WOCCU statistics
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