Caribbean Credit Unions come to the aid of Haiti

Kotelam Haiti

Submitted by Freelance Journalist R. Nelson…06 05 2010 – Caribbean Credit Unions have to date donated over one hundred thousand U.S. dollars to the Worldwide Credit Unions Haiti Disaster Relief Fund.

According to information coming out of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions headquartered in Basseterre St Kitts, this fund raising drive was launched by the World Council of Credit Unions. It was pointed out that the initiative came in the wake of the devastation caused by the January 12th earthquake, has mobilised over US$ 1 million through donations from individuals’ credit union members, credit unions and credit union groups worldwide.

According to the CCCU the funds mobilised are being used to provide short-term emergency relief in the form of food, water and tents in Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince and in nearby Léogâne, the earthquake’s epicenter. Intermediate efforts are also underway to develop longer term plans for rebuilding damaged credit unions as well as facilitating cost-effective remittance networks for Haitians living abroad.

However, in late April, the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU) was part of an International Credit Union team that visited Haiti to assess the progress of the relief efforts and to determine strategies for future interventions.

Rubble of Kotelam

Commenting on the mission, General Manager of the CCCU, Mr. Ralph Wharton said that regional credit unions are humbled and honoured to be able to help the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere being its rebuilding efforts after suffering such a terrible disaster. He noted that the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions will continue playing its part in lending help and assistance wherever it can.

A number of the Credit Unions located in Port-au-Prince and neighbouring Léogâne, which were completely destroyed or severely damaged, have established temporary structures adjacent to the rubble of their former offices to continue to provide services to members.

Haitian Credit Union leaders have however expressed fears that savings mobilisation as well as loan delinquency will be major challenges due to the fact that many members were affected either through loss of jobs, their homes and businesses.

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