Save the Children Staffer Dies in Haitian Earthquake

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One member of Save the Children’s staff in Haiti was killed and another seriously injured in the 7.0 magnitude earthquake centered near Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, the organization has confirmed.

Similien Mackendy, 24, a junior accountant with the Westport, Conn.-based organization, joined Save the Children four years ago as an intern. He was among 59 employees working for Save the Children in Haiti at the time of the earthquake, involved in the areas of education, health care, HIV/AIDS and food security, according to spokeswoman Tanya Weinberg.

Save the Children’s compound in Port-au-Prince was damaged but not destroyed and is serving as both workplace and living quarters for agency workers and some of Haiti’s displaced people. The agency has been shipping in relief supplies overland from the Dominican Republic. Weinberg said efforts are focusing on providing basic necessities, such as food, medicine, water and hygienic supplies.

“We do believe that we can funnel the enormous generosity of the American public into a long-term program that can pave the way to a brighter future for Haiti’s children,” she said.

She said roughly half the agency’s staff members, despite losing relatives and friends in the earthquake, are back at work and helping in relief efforts in any way they can, constructing latrines, for instance, and promoting breastfeeding as a way of protecting babies from waterborne diseases.