University lecturer helps Haiti earthquake aid effort

A UNIVERSITY of Hertfordshire lecturer has helped save nearly 30 lives in Haiti following the devastating earthquake – thought to have killed nearly 200,000 people.

Naomi Morris, of Hatfield, has been working as a rescuer in the stricken country since flying out to the capital, Port-au-Prince, on Wednesday last week.

The 27-year-old, who arrived with three volunteers from charity MapAction, said she had witnessed horrific scenes following last Tuesday’s quake.

In an email to colleague Paul Zukowskyj she said: “The situation is hectic but hopeful, I was with search and rescue for a time yesterday as a translator, mini medic and we pulled out almost 30 alive.

“I saw some things yesterday I hope I can forget and others I hope I never do.

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“I am shattered.”

Naomi, who has worked in the school of life sciences at the Hatfield-based university since September 2008, added: “The orphanage I used to work in did collapse, but we managed to pull out a few survivors.

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“I’m very safe, very busy, no worries.”

Mr Zukowskyj, a geography and environmental sciences lecturer, and also Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Welwyn Hatfield, said he was proud of his colleague.

“It’s really fantastic that Naomi is personally able to help the people of Haiti in their time of need,” he told the WHT.

“She’s a fantastic person with a vast array of experience, from all round the world, of helping innumerable people suffering in humanitarian disasters.”

A university spokeswoman said people like Naomi were “vital” in such disasters.

She added: “The DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) appeal is absolutely crucial to getting Naomi and her colleagues the resources they need to save lives and recover from this terrible disaster.

“The university hopes everyone will donate generously to help them help the people of Haiti.”

Nigel Woof, chief executive of Map-Action, said four more of his team have since flown out to join Naomi.

He added: “Our job is to gather information that can be mapped to create a shared operational picture, so people most in need get the right types of help.”

Donate to the DEC appeal by clicking on the link above.

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