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Boro Haitians gather relief for homeland

A Haitian group in Cambria Heights is asking the public to give money and supplies to help the country's hurricane-ravaged communities.

The consulate general of Haiti chose the headquarters of Haitian Americans United for Progress, at 221-05 Linden Blvd., as the Queens location for its citywide relief effort project.

A 40-foot container will be available for donators to drop off goods that will be shipped directly to Haiti with little hassle following an emergency declaration by the Haitian government that eases the restrictions on imports for three months, according to Elsie Accilien, the HAUP executive director.

"They have this new courtesy where for three months they open the [Haitian] port for duty-free products," she said.

Over the last three weeks, Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike passed through the Caribbean nation, dropping several feet of rain, unleashing ferocious winds and creating flooding that still has not evaporated. A total of 700 Haitians have been killed so far as a result of the storms, according to the consulate.

In the city of Gonaives, approximately 86,000 people are homeless while roughly 30,000 families have been placed in shelters, the consulate said.

"Before, it would hit a couple of areas, but now it's the entire country," Accilien said of the storms.

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