The International Council on Archives wants to publicize throughout the international community the efforts of our Haitian colleagues, who have formed a crisis cell “Heritage in danger”, on the fringes of the official commission for the evaluation of buildings and reconstruction. An initial statement of requirements has been issued and you will find a copy of it attached. The Secretariat has very recently been in touch with Jean-Wilfrid Bertrand, the National Archivist of Haiti, and Jérémy Lachal, Executive Director of Libraries Without Borders, currently on mission in Port-au-Prince. Jean-Wilfrid and others have confirmed that the items on the requirements list are really needed, and that, if anything, it is an under-statement. Jean-Wilfrid has in particular emphasized the urgent requirement for tarpaulins. These are needed to protect records that are at present lying on the ground, because the buildings that previously housed them have been destroyed. If nothing is done now, they will be completely exposed during the forthcoming rainy season. ICA is now working as a matter of urgency on ways of getting these and other materials to him at Port-au-Prince as quickly as possible.
At present the efforts of ICA, through its participation in the Blue Shield Network, are focused on the collection of hard information, as the basis for a first report on damage to cultural property in Haiti. All information collected by organizations in the Blue Shield will be made available to governments, associations and other organizations. The report will give an indication of the likely resources that will be needed to safeguard the heritage of this country. ICA will also be encouraging the Blue Shield to provide timely help, in the form of a detailed action plan, for the Crisis Cell “Heritage in danger” in its work of coordinating and organizing rescue teams.
The ICA would like to take this opportunity to thank the nearly 500 volunteers who have already responded to the appeals for help. Our goal now is to adapt the operations of aid and assistance to the needs that have been identified on the spot, in conditions of maximum security.
Secretary General/Secrétaire Général
International Council on Archives/Conseil International des Archives
60, rue des Francs-Bourgeois
tel: + 33 (0)1 40 27 63 49
fax: + 33 (0)1 42 72 20 65