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Ashland man headed to Haiti today

Haiti, January 19, 2010

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Hannah Guzik

Ashland Daily Tidings
January, 2010

Richard Jacquot is leading a Mercy Corps relief team.

Ashland resident Richard Jacquot is navigating Haiti's crumbled roads today to try to reach the capital and help with earthquake relief efforts.

Jacquot serves as the deputy emergency director for Mercy Corps, a Portland-based nonprofit that has raised almost $4 million to help the victims of Tuesday's massive quake.

"As soon as we've made sure that survivors' immediate need are met — things like water, food, shelter and primary healthcare — we need to help them get back home, rebuild and resume their lives," Jacquot said in a statement.

"In the aftermath of disasters, that means helping local organizations and businesses to re-open and get going again."

The Ashland resident works full-time for the nonprofit and is often among the first to be deployed to a disaster area. He responded to Hurricane Katrina and the Myanmar Earthquake, among other natural disasters.

Departing from the Medford Airport, he arrived in the Dominican Republic Thursday, where he met three other Mercy Corps staff members. From there they planned to buy a car and drive into Haiti Saturday, a process that could take several days because of the road conditions, a Mercy Corps spokeswoman said.

Jacquot could not be reached Friday because he was traveling, the nonprofit said.

The Mercy Corps group will assess the needs in Port-au-Prince and then begin to do relief work. The nonprofit will likely offer counseling for child survivors, health clinics for the injured and work programs for locals to help stimulate the economy, spokeswoman Silvia Ross said.

"What is incredibly important is to make sure that the survivors that are left behind don't succumb to the after effects of such a massive disaster," she said.