Two Haas Students Return Safely from Haiti

Two Berkeley MBA students, as well as one Berkeley engineering student, have returned safely from Haiti in the wake of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that ravaged Port-au-Prince and its environs Jan. 12, killing tens of thousands of people.

Two of those students — Ryan Stanley, MBA 10, and Jessica Vechakul, a PhD student in mechanical engineering — had been working in Les Cayes, a seaport about 140 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, on a development project called Fuel from the Fields when the quake hit.

The other Haas student, Glodine Jourdan, MBA 10, who was born in Port-au-Prince, was in Cap Haitien last week working with a USAID Farmer to Farmer program. She then traveled to Jacmel to work with women farmers producing various agricultural products as part of Vital Voices Femmes in Democratie.

Harry Le Grande, vice chancellor of student affairs, said the campus community "is deeply concerned about the people of Haiti and their loved ones, and are relieved to hear that our students are safe."

Vechakul and Stanley arrived in Haiti on Jan. 3 and were due to return to Berkeley Sunday, Jan. 17, family members said.

With an interest in sustainable technologies, Stanley became involved with the Fuel from the Fields project last spring when he and Vechakul collaborated in Haas School Lecturer Flavio Feferman's Business and Technology for Sustainable Development course to study a clean cooking fuel process. Stanley and Vechakul were working on a financial sustainability plan for charcoal projects in Haiti when the earthquake hit.

Vechakul and Stanley encourage the Cal community to stay informed and to provide support. “There is a lot of need right now both in Port-au-Prince, and other regions that are beginning to receive the injured and displaced,” says Stanley. “While organizations have begun rapid deployment of relief supplies and personnel, the need is simply staggering.”

In addition to the large relief organizations such as the Red Cross, they offered the below list of NGOs providing direct relief support in Haiti: