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Captain Burrell gets FIFA involved in Haiti recovery

Published:Tuesday | January 19, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Audley Boyd, Sports Editor

JFF President Captain Horace Burrell. - File

GRIM, frightening and heartbreaking. These are but a few, yet choice words from Captain Horace Burrell depicting the tale of woe affecting earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president - reacting to a request by the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), CONCACAF and by extension FIFA, the global football hierarchy - visited the French-speaking Caribbean territory on a fact-finding mission on Sunday.

It wasn't pretty.

Burrell said Haiti Football Federation president, Jean Bart, confirmed that 30 members of the federation were dead. Twenty of them were crushed when its once-three-storey building crumbled in the deadly 7.0 quake that unearthed near 5 p.m. last Tuesday.

It is reported that a number of players and other officials had either died or remained unaccoun-ted for.

"The situation down there is grim, it's frightening and it is going to take a very long time to turn things around," Captain Burrell told The Gleaner on his return to the island yesterday. "They will need the help of not only the Caribbean, but the entire world, to help them rebuild.

"You have hundreds of thousands of people milling around aimlessly, not knowing what to do, not knowing where the next meal is coming from, or where they are going to get any water; all of whom appear hopeless and very sad."

He added: "All around, there were people with wounds. Hundreds of thousands are currently on the streetside with nowhere to go."

Burrell, a vice-president of the CFU, a CONCACAF executive and a FIFA disciplinary committee official, submitted a report to the CFU and CONCACAF president Jack Warner, who is also a FIFA vice-president. It was forwarded to FIFA.

Emptiness in the land

"Words cannot describe what I have seen in Haiti," Burrell stated in the report. "It is heartbreaking. There is an emptiness in this land which must be filled soon. The island has been engulfed by a sense of hopelessness and despair. We cannot ignore this problem.

"If my report to President Warner can in any way shed some light on what is happening here, if it can encourage even one person to act, then I would have succeeded in my mission," he added.

Warner donated US$100,000 to the relief cause. FIFA donated US$250,000 and another of its vice-presidents, Chung Moon-Jung, pledged US$500,000.