Auburn professor presenting seminar on experiences in Haitian earthquake

AUBURN – An Auburn University professor in the College of Agriculture who was on the ground when a massive earthquake devastated Haiti last week and who provided medical care to many of the victims will present a seminar about his experience on Friday, Jan. 22, at 2 p.m. in 207 Comer Hall on the Auburn campus.

Dennis Shannon, professor of agronomy and soils, arrived in Haiti the day before the earthquake struck and was standing in his hotel lobby when the tremors began. Shannon, along with a U.S. Department of Agriculture economist and two University of Florida agronomists, were in the country to work on a food security initiative for the U.S. Department of State.

His colleagues, one of whom was trained as an emergency medical technician and originally led the effort to provide medical assistance to victims immediately after the quake, were evacuated from Haiti on Jan. 14. Shannon, however, stayed in the country until Saturday, Jan. 16, offering his language skills in Haitian Creole to facilitate communication and also his hands to help care for the injured on the hotel grounds, which became a makeshift triage unit until trained medical professionals arrived several days later.

The details of his experience in Haiti, as well as his thoughts on what should be done in the immediate and long-term future to help the Haitian people recover, will be included in his presentation.

“I feel very strongly that the U.S military needs to take over immediately,” said Shannon, who has called his congressional representatives to voice his opinion. Shannon worked in Haiti on a variety of soil and agroforestry projects between 1990 and 2001 and is extremely concerned that the slow response to the disaster is resulting in unnecessary deaths and hardship for the citizens there.

For more information on the seminar, contact Lee Stenson at (334) 844-4100 or stenslm@auburn.edu.

(Contributed by Katie Jackson.)

Contacts: Katie Jackson, (334) 844-5887 (smithcl@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)