Medical Aid Desperately Needed

As Port-au-Prince remains in a state of emergency, not much is sure about Haiti’s current or future circumstance. What is certain is the death toll. Over 150,000 people inside Haiti were killed and another 600,000 Haitians are displaced. Abandoned without food, water, or shelter, many Haitians are left with no resources to provide their families with. More civilians are being left out on the streets each day with need for medical care. As the injuries and deaths increase, pressures on the non-existent infrastructure are escalating. The establishment of small rural clinics near the capitol and other remote areas is taking place, but it is not sufficient enough.
Lauren Derby, a UCLA history professor, visited Haiti and reported the pleas she received from one Haitian to “get him out of one of the clinics so he could receive the surgery he needed.”

The problem that persists is the fact that these clinics and hospitals are so ill-equipped that they do not have the morphine or trauma specialists needed to undergo the 60 daily amputations that are being performed.

The situation is beginning to spread. In the Dominican Republic, many smaller clinics are being established. After the earthquake, many vehicles were sent to Haiti from the Dominican Republic to transport them to different facilities. While tensions over the years have heightened between the two countries that share the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic has increasingly taken an active role over the weeks to opening their doors to their tragedy-stricken neighbors.

Because of high population density in many refugee camps, the spread of diseases is imminent. World Health Organization, Paul Garwood, explains the growing number of diarrhoea cases, as well as measles and tetanus cases. Poor sanitation is affecting every aspect of rebuilding. Many doctors and nurses are working out of damaged hospitals with less than adequate supplies. Moreover, this urgency is competing with a need of transporting food and water into the area.

While a tumultuous wave has swept the lower class leaving them in devastation, the middle-class is struck just as hard. Normally, concrete buildings are built and prepared with sand. In Haiti’s case, most of their concrete buildings were prepared with dirt. For this reason, many of the buildings the middle class reside in simply “buckled.” Giving these people the tools to rebuild their lives seems nearly impossible as of now, especially when such a large population is affected.

Right now our priority is to send as much clean water and supplies to alleviate their pain. If you are able to help in any way please contact us immediately.

Haiti after the aftershock: Report from Dave Doherty, a former Peace Corps Volunteer who lives and works in Haiti.

Good evening/morning to everyone.

As I was Photoshopping pictures for this transmission, we were hit with another aftershock. Quite an abnormal feeling.

It’s 10:41PM in Haiti. It has been a very long first day back in the country. I am very tired and have a busy few weeks ahead but I wanted to bang out a few words to everyone who had expressed their condolences. The attached photos say far more than anything I could write. I would ask everyone to remember that behind every pile of rubble is a tale of misery. I have been lucky because I only lost one person who was like a family member to me. However those close to me lost many, many family members. One good friend was able to call me today to tell me that she lost everyone in Port-au-Prince and everyone in her birth town of Jacmel which was also hit very hard. She told me that she was so happy to know that I was okay because she didn’t want to be alone.

Arrived via bus from the DR late last night. Had to bring some people to the US and UN compounds hence got a firsthand look at the chaos. They are slowly getting things organized but it was a painful experience.

My house is intact, thankfully. We even had electricity when I arrived. Still no water but we are “borrowing” it from the complex pool for bathing and toilet flushing.

Destruction is widespread even complete in some areas. However, you can travel 200 meters and find a neighborhood that has very little damage. I would love to have an intimate knowledge of the geology under each. It would certainly help with home selection.

People are sleeping in any open place they can find. Aftershocks raise the level of anxiety and people can’t sleep unless the stars are overhead and there is nothing solid within 50 feet. A large number or people have suffered complete mental breakdowns. The more mild cases of post-traumatic shock are being treated with medication. The more serious are generally left to wither away because there is no mental health treatment available for them.

Visited five hospitals today to conduct assessments and make deliveries of needed supplies. Medical teams from all over the world have set up camp at every functioning site. When you first enter, it is difficult to know if you are at a health center or a Lake George campground.

As would be expected, every place is dealing with crush injuries, fractures and open wounds from rebar or compound fractures. Sadly basic supplies are in short supply: suture kits, plaster of paris, X-ray film. I visited Medicins san Frontieres field hospital (all of their facilities were destroyed in the quake). This one was run by a team from the Netherlands. Other than for their chain-smoking, all of my previous good impressions were reinforced.

A good friend is running a refugee camp at the one country club in Haiti. It started with 1200 local people who arrived right after the quake. My friend invited the US military to set up camp there especially since the 18th green was ready-made for a helicopter. As soon as they arrived, the numbers of people seeking help rose exponentially. Currently, their census is 53,000.

The thing that is shocking to the likes of Anderson Cooper but what those of us in the country would expect is that the people of Port-au-Prince are quickly getting back to a normal routine. Stree merchants are coming in from the provinces to sell fruits and vegetables. The large Epidor bakery in Delmas 82 is pumping out break every morning though they have closed the front part of their building that housed the restaurant. They are now selling to young people who run around the street hawking bread by the loaf. This is the single attribute of Haitians that has always insured their survival. the ability to adapt, survive and move on no matter what difficulty confronts them.

I keep running into people I know. The reaction is always the same; it is like you found a long lost friend who you thought was lost. Even when you had knowledge that the person was alive, it doesn’t sink in until you actually see them. After the hug, everyone (including me) has the same reaction. “Now don’t start crying …”

We are all working very hard to keep our emotions in check and focus on the job at hand. There will be time for sadness later.

Wish I had time to write more but I am completely beat.
Think of Haiti.


Relief Efforts are Only Beginning

“Poverty is at the root of this catastrophe.”

“Thousands of patients with major fractures, major wounds, that have not been treated yet.”

“Time for a UN Crisis Corps.”
…These words taken from headlines ranging from The New York Times to Reuters are alerting the international community just how difficult the task of restoring Haiti is. Soon after many troops landed into Haiti to provide humanitarian relief, an alarmingly strong aftershock,that was reportedly 5.9 on the Richter scale, struck 35 miles from the capital yesterday (Wednesday, January 20), just after 6 a.m. While there was minimal injuries and devastation from this aftershock, many civilians were forced to return to images of the terrible night when the original earthquake hit last week. Seismologists are even concluding that more aftershocks will arrive shortly. Since the earthquake last week, Haiti has already experienced nearly 50 aftershocks.

Rene Preval was scheduled to address the nation via radio yesterday afternoon, but due to the tumultuous aftershocks, his words to Haiti continue to be prolonged.

More detailed information is finally obtained. Brazil, who has led a peacekeeping mission through the UN since 2004, lost 18 soldiers this past week, its largest loss of soldiers since World War II. More than 11,000 American troops are now present in Haiti, but relief efforts are still a struggle even for these large forces and superpowers. According to the Economist, “The main arteries in Port-au-Prince are blocked by rubble.” The first step is getting the aid to those who are in need. International Action is fighting the same battle as these institutions and countries. Even through the difficulties, we are working to reach impoverished neighborhoods and provide sanitary water to all. Because of the aftershocks, even more debris has been tossed around,  making it more difficult to locate clean, safe water nearby.

As of yesterday, Dalebrun had obtained 2 truckers. Today, there were 10 truckers made available (We hope for 14 tomorrow). Dalebrun has continued to make trips, serving nearly 35,000-40,000 Haitians with one gallon of water or less per person. Other water areas, such as MAC, are providing minimal water even with plastic bags.

The Haitians are grateful for the water, but also remain agitated. The dilapidated jail has allowed for many criminals to escape making it difficult to maintain order.  Additionally, Dalebrun has found it imperative to acquire staff for protection purposes. Although he is still negotiating the salary, he said he might spend $1,600-$1,700 on the new staff. We went through the list of water tanks and he told us which ones are broken but function, which ones are totally broken, and which ones are undamaged.
Your help can greatly support our efforts.

Haiti Relief Donation

Death Toll and Effects of Earthquake Still Unknown

As millions of people continue to tune into the news each night for any update on the Haiti disaster, many questions are still unanswered. Already, 5,000 U.S. troops are present within the region, with thousands more are expected to arrive soon. The U.S. took precautionary steps to assure Haitians that presence within the area would not reflect their invasive actions of 1915. Humanitarian relief is coming from all directions and from all different countries. As U.S. troops make their way into the country, signs are seen that read, “Dead bodies inside” and “Welcome the U.S. Marines.” The President of Haiti, René Préval, is reportedly addressing the nation on Wednesday by radio.

United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, addresses violence in Port-au-Prince and a need for food, shelter, and sanitary water. Many impromptu businesses have developed since the earthquake, and have begun to increase their prices dramatically. One woman was charging $1 (30 gourdes) for a piece of fried chicken, which is normally half a day’s wages for Haitians.

Former President Bill Clinton arrived in Haiti on Monday to tour the hospitals and witness the destruction for himself. Many procedures have been carried out in the dark and many patients flood the hallways. Soon after, he met with René Préval to discuss the aftershock of the earthquake and possible strategies to get humanitarian relief efforts on track.

During these desperate times, International Action has collaborated with other officials to support this worldwide effort. Arch Chemicals,  a chlorine and biocides manufacturer, has been working with IA to transfer water purification supplies to desperate areas.

Your help and generosity is greatly appreciated. We will continue to post updates and hope to hear from anyone with questions, concerns, or advice.

Donate Now!

357,759 Haitians Get De-worming Treatment

Haitian Director Dalebrun Esther has nearly completed distribution of our first purchase of 400,000 Albendazole pills. The pill de-worms children and adults.

Beginning with 65,000 people in Port-au-Prince reached through our local water boards, Dalebrun built a network of officials in outlying towns in Grand Anse and eight other regions of Haiti to distribute Albendazole.

Our report to the Pan American Health Organization is attached showing each province of Haiti with who was treated.

We reported 110,827 preschoolers – 3 years to 6 – got treated, 90,768 in the 6 to 14 year range, and at 15 years and older 79,410 women and 76,754 men.

We were so impressed by Dalebrun’s success in building a Haiti-wide network that we purchased another 1 million Albendazole tablets at $7500. Nearly every Haitian has worms of several varieties, and a single dose of the de-worming pill removes them for one year.

Worms take calories received by already underfed kids, slowing growth and retarding mental development. With chronic diarrhea from dirty water, the burden of worms affects nearly every Haitian.

In 2010, International Action will continue to offer church, municipal, neighborhood and other groups access to Albendazole tablets for free. A research team from Notre Dame University will be conducting a survey of the impact of Albendazole in Haiti during the same period.

Below is a link to pictures of women and children receiving the pills: