One of my fraternity brothers is a doctor who has go to Haiti 14 times in the past 5 years to do medical work. Thus, his connections to people in Haiti are first hand. Here's an email he sent this morning, to update me and others. If you can respond to any of the needs listed please do.
We were overjoyed to hear that Drs. Merline Milien, Vladimyr Roseau,
and Francise Milien (all Haitian medical students we have worked with for years) are well and uninjured from the earthquake.Â Our friends in Les Cayes are also well, and the orphanage at Espwa is undamaged.Â The devastation and chaos in Port-au-Prince (PaP) is without precedent, and I fear that things will worsen in the coming
days.Â The news media does not seem to understand that there were almost no social services and little infrastructure in Haiti to begin with- very few ambulances, no fire departments, hospitals with few medicines and supplies, little potable water, poor roads, irregular electrical service- and now there is almost nothing.Â The task ahead for the relief effort is overwhelming.
Hope for Haiti, whom we partnered with in Les Cayes this fall, has been active in PaP since the disaster.Â Mikey Stewart
is their director in Haiti, and is a corpsman and a former Navy Seal.Â Here is an update from their organization:
Mikey called yesterday mid afternoon and I can't tell you how good it was to hear his voice. He was at the UN base
in Port-au-Prince getting ready to participate in a logistics meeting that was about to take place. He explained that the UN has almost been paralyzed by the significant loss of their team. Many are suffering from severe shock. So many organizations have lost their staff. Many of our friends, and fellow ex-pats did not make it. The institutional knowledge that was lost in literally seconds from the death of seasoned dedicated staff and professionals is irreplaceable.
Mikey has set up a Trauma Center at Villa Creole in Petionville where hundreds of people are coming for care.
Thankfully another team of doctors/nurses arrived there last night and they are receiving more medical support, although they are very low on supplies. They are working on people literally on the pavement outside the hotel during the day and doing suturing and triage care by a headlamp at night.
E-mail from Mikey as of this morning at 7am:
"We have lost many friends. I am working with agencies who are left and trying to prep the people coming.
We will need box carts with strong wheels. I need large trash cans and bags cleaners, work gloves, good class 2 mask, construction masks. if we can, 2x4 wood, 3/4 plywood, 2in and 4in nails. we ill need to build up a doorm and office. tools saws nails. etc. ask Bart zino he can make a list fast. chairs, food - non-parashable MRE type food snack ete my team don't have much. Un is trying to set up camps for NGO support but it is weeks off.
I am ok and working as fast as I can still running trauma center at night. we have about 150. maybe 100 new.
losing many to internal injuries that we cannot operate on. "
The General Hospital in Port-au-Prince is still standing and Mikey was there this morning to talk to the director. Their staff is down to only 4 Haitian medical professionals, and they desperately need more support and leadership. Dead bodies are just lining the streets and Mikey has been working hard to move the corpses away in order to find anyone who may be still living. He spent the night triaging as many people as possible and he said that they are in desperate need of clothing since almost everyone is coming to them soaked in blood.
Although relief is coming, it is not soon enough. Mikey said that unfortunately there is little on-the-ground mobilizing. Most locally based NGOs and Government are working to search for their own staff and each person is searching for their loved ones that have been lost or buried under collapsed buildings. There is nowhere for anyone to sleep and food and water is low. No electricity, phones are still down, and fuel sources are already drying up. Shock is starting to wear off and fear, hunger, and panic are starting to set in. A coordinated effort is needed to have an immediate impact and the clock is ticking as security becomes an even greater risk with each hour that passes.
In Les Cayes, HFH staff met with the UN base about coordinating relief efforts in the South. About 60 injured people came from PAP to Les Cayes today and crowded the Les Cayes General Hospital. There is only 1 Doctor there at the moment -- Dr. Leger -- and no food. They're expecting a lot more patients plus families in refugee situations, and are planning to set up temporary tent housing on the main soccer field. Distributions of food, hygiene products, and other supplies will be key and a coordinated effort is being established between Hope for Haiti, UN, CRS, Terres des Hommes, and Rotary to assemble supplies and distributed.
Updates on Immediate Action from the Hope for Haiti, Naples, Fl Office:
Two planes are landing in Port-au-Prince this morning to deliver medical supplies, food, water and medical volunteers. They will be transported to the Trauma Center for immediate relief.
Another two planes will be landing on Saturday morning, one 757 that is completely full of medical supplies. The plane has been donated by GE and medical supplies have been provided by Americares and generous donors to Hope for Haiti.
Emergency relief buckets containing food, water purification tablets, and a hygiene kit are being distributed, but supplies are running out fast.
At this time, we at Medical Missions South Haiti do not have the resources for chartering planes and placing self-contained medical teams in Haiti.Â Teams will have to provide their own equipment and supplies, transportation, generators, fuel, water, food, and security.Â If you feel called to donate funds for the disaster relief, I would recommend you consider Hope for Haiti (www.hopeforhaiti.com
), Doctors without Borders, Partners in Health, or Pwoje Espwa (www.freethekids.org
This will be a long term relief effort lasting months and probably years, and we will become more involved as circumstances allow.
All of the fuel, food, medicines, and supplies must come in through PaP, and the port is destroyed.Â The one road to the south to Les Cayes is barely passable.Â Food, fuel, and other items will become in short supply in coming weeks in the rest of the country, and refugees and injured people from PaP are beginning to arrive in Les Cayes, placing an additional strain on very limited resources.Â
Please keep the people of Haiti and the relief workers in your thoughts and prayers, as this is a situation that defies comprehension.Â It reminds me of the story of Job expanded to an entire nation.
I will end with an email we just received from Dr. Merline Milien.Â
On a flat mattress and a small blanquet francise and i are lying on the drive way of the Haitian academy where we spent the nights since the earthquake, just like everybody at port au prince, cabaret and all over the big south of Haiti. People used to be in the streets, walking, working, selling eveything, but now there are on the streets to sleep.
Most of the time in the past they considered Haiti as a country in needs but today, need is too weak to talk about Haiti. I heard that we will find help from other countries, even i don't see them yet till yesterday, but i am sure they will come, if they don't we will have more people dying from the decomposition of the dead bodies than from the earthquake. Port au prince start to be really smelly and it is scary.
In spite of anything we could ask, we need SANITATION. As a physician i can also say protection for us who escaped. If i want to list the needs, like food, clothes,toilet articles, shoes, and a roof are all important, we know that God is watching from the closest not just in the highest heaven, he is there with us. While we lost several physicians, nurses in the catastrophe, we needs hands, we also need mental assistant for those people who are
there watching they lovely ones died without able to do something, even for us too,when the clinic at the HAitian Academy has half fall down, it is just after we find hundreds of people coming for help and we just say sorry, i didn't have any gloves or any other things in our way to help, and i was thinking about our limitation that become not just a limitation but impossibility, several are died before they can move to other places, 7 of the big hospital at port au prince collapsed so reffer someone is not the right word for the moment, some time later on the afternoon, we
saw at the neighborhood some missionaries who have a burn center, they opened it to help people, but they couldn't take in charge the open wound and bad fractures and at this time we went over and asked them to help, we were relieved in being able to do something, they have mostly things to take care of a burned patient, but we found some sutures and we did the job even our feet get tired, we used our knees and till we can't anymore, it was the same scenarios for the last four days. We also needs pads for the ladies, as the marquets are not available we
saw people wth their period and don't findÂ pads to put on.
sorry if i talk too much, i know i was in shock, but God allowed me to do well with the patients.