The following it s a note received from William Lowry who is in Haiti coordinating our relief efforts:
Brutus and I arrived back in Haiti on Sunday. Upon arrival, we were immediately approached by one of our local staff members, Wilbert, who had been at the airport receiving supplies and doctors during the morning. He shared with me that there was a six month old child who had been severely burned and had not been able to receive help from anyone. He informed me that a navy helicopter had just left, and that a medical group in another helicopter had just left, because there was no place to take this little girl to be treated in Haiti. The effort was being made to get her to the U.S. to be treated. There were three U.S. doctors at the airport who had been working in hospitals during the week and were involved in the effort. I spoke to the pilot and asked if he was willing to take the mother and her daughter Michaelle to the U.S. He said he was. We continued to work with Immigration and Customs here at the airport to get them to release her. Finally, after a lot of requesting and a lot of witnessed signatures, they released her.
The plane took off and we all stood believing that we had made it slightly possible for her life to be saved. Shortly after the plane departed, I called the customs office in Ft. Lauderdale to inform them of the situation. The three doctors who were on board, cared for Michaelle to the states and then made arrangements for her to be placed at the burn unit in Jacksonville. The last word we received was that she was still alive.
The number of victims from the earthquake is staggering. The number of dead truly marks this as one of the worst human disasters in history. The untold story lays in the number of wounded. There is a massive migration to the north. It is anticipated that as many as 100,000 will go to Gonieves in the next few months, and that as many as 200,000 people will have arrived in Cap Haitien within three months. Cap Haitien is a very crowded city of 1,000,000 people. It is the second largest city in Haiti and at one time in the past served as the Capital. An additional 200,000 people would represent an increase of 20% in just three months. Among those are huge numbers of injured. Their injuries are drastically varied. One doctor described it as similar to Viet Nam. The difficulties this has caused already on hospitals and clinics threatens the very lives of the ones who are being cared for. We have been in discussions with two major hospitals and three other organizations about the need for post-op care. An idea is to establish a “tent city”. A tent city strategically located between the hospitals can be staffed by the hospitals and the visiting doctors from around the world. This same discussion is being held in Gonaives. So many people are being operated on with life saving surgeries that there is no space for post-op care. If proper post-op care is not provided, the people who are saved from a life-threatening surgery will die following the surgery in post-op. This process is already being applied in Port Au Prince.
On Tuesday, we received nearly 50 pallets of supplies on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship. We had trucks ready to receive these pallets. The pallets were broken down to get the most number of items in each truck as possible. We worked until late into the night to load them along with a couple of other organizations, because we knew that if they were left on the pier without armed guard, they would disappear in the night by bandits in small boats. The pallets we received included CTW soap, medical supplies, medicines, surgery kits, canned food, cereal, rice, hurricane kits, paper goods, bags, and water. It was truly awesome to see the massive quantities that had the ability to help many many people.
A word on Royal Caribbean. We are so grateful that Royal Caribbean has chosen to stay in Haiti. At a time when things have become so difficult for the people of Haiti, to pull out would have caused the loss of significant jobs, income for the economy of Haiti, and no opportunity for these supplies to get in at no cost to organizations such as ours. David Southby and Broder Schutt are incredible individuals who care deeply about the people of Haiti. They are loading and unloading geniuses. They are fantastic to work with and have gone above and beyond to get supplies to people who need them. We know there are also many fantastic individuals in south Florida who are making it happen in a big way in the U.S. also. Hats off to you RCC. We look forward to a longstanding working relationship in the months to come.
On Wednesday, we provided a “Skyped” account of our efforts in Haiti to children at the Avalon Elementary School. They asked questions and then presented CTW with a check for nearly $2,000.00. We then began distribution of the supplies. We sent supplies to Justinien Hospital, Milot Hospital, Eben Ezer Hospital, Hope for Haiti Clinic, and several orphanages. We distributed more than 20% of the supplies in the first day.
Today, which is Thursday, we will distribute another 40% to groups who are providing these supplies to the people who need it. Today we will meet with the owner and captain of a large ship that can transport 200 pallets at a time from Labadee, where the Royal Caribbean Port is, around to Cap Haitien. By doing so, we will eliminate the need to transport these supplies in trucks across the treacherous road from Labadee to Cap Haitien. This will save time and money. We are going to view two additional warehouse/sites with Paul and Brian from Compassion Alliance with whom we are partnering in Haiti. They are from Ocala and are doing the same things we are. This will strengthen both of our ability to get the supplies off the ship and distributed to those in need. We have located 4 additional trucks that can be used along with Compassion Alliance’s three. This will help us greatly.
I received an email from the Director of Food this morning stating that they are in desperate need of food for the patients. We immediately made arrangements for a significant amount of food to be delivered to the hospital.
The U.S. Army has arrived to assist in Cap Haitien. They also are at the Mont Jolie. We have begun networking with them as they are there to assess and to help with the logistics. We informed them of the need for doctors in Gonieves. They stated that they had 200 doctors in Port Au Prince that were looking to be used in a more needed location. They were going to make arrangements to begin to provide these doctors to Gonieves. Things are beginning to become much more organized and much more efficient. However, no one seems to believe that we are prepared yet for the massive numbers of people who need help.
The supply needs continue to be water, medicines, medical supplies, food, tents, tarps, and hygiene products. As time goes forward, there may be a greater need for generators to supply electricity to tent cities.
This is a monumental task, We at Clean the World are so truly grateful for your support, prayers, resources, and care. America has stepped up as always to be a beacon of hope in a hopeless situation. Clean the World is right there ready and able to help. We need your help more than ever. We need to continue to receive supplies and the resources and funds to distribute them.
Please help us continue to help the people of Haiti!!!!
Director of Global Development
Clean the World