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Archive for January, 2010

Wake up call

Posted by rightsbasedhaiti on January 20, 2010

This is not the way that I want to wake up in the morning! At 6 am one of the strongest tremors since the big one woke us all up. Everyone started screaming and running. At Matthew 25 we are still not allowed back in the house. I cannot explain the feeling of panic that the tremor caused in me this morning – just a few minutes ago.

In this moment now I am typing, and thinking about the emails that I need to send, the meetings I need to prepare for and how we will again find gas for the house and hospital. But for a little more than a short while, it again felt like the world was ending.

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Update on Coordinated Rapid Response

Posted by rightsbasedhaiti on January 17, 2010

Update on Coordinated Rapid Response
Haiti Earthquake
January 16, 2010
Konbit Pou Ayiti/KONPAY – Working Together for Haiti

Three nights ago a nightmare we hadn’t imagined possible began in Haiti. Like any shocking and horrifying tragedy, we will all remember and tell stories of where we were when we heard about the 7.0 earthquake that shattered Haiti on January 12, 2010. Haiti KONPAY has been playing a critical role coordinating a rapid response to the crisis in both Jacmel and Port-au-Prince. We are currently coordinating efforts to identify and assess needs and also working out logistics to get much needed human and materials resources onto the ground.

Through collaboration with several key partners in the U.S. we are working with a pool of qualified medical professionals and interpreters prepared to travel to Haiti. Beyond Borders is creating a database of potential volunteers and vetting applicants. We are also receiving many helpful offers and are coordinating a team of volunteers following up on the most promising of these. We have outlined a comprehensive rapid response strategy and are contacting other major organizations to share ideas and encourage collaboration. We are seeking meetings with USAID, the UN, the Clintons and others tasked with coordinating international response to share the ideas generated by dozens of smaller NGOs with decades of Haiti experience who are currently working together to carry out immediate response on the ground.

We are pursuing two major strategies right now:

• Delivering immediate support to people on the ground in Jacmel and Port-au-Prince by coordinating the transport of supplies and volunteers. Carefully design volunteer interventions to avoid exacerbating the developing food and water shortages.

• Encouraging the evacuation of Port-au-Prince and establish the resources necessary to assist victims when they arrive in the countryside by assessing existing resources in outlying areas and sending teams and equipment to clinics. Coordinating with Americans living in lesser-affected areas to support with transport vehicles and coordination of volunteers in the field.

Below find reports on the efforts underway with partners in Jacmel and Port-au-Prince, and two assessments from a team already on the ground.

JACMEL

Out today from the UN in Jacmel these are some details of the damage in Jacmel, which is a city of 34,000:
• 1,785 homes completely destroyed
• 4410 homes partially destroyed
• 87 commercial businesses destroyed
• 
54 schools destroyed
• 24 hotels destroyed
• 26 churches destroyed
• 
5730 families displaced
• 
Death count approaching 3,000, nearly 10% of the population
(Reported by Gwenn Mangine, http://www.mangine.org)

We have received a number of reports listing major buildings in Jacmel which collapsed, including: the La Trinite school, Interfamilia school, half of the primary section at the Alcibiade school and cultural center, part of the hospital and many other buildings.

KONPAY Co-Founder Joe Duplan is on the ground in Jacmel and is part of a coordination team with Guerda Placide of Fondasyon Limyè Lavi. FLL’s sister organization is Beyond Borders; Director David Diggs is working closely with Melinda Miles in the U.S. Joe and Guerda spent today making a list of buildings damaged, urgent needs and potential sites to house volunteers and set up clinics and temporary housing. In addition, they met with the Haitian National Police, Fire Chief and Mayor’s office to discuss how to best coordinate and work together to respond to immediate needs.
Obstacles: Jacmel is currently unreachable by land routes due to collapsed areas on the road to Port-au-Prince at Tomb Gateau and St. Etienne. Until this afternoon the runway and airport were filled with people who had fled the ruins of the town, but the UN peacekeepers reportedly have the field clear now for their planes to land, however it is almost impossible for us to get clearance to land there.
We are following several promising leads on getting boats donated in the Dominican Republic or surrounding island nations that can carry our medical professionals and supplies directly to Jacmel. Helicopters are also a possibility but very expensive.

PORT-AU-PRINCE

The situation in PAP is growing more desperate by the moment. We are working with Amber Munger who is headquartered at the Matthew 25 Guest House in Delmas 33, where a triage hospital has been set up on the soccer field. In addition, Reed Lindsay, journalist with TeleSur and head of the Honor and Respect Foundation, is on the ground and will be joining Amber tomorrow. Also about to be part of the team are Sasha Kramer of SOIL and Catherine Lainé of Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group (AIDG). AIDG also has structural engineers on the way.

This team will be coordinating the response in PAP. They will help us get resources – human, material and financial – to where they are needed most. They have immediate needs such as diesel for generators and cash to keep buying food, and in the short-term they need medical supplies, food and other equipment. There is also a need to start digging trenches for temporary burial in the immediate neighborhood.

Reed Lindsay’s text Thursday night:

“The worst may yet to come, if we do not act fast. People are already thirsty, and water, is difficult to find, even to buy. I drove through the entire city today and didn’t see a single aid distribution. Al Jazeera news team told me the same. Streets are normally lined with street food merchants. Now difficult to find any food and it will get worse. Situation desperate but could get catastrophic soon. Thousands are dead, probably tens of thousands. Bodies hauled off in trucks to  be buried in common graves, but many bodies still lying on the street  and many more in wreckage. It is too late for them. But for those who survived, time is running out. Communities are starting to organize.  But they have no resources. Everyone sleeping in streets and plazas parks. They have set up their own refugee camps. Thousands have fled for countryside. But most have nowhere to go.”

Amber Munger, working with KONPAY, reported yesterday:

“In my thirteen years of working in Haiti, not once before have I seen such massive destruction as we are experiencing now.  Nor have I seen such motivation, determination, compassion, and solidarity among people.  When we entered portoprens after the quake struck, the city had fallen and was continuing to fall as a result of continuous aftershocks.  The streets were full of people sitting together.  Everyone was sitting in the middle of the roads for fear that the houses would continue to fall on them. They were singing.  The whole city was singing.  They were singing songs of solidarity.  They were singing songs of thanks and praise that they were still able to sing and to be together.  These people have lost everything.  The city is now a city of refugees.  But they are putting their voices together to be thankful.”

Major obstacles are transportation of donations and volunteers. We are working on several angles right now to get supplies either via land from the Dominican Republic, on planes into PAP or on cargo ships possibly via the St. Marc port. Communication remains a serious obstacle to coordinating with other groups on the ground, but Amber is stepping up her efforts to be in touch with other groups offering emergency relief and hopes to move to the new MINUSTAH (UN Peacekeeping Mission) center for NGOs once it is set up.

Two reports from Johns Hopkins University teams that are in PAP with Amber now:

1. Rapid Assessment Survey: Delmas 31
Location: Commune of Delmas, area Delmas 31 (28SqKm)
Surveyors: Remle Stubbs-Dame and Lenka Heller
Infrastructure: 50-75% houses collapsed
Demographics: 834 individuals surveyed (296 children).
Total Population prior to earthquake: 341,791 (IHSI, 2007)
Deaths: 10% death rate among population surveyed
Injuries: 5%-10% of population surveyed is critically injured and not receiving medical care
Immediate Needs: (Population will run out of food and water within 24-48 hours)
• Removal of deceased from streets
• Potable water
• Medical treatment of superficial wounds (alcohol, gauze, antibiotics, betadine)
• High-calorie food
• Sanitation/waste management
Status of population: At time of survey, majority of population was calm, understanding, and patient. Tension is rising quickly in settlements since most of them lack all immediate needs.
NGOs: Encountered two aid workers with limited supplies who were based in the community
• Chappelle Evangelique of Delmas 9 and Delmas 11 – operating a clinic but leaving on 1/15/10.
• American schoolteacher has building for safety, feeding, and limited medical supplies for basic wounds: Sherrill E. Fausey (Christian Light Ministries foundation) fausianno@yahoo.com)

General Assessment: The commune is predominately low class with a small share of middle class and slum settlements. An estimated 50-75% of structures have collapsed completely. About 50 people are still trapped under the rubble; the majority are confirmed deceased. There are approximately 25 small settlements (100-300 people) in the area. There are also at least 2-5 larger make-shift camps in parks of approximately 1,000-3,000 people. Those who still have homes are sleeping on the street at night for safety. We surveyed a densely populated section of Delma 31. The damage varied from from street to street, from 25% – 75% of the houses had fallen partially or completely, and an additional 10-15% were structurally inhabitable. During the visual survey, which covered an area of approximately 500 square meters, observers noted one functioning market and one market that was running out of food. Out of approximately six water stores passed, only one was open and still distributing water, albeit slowly to the large line which had congregated. Surveyed participants reported that on the morning of the 13th water vendors had been walking along the road, but since 12pm no water was being sold by individuals.

Camp and Small Settlement Visits: Delma 31
• Camp 1: 5,000-13,000 inhabitants. 45% children. Food vendors set up on either side, and at least one day’s supply of water for most inhabitants. One medical team operating, but leaving PaP tomorrow. No one running the camp.
• Camp 2: 2000 inhabitants. 424 hurt, 44 gravely injured. No food, less than one day of water. No medical care. Contact: Lieu Parc Maguana Delmas 31, Rue Maguana, Tel 509-3400-7908, 3944-9594. In charge: Patrick Etienne, Psychologist.
• Settlement 1: 300-350 inhabitants. Mostly minor injuries. No food, water, medical care. Rue De Mabwa # 3 (empty lot).
• Camp 3: 2,000 inhabitants. 20% critically injured. 24 hour supply of food, no water, no medical care. Rue Saint Phare

2. Medical Report: Bourdon Valley
1/14/10
Over the last two days our team has provided medical care in the Bourdon Valley community. We saw patients with injuries ranging from superficial abrasions, burns, crushed limbs, and many infected and gangrenous wounds scraping down to muscle and bone. Yesterday and the day before, we passed through smaller groups of people huddled together seeking refuge away from their houses with a range of injuries. Today we traveled to the prime minister’s house with people camping on the grass since the earthquake. There are hundreds maybe thousands of people camping there. We worked alongside a team of Haitian doctors and nurses along with a team of medical workers from China. Most of the injured people here had already received some type of rudimentary treatment, and with several of them there was nothing further that could be done besides waiting for appropriate antibiotics and surgical care that was needed. We redressed many wounds. We are a team of two doctors and two medical students and our skills and resources only allow for suboptimal palliative care. Giving a girl maximum strength ibuprofen after her leg has been shattered and is now necrosing is not ideal to say the least. Many people needed urgent surgery at this stage. People need orthopedists, trauma surgeons, and anesthesiologists. Other specialists that would be useful: ophthalmologists, primary care.
A list of key supplies we came up through our experience and the request of another Haitian doctor:
Medications:
Pain control (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, morphine, tramadol, lidocaine, lidocaine cream)
Wound cleaning (hydrogen peroxide, gauze, swabs, iodine, ace bandages, gloves, plastic bags, masks, tweezers, tape, alcohol wipes, triple antibiotic cream, sterile water)
Antibiotics (IV antibiotics, co-trimoxazole, amoxicillin, tetanus vaccinations with cold chain, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, metronidazole, eyedrops)
Chronic medications (glucose checker, metformin, insulin, antihypertensives – hydrochlorthiazide and ACE inhibitors)
Oral rehydration therapy

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Please donate! URGENT request and update

Posted by rightsbasedhaiti on January 16, 2010

The gunfire spread last night to our zone. At 1 am it started. It was off in the distance a ways when it first started but got closer and closer up until about 2:30 and then it seemed to stop. All of the homeless on the streets and in the refugee camps again met the chaos with loud singing, clapping and prayers.

I am at the Matthew 25 house in Delmas 33. Here we have set up a triage hospital with more than 1,300 refugees on a soccer field. The people at Matthew 25 have been traveling all over the city trying to figure out what clinics and hospitls are operational, what services they can provide and what the needs are.

There is no visible coordination effort from international agencies on the ground. There were no planes coming in yesterday. One of my coordinating partners, AMURT-Haiti, worked to find a plane of 30-40 doctors and supplies that could come, but the plane was not allowed to land in the PAP airport. We have teams in the Domiican Republic with truckloads of supplies, but they were stopped at the border and were not allowed entry.

The situation here is desperate and getting restless. The John Hopkins Students who were visiting Rights based Haiti and AMURT when the earthquake hit, have been doing surveys and assessments of the clinics and refuggee camps in the nearby zones. The surveys that they conducted two days ago show that none of the people in the camps had food or water to last them more than a day.

Here at Matthew 25, we have been doign amputations, and other painful surgeries, with no painkillers, no anesthesia, nothing to work with. There are no tools for our doctors. We have numerous Haitian doctors and nurses here but no supplies! We have run out of antibiotics twice but then found them by searching at nearby clinics run by missions and NGOs.

We have heard nothing from MINUSTAH. I have not seen any of the international agencies on the ground. I have seen belgian doctors and cuban doctors all doing amazing work – but we have not seen or received any contact or assistance from higher agencies ourselves.

The city has run out of water and food – but the biggest problem is gas and diesel. The little that trickles in to the one or two gas stations is the subject of fights that will soon become rioting. At matthew 25, there no diesel to run the generator. We are using the last power that the inverter has that may cut out at any time. Our vehicles are all on their last ounce of fuel. I have sent one of my trusted staff and friends who worked closely with me during the gonaives emergency in 2008 to find gas this morning. I am afraid for him. There is no way for him to communicate with me because there is no phone service in the country. Now we are also running out of money. I gave my last cash today to pay for gas, a little bit of food, and a spare tire for one of our vehicles to replace one that was stolen. The nearest western union is two hours north in St. Marc and we are not sure if that is still functioning.

An added pressure on the city right now is that, due to the lack of communications, many people from the provinces are coming to search for their loved ones. They then add to the numbers of people stuck in PAP with no way out, no food, or water.

All of the problems that exist in catastrophes, we are expereinceing now. how to dispose of the bodies, the human waste, how to move people out of the city. Everyone here is fearing rain because they think that the first rain will move the earth under the standing houses causing those buildings to fall as well. Each day more things fall.

I am coordinating with AMURT, KONPAY, Beyond Borders, Matthew 25, and many other partners on an integrated response that will help us get through the next week as well as prepare us to deal with the coming months of insecurity. We have coordinated the shipment of diesel from the open port in cap-haitian, the use of a shipping company to haul fuel from the DR to PAP, the use of a large protected storage compound to store the fuel. We have Haitian volunteers working with the John Hopkin team to conduct the surveys to provide us important data on the numbers and locations of people who are in need of medical care, so that when help and supplies arrive, we are able to efficiently get people to where they need to go. We have worked with grassroots leaders in Commune Anse ROuge to gather information throughout the commune on family names and locations in PAP so that each village can send on e or two people to serach for loved ones in PAP rather than everyone from the villages going into the disaster zone.

in general, we are being used as a place for information exchange. journalists, and organizational representatives are checking in daily to give updates and share information which i then share with my contact at KONPAY who then shares the information with the larger network of NGOS that we are coordinating with. until MINUSTAH is able to re-establish a coordination base, we are making the MAtthew 25 house the coordination headquarters for our operations.

Haitians are helping each other in glorious acts of compassion and kindness every where you look. These people have endured so much unspeakable and unnecessary suffering. I am today, as always, blessed to be walking with them in their struggle to overcome their awful and unfair circumstances, and am even more blessed to be sharing in the strength of spirit that makes each one of them my hero.

Our partners also need your help! AMURT-Haiti and Beyond Borders are helping us to coordinate our efforts. We are all working together to share resources to assist haitians during this disaster. Please send your donations to Konpay, to AMURT-Haiti, or Beyond Borders to help us!

Amber Lynn Munger, J.D.
US/Haiti Phone: 1 (828) 348-4624
Haiti Cell: + (509) 3656-8292
Skype: DixiePea

“Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.”
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 29(1)

“Chak moun gen yon seri obligasyon anvè kominote kote li ap viv la. Paske kominote a se sèl kote li kapab alèz pou li devlope pèsonalite li tout bon vre.”
- Deklarasyon Linivèsèl Dwa Moun, Atik 29(1)

Amber Lynn Munger, J.D.
US/Haiti Phone: 1 (828) 348-4624
Haiti Cell: + (509) 3656-8292
Skype: DixiePea

“Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.”
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 29(1)

“Chak moun gen yon seri obligasyon anvè kominote kote li ap viv la. Paske kominote a se sèl kote li kapab alèz pou li devlope pèsonalite li tout bon vre.”
- Deklarasyon Linivèsèl Dwa Moun, Atik 29(1)

On Jan 14, 2010, at 2:02 PM, Amber Lynn Munger wrote:

In my thirteen years of working in Haiti, not once before have I seen such massive destruction as we are experiencing now. Nor have I seen such motivation, determination, compassion, and solidarity among people. When we entered portoprens after the quake struck, the city had fallen and was continuing to fall as a result of continuous aftershocks. The streets were full of people sitting together. Everyone was sitting in the middle of the roads for fear that the houses would continue to fall on them. They were singing. The whole city was singing. They were singing songs of solidarity. They were singing songs of thanks and praise that they were still able to sing and to be together. These people have lost everything. The city is now a city of refugees. But they are putting their voices together to be thankful.

After recovering our loved ones that we could find from the wreckage, we spent the rest of the night assisting others in the street, strategizing and attempting to rest to prepare for the coming days. The whole night we passed hearing people singing, people screaming and crying when their loved ones died. People were dying all around. And the tremors continued all night. The hospitals are full and cannot accept more people. All over PAP there is danger from the destruction. There are still no cell phone communications or internet available. Coordinating activities is extremely difficult.

What is needed now is a way to get people out of the city. I am working with several organizations on a coordinated disaster response that is focusing on reinforcing the countryside so that people can leave portoprens and go back to their families in the province. Almost everyone in PAP has family in the countryside. The efforts that I am supporting are helping haitians to support their family members in leaving PAP and in receiving the care that they need when they leave.

If not organized strategically, this disaster will soon have huge consequences to the food producing regions that depend on PAP to purchase their product and services. We need to reinforce these areas and set up services in the communes so that people can flee the cities and find the support that they need in the communes. We need to support grassroots organizations in the commune by sending them resources to buy food, by sending them medical experts and materials, and provide them with other basic services that will support them in staying in the province and getting their lives together.

I am working with grassroots leaders in zones all over PAP as well as leaders from the provinces to identify strategies to move the people out and to assist the people in PAP who cannot leave in finding food, water, shelter and medical care. I am helping these leaders to coordinate and to facilitate outside help as well such as foreign doctors and supplies being sent by other countries. These leaders are identifying the needs in their communities and the network I am working with is coordinating thier needs with the resources that are bging sent from outside the country as well as from zone to zone within the country. I am assisting in the coordination of this effort on the ground in Haiti and Melinda Miles of Konpay is currently handling the logistics and coordination from the US. I am also partnering with AMURT-Haiti to coordinate emergency food relief in slums in the bourdon area of portoprens. We need help. We desperately need money to be sent to use for gas, transport, food, supplies co,ing from the US such as medical supplies and web phones, and to pay Haitians working to help Haitians. Many Haitians are working together without compensation to help one another. But this is not sustainable over the next month as resources begin to dwindle and people’s needs become desperate. We need to be able to support their work. Please send contributions to Konpay and go to their site where they are developing a page on our disaster response efforts at http://www.razoo.com/story/Haiti-Earthquake-Emergency-Relief-Campaign. You can find donation information on that page. You can also visit the Konpay, AMURT-Haiti and Beyond Borders websites to learn more about the work of those partners.

Please help!

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Requests for help! What to do?

Posted by rightsbasedhaiti on January 15, 2010

If someone with disaster relief experience can contact me – we need your help! We cannot figure out what to do with the trash at the makeshift hospital that we have set up at the soccer field here at Matthew 25. We also need structural engineers desperately – so that we can have someone assess the building that we are living in as well as the other buildings that will be used for relief efforts here.

I also need vehicles! We have set up a transport system here and we have all of the people in place to run the system but we need vehicles! If you know of NGO’s or others working in Haiti who can allow us ot use their vehicles, please contact melinda miles at Konpay or David Diggs at Beyon Borders. They can contact me directly, here.

We also need satellite phones.

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Aftershocks

Posted by rightsbasedhaiti on January 15, 2010

January 15, 2010 5:52 am

This morning we woke up to aftershocks around 5am.  Again, the tremors were met with singing.  The singing is almost as forceful as the quakes.  They are still singing now with all of their force – Hallelujah!  It is as if they are saying “we are not afraid!”  These people are so beautiful that I cry even now, as my ears are filled with their voices and I am writing these lines, hoping that the power will hold out.  There are no others like the Haitian people.

The singing was all night.  There were other aftershocks throughout the night.  But this singing now is the singing that will also meet the sun as it comes up to show us all of the damage once again.  Bittersweet sunrise.

Today the big question is gas.  We ran out two days ago when I drove back to the commune.  We meaning the country.  On my drive back to the commune i stopped all along the road to buy gallon by gallon.  I stopped at six gas stations and was finally able to get full of diesel after filling up at every one.

I am eager to leave the Matthew House to check out the school at Delmas 31 so that we can start setting it up with mechanics , parts and tools.  I also want to get to Didi’s.  But I am still afraid to leave until the sun comes up.  I just want to hug the kids.  What I wouldn’t do for a hug!

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Earthquake relief effort – setting up hospital and logistics

Posted by rightsbasedhaiti on January 15, 2010

People are asking me what has happened so here is an up to date.  I was in the province where I live (Commune Anse Rouge) when the quake struck.  I was hosting two public health students from John Hopkins, a Haitain American who was considering working with my new organization, and the husband of a friend of mine who is a former producer from CBS named Frank.

After the quake we saw on the internet that PAP was badly affected.  Frank’s wife is  afriend of mine who lives in PAP at the Norwich Mission House.  We called her using my skype connection to see if she was ok.  She answered the phone and said that the house had fallen on her and that she was trapped inside.  Then the phone was cut off and we could not again reach her.  We all loaded the car with our things, including my dog, DixiePeanutWonderdog, and we made the five hour drive to PAP.  When we got here the streets were filled with people.  They were singing among the wreckage.  You could see many dead and many more struggling to dig people out from wreckage.

We had to pass several other places on the way to the Norwich House.  Our first destination was to get John, the Haitian American, to his house to see his wife to make sure that she was ok.  We made it through fine although the raoad was covered with toppled buildings and downed power lines, and people laying together in the streets to get away from falling houses.  John’s family was safe.  We headed back up the road toward the house where I stay when I am in portoprens.  That house is also a school for 200 students who live in the slum up the river.  That house also has four adopted children and four orphaned teenagers.  It is “Kay Didi” where a female monk from ANanda Marga lives and cares for people in the neighborhood.  I was terrified that the house, which is at the bottom of a ravine, would have fallen.  We could not make it up the street because many of the houses had fallen in the middle of the road.  Destroyed vehicles were everywhere and part of the road had fallen down the side of the mountain.  We left the car and climbed down the ravine on foot.  All of the children and all of the others who live at the house were sleeping outside.  The house was still there.  All were safe.  I left DixiePeanut Wonderdog with the kids and we headed up to find Jillian at the Norwich Mission House.

When we arrived at the Mission House, Jillian was stilltrapped under the house.  Her staff, all of whom I know well, were working tirelessly to dig her out.  Because there were so many people trying to get her out, I took the med students, one of whom is already a doctor to the streets to see if we could be of assistance.  There were so many people that needed help.  On that small street alone there were probably 400 wounded and we didn’t even walk the whole street!  But there was little that we could do with no medicine and no tools.  It was very difficult because the hospitals would not take any more patients and people were dying in front of us.  There was nothing we could do.  We went back to the house and just then they dug Jillian out from under teh rubble.  After her they dug out Chuck, the other director. Both were fine although Chuck was very banged up.

At that point we tried to rest so that we could get to work in the morning.  It was about 3am.  There was no sleeping, though because the wailing, the singing, the crying and the tremors continued all night.  In the morning the streets were bustling and the wailing was fierce.  I took all of the americans that we had with us to the US embassy.  Jillian and her husband frank wanted to go back to the US.  Jillian let me use the Land Cruiser from the Norwich Mission House as Demeter Russafiv (coordinator for AMURT-haiti) and I began devising our coordination strategy for the disaster.

We had no communications – no internet or phones.  Demeter and I coordinated emergency relief efforts in 2008 for the gonaives disaster and so we are used to working in these situations. However, the problem that we had now is that there were no communications, no phones or internet and all of our equipment – trucks, gas, tools, motorcycles, were back in the commune.  So i hopped in the newly borrowed land cruiser and drove to the commune to ask our community in commune anse rouge for help and to get suppies.  when i got to sources chaude i had internet so i began coordinating with the organizations that I work with in haiti.  I started coordinating with melinda from Konpay and Beyond Borders as well as my AMURT partners.  There I found that volunteers for AMURT in the US had coordinated many medical staff and supplies that were ready to come to Haiti on a plane.  They need to knwo where to go.  At that point, every one started contacting me trying to figure out how to help.  Melinda Miles and I discussed our strategy and decided that the best strategy is to get people out of the city and to keep the provinces alive by transporting the food from the provinces to the cities.  immediately i met with the grassroots leaders in the commune and they started working on a strategy to prepare teh community to recieve families from the city.

After gathering supplies and meeting community leaders, I left for PAP today afternoon.  Through my discussions with melinda we decided to create three bases so far and are creating more.  I am writing now from one of those bases in PAP, the MAthew 25 house where they have turned the soccer field next to the guesthouse into a triage hospital.  There are more than a thousand wounded here already.  The doctors and the supplies would be here by now but the plane is too big to land so we are waiting to see what will happen next.  We are almost oout of gas and there is no gas in the city.  After sending some emails and setting a meeting with the heads of several organizations and journalists for tomorrow morning at 6am, i tried to leave to go to Didi’s again.  Before I was ready to leave I began getting all of the skypes that there is gunfire all over teh city.  so we diecided to stay here at the Mathew 25 house (hospital) and will try to go to Didi’s and set up alogistics yard in Delmas tomorrow morning.  Again, I am so happy and thankful to be here with my fellow Haitian community members and leaders from the province.  We all made it safe and sound.  Tomorrow we will try to find their families and develop our strategy for moving those not seriously injured to the communal zones.

thank you all for your concerns.  will keep youposted as I can.

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Earthquake Disaster Response

Posted by rightsbasedhaiti on January 14, 2010

In my thirteen years of working in Haiti, not once before have I seen such massive destruction as we are experiencing now.  Nor have I seen such motivation, determination, compassion, and solidarity among people.  When we entered portoprens after the quake struck, the city had fallen and was continuing to fall as a result of continuous aftershocks.  The streets were full of people sitting together.  Everyone was sitting in the middle of the roads for fear that the houses would continue to fall on them. They were singing.  The whole city was singing.  They were singing songs of solidarity.  They were singing songs of thanks and praise that they were still able to sing and to be together.  These people have lost everything.  The city is now a city of refugees.  But they are putting their voices together to be thankful.

After recovering our loved ones that we could find from the wreckage, we spent the rest of the night assisting others in the street, strategizing and attempting to rest to prepare for the coming days.  The whole night we passed hearing people singing, people screaming and crying when their loved ones died.  People were dying all around. And the tremors continued all night.  The hospitals are full and cannot accept more people.  All over PAP there is danger from the destruction.  There are still no cell phone communications or internet available.  Coordinating activities is extremely difficult.

What is needed now is a way to get people out of the city.  I am working with several organizations on a coordinated disaster response that is focusing on reinforcing the countryside so that people can leave portoprens and go back to their families in the province.  Almost everyone in PAP has family in the countryside.  The efforts that I am supporting are helping haitians to support their family members in leaving PAP and in receiving the care that they need when they leave.

If not organized strategically, this disaster will soon have huge consequences to the food producing regions that depend on PAP to purchase their product and services. We need to reinforce these areas and set up services in the communes so that people can flee the cities and find the support that they need in the communes.  We need to support grassroots organizations in the commune by sending them resources to buy food, by sending them medical experts and materials, and provide them with other basic services that will support them in staying in the province and getting their lives together.

I am working with grassroots leaders in zones all over PAP as well as leaders from the provinces to identify strategies to move the people out and to assist the people in PAP who cannot leave in finding food, water, shelter and medical care.  I am helping these leaders to coordinate and to facilitate outside help as well such as foreign doctors and supplies being sent by other countries.  These leaders are identifying the needs in their communities and the network I am working with is coordinating thier needs with the resources that are bging sent from outside the country as well as from zone to zone within the country.  I am assisting in the coordination of this effort on the ground in Haiti and Melinda Miles of Konpay is currently handling the logistics and coordination from the US.  I am also partnering with AMURT-Haiti to coordinate emergency food relief in slums in the bourdon area of portoprens.  We need help.  We desperately need money to be sent to use for gas, transport, food, supplies co,ing from the US such as medical supplies and web phones, and to pay Haitians working to help Haitians. Many Haitians are working together without compensation to help one another.  But this is not sustainable over the next month as resources begin to dwindle and people’s needs become desperate.  We need to be able to support their work.   Please send contributions to Konpay and go to their site where they are developing a page on our disaster response efforts at http://www.razoo.com/story/Haiti-Earthquake-Emergency-Relief-Campaign. You can find donation information on that page.  You can also visit the Konpay, AMURT-Haiti and Beyond Borders websites to learn more about the work of those partners.

Please help!

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