Monday, February 1, 2010

Rescue and recovery efforts in Haiti

Global Voices team.
"Global Voices has sent a two-person team to Port-au-Prince in the wake of the Haiti earthquake, to help support citizen media activity. Georgia Popplewell and Alice Backer are also contributing firsthand reporting to our coverage of recovery efforts. Find out more about their assignment here."

Georgia Popplewell, Global Voices.   Rand rue artists after the earthquake 
Grand Rue in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is one of the city's most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, but also home to a vibrant community of artists who create works of art out of the discarded materials they find in their environment. The area was host to the first Ghetto Biennale in December 2009.

Alice Backer, Global Voices. Global Voices in Haiti: Talking to Volunteer Régine Zamor

Alice Backer, on assignment for Global Voices in Port-au-Prince, interviews Régine Zamor, a Haitian-American who travelled to Haiti after the 12 January earthquake and has helped dozens of people as an independent volunteer.

Eric, a medic (text)
the people here are amazing. these people who live in poverty are going out of their way to help us with transportation, interpreters, etc... the degree of crime reported in the mainstream media is mostly hype. we feel totally safe here and have even before we joined up with the 82nd. speaking of transportation, jet blue is comping us for all of our airtravel. they have my business in the future.

Sanchez Missions
When we arrived at Port-au-Prince, mission director Dan Irvine said he had with him a 9-year-old girl whose feet had been crushed in the earthquake. Her feet looked like "ground beef," and if infection set in, it would be quickly fatal. The island hospital had done all they could. They needed to find an orthopedic doctor in Port-au-Prince for surgery. I agreed to wait for her at the plane. - Will White, MAF pilot

Great commission Kentucky (Baptist church), “People Here Are Scared”
Bookcase becomes a pharmacy, Team confronting difficult situationsNew life in the rubble

Israel21 interview/ with Dr. Ian Miskin, doctor with the Israeli delegation.
The mission worked in less-than-ideal conditions. "The scary part was the first days - we had almost nothing to eat, no shower, no way to sleep properly. We slept in pup tents, but it was so hot and humid, so damp. Everything you left outside was soaked... our electricians set up satellite telephone lines to Israel so that we could call home, but because of the work load, we often didn't have five free minutes to call home."
This comment was left by an American medic in Haiti, Kim Kwiatek, MD:
As a member of the Ohio-5 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) that moved in as you were leaving the soccer-plex on your way back home, I want to commend your team for their excellent work, their graciousness in sharing your food with us on our arrival (the chicken, salad, and Coke we were never able to replicate while we were there - strictly US military MREs thereafter), your drugs and medical gear with us that allowed us to get to work rapidly even while awaiting our full supply line to be established, and your stories and experiences that allowed us to be better prepared for what we were about to face. (Oh yes, and your shower system too!!!)....
Captain Dominic DeScisciolo, Fleet Forces Command Blog, "Operation Unified Resonse Update 1"   Captain Dominic DeScisciolo is CO of USS BUNKER HILL (CG-52). ADM J.C. Harvey, Jr. writes "Dom’s email is a great representation of “a day in the life” of our ships and what is being accomplished everyday by our Sailors."
We are on our fourth town since last week. As you know, we began on the southwest coast of La Gonave at Point-a-Raquettes. We have since distributed relief aid to Anse-a-Galets, La Source, and Gros Mangle on the northwest coast of La Gonave. All of the towns mentioned, if not affected directly by the earthquake, are feeling some sort of indirect need due to the internally displaced people (IDPs) and the disruption of normal supply lines from Port Au Prince. And we’ve been figuring it out and getting more effective and efficient at delivering relief as we go along. The system goes something like this:

My Ops Boss arranges for a helo flight and takes picture after picture of potential communities in need, ingress and egress points, distribution areas, landing zones, places to access via RHIB and where to moor on the shore. Myself, my XO, CMC, DH’s, Chaps, and HMC huddle up that evening and review the photos Ops took that day. We practice the art of the possible in determining where we will put folks ashore and what we could potentially accomplish based on the size of the town, location, natural features, whether there are NGO contacts (like our Fr. Roosevelt from the first town) we could exploit to our advantage, etc.

The next morning I position the ship as close to shore as possible. Due to the lack of sufficient charts in this area, we’re being forced to get close to the beach in support of RHIB ops by sight, feel, and fathometer – which can get pretty sporty. Cheng then leads my two RHIBs ashore for a detailed eyes-on survey of the town, scouts out the most suitable LZ, and establishes a security perimeter manned by my Weapons Officer and his team. We then work with the town ‘elders’ through a combination of translators and our Chaplain, to set up the food and water distribution points. My HMC and his assistants go right to work in the town “clinic” (usually a thatch-roofed affair under a palm tree). The worst medical cases we arrange for medevac. They usually include the IDP’s that have sought refuge here on La Gonave from Port-Au-Prince. By around noontime food, water and medicine start flowing in from the ship via RHIB and helo (if avail; we don’t have our own embarked helo det – we’ve been begging helos each day from air ops on the CSG staff) and gets handed out like an assembly line. We can usually get about 2,000 individual meals and about 1,000 gal of water in to the beach each day before we have to wrap up near sunset. We have been averaging 1-2 days per town to try to bring them up to a ‘pre-earthquake condition’ in terms of food, water, and medical care. We are beginning to see a decline in injuries directly attributed to the quake or its aftermath. We are now seeing more injuries and illnesses that are in keeping with the generally low standard of living, malnutrition, and poverty that prevails in this country.

Anyway – just wanted to give you a glimpse of our day-to-day existence since my last e-mail. No end in sight just yet. But morale is SKY-HIGH and we’re happy to keep perfecting our “system” for the time being.

ADM J.C. Harvey, Jr., Fleet Forces Command Blog:
The little town we provided relief for today (Picmi, on the southeast coast of La Gonave) had actually written “SOS” in the sand (picture attached).  Ops had flagged down a helo and gone up for her daily ‘aerial recon’ the other day and thought she saw the letters while she was taking pictures.  When she got back and we looked at the photos – sure enough, it was there!  We sent in our survey team this morning and found nearly 2,000 residents with no food or water.  Plus we were the FIRST assistance they’d seen since the earthquake 17 days ago.

We began our by now trademark water-and-food shuttle with the RHIBs, and we ended up providing nearly 2,000 meals (MREs) and 400 gal water before wrapping up at sunset.  No medevacs today, but HMC and his team still provided care for over 200 persons (mostly children).  All in all a good day.  And all from an “SOS” in the sand…

 Our 6th town in 8 days… V/R Dom

Upon arriving in Haiti, Fardales reports the following, “We arrived at a field hospital located in the central courtyard of a place Haitians call the El Anexo, a facility within the Military Hospital facilities.

Isidro Fardales, CubaDebate website, (via Juventud, h/t 10%).  Posted 1-15-2009.  Fardales, a Cuban radio correspondent,  writes "A 60-member relief team of Cuban healthcare professionals is already providing medical assistance in that country."  It is an operation of the Henry Reeve Cuban Medical Brigade (Henry Reeves International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disasters and Serious Epidemics) founded by Castro on September 19, 2005 after Cuber's large offer of medical assistance to the US in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was declined:
“There, under a big tent, Cuban surgeons tirelessly treat every patient that comes in, injured or mutilated; although the line of people waiting for assistance seems to stretch on forever.

“As I write this, our medical staff has already treated more than a thousand patients in little more than 24 hours, and dozens of them have undergone emergency life-saving surgery.

“Another field hospital has been set up in the Renacimiento Ophthalmology Center, the hospital that used to house the Milagros mission [Cuban-Venezuelan Free Eye-Surgery Program] in Haiti.”

Other resources:
Global Voices Haiti page

1 comment:

wyamarus said...

I find it telling that the military jargon of overwhelming use of acronyms exemplifies their dehumanizing treatment and implicit racism in this situation. They address a humanitarian need as an occupying army, with their first priority as 'security perimeters'. If all the 'aid' was as efficacious as the Cuban medical mission, and less concerned with propping up a corrupt puppet regime, there would not have been the number of fatalities due to the US obstruction of relief efforts on the ground in Haiti. The real reason that the US has sent 20,000 troops to Haiti is not humanitarian, but purely to reinforce a US beachhead to claim the vast wealth of Haitian (and Santa Dominican) oil and mineral deposits. This was also the real reason behind the US coup d'etat of the Aristide government and Fanmi Lavalas party,who was planning to use the profits of resource development to leverage Haiti out of it's (externally contrived) economic ghettoization, and provide general economic relief to the Haitian population at large. This is also in large part, the reason the US military is establishing a presence in Haiti; to prevent the popular reinstatement of Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas to power.