Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti Quake Response, 1-18-10, 1152am - from Joe Arbaugh - VMM

From: Joe Arbaugh, Virginia Mennonite Missions, President Haiti PMG (Program Management Group) in Port-au-Prince

Dear Friends,
    We had the mtg with our mennonite central comittee (MCC) partner hospital at Bon Repot yesterday, then went and got pator jacques, then went to see pastor enoc and pastor dieu maitre.  enocs house fell on them, pictures to follow, they survived with only minor abrasions. living in a feild with their neighbors.  30+ people with a ratio, 1 bench from the back of a tap tap, several chairs, and some sheets, (only) under a mango tree. The vast majority of hatians in port are sleeping in "tent villages".  praying for no rain. incredible stories of escape.  90% of Gressier and Flon buildings saverely damaged or destroyed, I saw with my own eyes.  Dieu Maitre's haouse damaged, scared to go in.  Their church building is still standing but one side fell down. mike and linwood- the house you built for the widow is still standing but she is afraid to go in.

Jacques, after helping dig out dozens, started hauling bodies for the mayor, who loaned him a gov. truck. piles of 40 to the landfill. he estimated 2,000.  he ran clinic at his house with the supplies we had left from our last team.  he is traumatized. now has a dozen or more refugees living in his lakou.  he's trying to get my trooper running right so we have more transportation. we went looking for alberoi (remember him, the main character in the movie James and partners made last year with the help of EMU people and equipment, TRUE SECURITY) he was in a bible school class with 300 other students. we dug and called and listened. we found more bodies but none were him.  a foreign rescue team came and found 20 more alive, but not Albroi. assume dead we went and told his wife and children and mourned with them for the night.

We need team now, aid agencies overwhelmed, there will be no comprehensive centralized aid.  I was at the UN central command (logistics base -called "log base") for the NGO cluster mtg.  the relief effort goes like this: the UN devided up the affected area into sectors and assigned the agencies to "go do your thing".  In MCC's "sector" there is an MCC partner hospital in bon repot who needs staff to support the haitian doctor and nurses.  they are overwhelmed. They want us to take care of changing bandages and smelling for gangerine and other simple stuff, so they can consentrate on the high priorities.  The people who were injured and treated and sent home are now coming back by the thousands. their bandages put on the first day are soaked with blood sweat and dirt, and some with maggots already. they dont know what to do. Also they do not have surgery capability so the secondary assignment for our first team will be to transport the ones the doctor wants to send to HAS (hospital albert schweitzer) for amputations.  Within a few days it will get easier because we will only have to transport across town to the warf where a hospital ship is coming, for the extreme cases.

   We (Virginia Mennonite Missions, Haiti program management group) as a long term partner of MCC have been asked to provide this service.  I (Joe Arbaugh II) have agreed.  We need help now.  We need 4 to 10 people ASAP (one non medical person for each medical)  dr., nurse, lab tech, emt, nursing student, pharma tech, etc. all count as medical person. As we assess the changing situation we will be needing other help, I expect to need teams of 8 weekly for the next 2 months.  Please send this email to everyone who you think might be interested.  Get me help now. 
Run all decisions through the VMM haiti PMG. 

I am working on a detailed list of who and what we need and logistics of how we will do it but here are some basics: teams need to go to Santo Domingo (untill the airport gets open or untill we can get on MFI). The Church of the Bretheren picks you up at the airport, puts you up for the night, and puts you on Caribe Tours bus the next day (like Trailways comfortable airconditioned) they take you to the bus station near us in port. (they handle your immigration at the border- althought they didn't even check me because they saw i was with the relief effort)  We take you to a large house near the new US embassy where we have been staying. Peacefull suburb with only 10% of the houses damaged. (clean, comfortable, no clusters of bystanders,  has indoor flushy with plenty buckets of water.  Then James or I take you to the clinic each day and bring you back at evening.  The community we are in is controlled by vigilanties (thats a good thing here-the residents take turns watching for trouble makers and would drive them out if nessisary (we have to open "roadblocks" of debris we placed to stop people from bringing bodies to dump in the field behind us). We feel very safe.  MCC has given us the green light for now with the warning that if conditions change they may pull you out.  We have access to soldiers if we want but I prefer none.

Team members should bring as much first aid medical supplies as possible, antibiotics if possible (even in small amounts is better than what we've got- i m giving the last i have to Ian at HAS),  basic toiletries, a small towel, a sheet, granola bars and stuff for lunches if you want (dont waste space), flashlight, $100 for bus in DR, $50 a day for food, lodging, transport, etc. Adults may choose to bring a tent and stay with the Haitians in the hospital yard if you want, some days rather than going back to the house. Water filter if you can find one to take out geardia. Enough water only for your trip to pap (don't waste space). 

What you can expect here:  transportation from and to the bus station (or airport) in Port-au-Prince, breakfast and supper at the house, one way ham radio messages out (and in) daily (personal, no business) we can take a few people occasionally to UN COMMAND (log base) to do email if it's an emergency, pure water, plenty bathing water, a cook, a clothes washing lady, we have squirled away enough deisel and gas to do all needed activities for the first team including 2 hours of electricity at the house each night. We have beds and sleeping mats.

Please send help!

I just had a meeting with Ian Rawson, Director of HAS (Hospital Albert Schweitzer) he has a desperate need for large quantities of antibiotics and pain meds.  The hospital is full of victims from PAP. They've started filling the old guest houses.  Also he needs 2 surgeons immediately.  

look for a needs list i will try to get out today, can someone donate money (or radios), to get several VHF/UHF handhelds (with frequencies opened if possible), and even an hf with a 20 meter whip if possible, and a homemade dipole 14.265 MHz. PS HAMS we are checking in to the Salvation Army Net almost daily.