“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.”
Hi! Jim and the team made it to Haiti on Tuesday afternoon! Max Van Til, a missionary who lives in the Dominican Republic drove them across the border to Fond Parisien and then they hitched a ride into Port-au-Prince and to Coram Deo with a couple of haitian drivers. Everything worked out well. It is good to have company to help out with the work! The visitors met someone from the Voila cell phone company in Miami and Voila is providing free cell phones to missions involved in the relief effort. We need to make contact with this individual.
We had a busy day yesterday. Rudy Clauderre is a 15-year-old boy with a swollen abdomen and swollen lymph nodes. We think he has lymphoma. We have been focusing the last week on trying to find some help for him. Last week we had brought him out to the Love a Child field hospital and he was brought to Jimani, which is a border town in the Dominican Republic. Dominican doctors evaluated him there but said that they couldn’t help him. He was then sent Saturday to see some doctors over at Hopital La Paix on Delmas 33. They referred him to the doctors at Hopital Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs on Tabarre and they weren’t able to help him either. We were hoping that one of the foreign medical teams operating out of these hospitals would be able to send him to the United States for treatment. One of the team members staying here is a paramedic. Chris examined him and offered to help out and talk with the doctors over at the University of Miami/Project Medishare field hospital on the airport grounds. The doctors there looked at him and admitted him to the pediatrics tent. They also requested the family to return with his birth certificate. They were planning on trying to send him out to the United States with another boy who had leukemia for cancer treatment. They did some blood tests yesterday too. The United States and Haitian governments are co-operating in cutting some red tape for patients to get medical care. The most important red tape that has been cut is traveling without a passport! Because of the earthquake it is not possible for Haitian people to have a passport made because of damage to government offices. Pray for Rudy and those who are trying to send him to the United States. Without treatment he will die.
Tuesday afternoon we had received a phone call from WFP saying that they would have some food available for us yesterday. We decided to go over to their tent set up on the airport grounds. We have never been in that area before and someone told us to look for the UN cluster. We went to the gates and the guards let us in and pointed us in the direction we should go. We were allowed into the UN section and walked around for awhile. This wasn’t where we were supposed to be but we learned a lot about the UN setup. We tried to get some tools to do some work but weren’t able to find any. We did see the cafeteria and enjoyed a nice meal. Karen Bosma lived in Haiti for 15 years before her family moved to Canada in 2003. At the cafeteria she met a friend from FAO. We eventually found where all the ONG’s were based and headed over to their tents. UNICEF may be able to help us with medical supplies and recreational kits for the children. We met a person from Handicap International and got a contact person for them. This NGO is one of the organizations leading the effort to helping the amputees and other handicapped persons. We need these contacts to advocate for the handicapped people we encounter in the community. At the WFP tent we were issued with the papers and received a requisition for a couple of tonnes of food! We drove over to the WFP depot in Shodecosa, which is a large industrial complex on Rte. National #1, near Cite Soleil. There are several buildings that have been damaged and destroyed inside this industrial complex. After some asking around we finally found the building and loaded up the food. We now have a lot of food that we can share with people in the community. Today we are picking up the 2nd half of the WFP donation from their other depot in the Delmas 2 area.
We also received some more Feed My Starving Children rice meals from Love a Child yesterday. It is amazing how things are working out now in finding assistance for the people affected by the earthquake.
In our neighborhood there are still unrecovered bodies. We are trying to find someone to remove them. At one location there were 5 deaths. 2 males and a baby were removed from the collapsed home but 2 females were on the bottom collapsed floor and caught under the concrete. Originally the neighbor thought that one of the women was a Canadian citizen and we were prepared to go to the Canadian Embassy to ask for assistance but after the neighbor did some asking around he found out that her name is “Manouchka” and that she was an American resident from New York. After the earthquake her body had been pinned at the pelvis area and the top half exposed. The neighbor had placed a standing sheet of plywood next to her so he wouldn’t have to look at her body. We looked yesterday and all that is left is bones. Animals fed on her body. The other location is a 3 story apartment complex. In one section is the body of Linda, a servant who was on the lower level. She survived for a few days after the earthquake but people couldn’t get to her and she then died. The other section has 3 bodies. Because of the rubble these bodies can’t be extracted without some assistance from heavy equipment.
While shopping at the Star 2000 food market there was a terrible smell coming from the dumpster in front of the collapsed One Stop market. The people had found a body in the rubble nearby and were in the process of burning it with a burning tire. This was right on main Delmas. The government and international community don’t know how many people died here in Port-au-Prince. The Haitian government now estimates the death toll at somewhere around 230,000 but a lot of bodies have been disposed of by Haitian citizens living in the community. The death toll is most likely in the 300,000 area. One international rescue worker had told us that based on the scope and density of the destruction 400,000 could have been killed. No one will ever know how many people died in the earthquake. President Preval announced Friday as a day of mourning and all businesses will be closed. Churches are organizing 3 days of prayer services over the weekend too. Keep Port-au-Prince in prayer.
EDH, the state electrical company is providing electricity to areas of Petionville and the Laboule area. They are working on other grids. Hopefully one day our area will be getting electricity again. We are rationing our invertor power and the solar panels are charging the batteries and so far we are keeping up with our electricity demands.
The Varreux fuel terminal has been repaired and the fuel supply to Haiti has now been fully restored. This terminal had suffered damage to its piers and facilities. It is located 5 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake. The majority of the fuel storage tanks are undamaged and they have a capacity of 45 million gallons. It is good to hear of improvements to the infrastructure. The earthquake recovery will be a slow process.
WHO (World Health Organization) has halted its free medicine delivery to all private clinics, NGO’s and Hospitals here due to reports of patients being charged by some individuals for treatment. Only public hospitals are going to continue to receive free medications. Karen Bosma, and Angela is a nurse and along with Chris the paramedic we hope to visit the refuge camps to monitor the health especially of the younger children.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo