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Assessment: My Last Blog Post in Haiti…until February 17th

February 2, 2010

I didn’t sleep well last night.  That was my first time not sleeping well since I have arrived.  I had wild dreams, the sound of the dogs barking disrupted every moment of rest and my body just didn’t feel right.  I stayed up late last night trying to prolong my last night in Haiti until I come back in a couple of weeks.  Its difficult leaving today while Haiti is still in a state of emergency.  It is difficult leaving knowing how dire coordination and efficiency is right now, and I was providing that service effectively.

I wanted to leave something for people coming to service communities directly.  I wanted to be able to share a platform of information so that no one has to start from scratch.  There is no ego here, I am not with any organization, and right now I choose to be with all, in solidarity, because Haitian lives depend on it.  A lack of coordination equates to a loss of lives, a lack of efficiency equates to a loss of lives, and a lack of information translates to more casualties.  We are still experiencing a chaotic disaster zone and so below I offer an asessment and update of what I have seen and what has worked.

I also have a list of contact information for those who are working with communities directly.  I will only offer it to those working with the people directly because it is the only way that the contacts I have will work.  If you’re not willing to get your hands and heart and soul into it and trust Haitian people to become a part of the process than this information may not be for you.  However, if you plan on coming to Haiti and don’t know where to start and would like to work in areas that have not seen much aid than I would be grateful to share this information with you.

In Solidarity,

Haiti Earthquake Relief: Status Update and Contact Information

Summary of Work Thus Far:  Since I arrived in Haiti a few days after the earthquake I have surveyed the areas: Bel Air, Carrefour Feuilles, Nazzo, Kenscoff, Delmas and the major downtown area of the city.  Being here the first week and now in the third week of the event has allowed me identify needs and also offer effective measures for disaster relief.

Medical Clinics:  I have been working with a team of doctors that I initially volunteered with in Cite Soleil.  They agreed to come with me as I coordinated relief efforts for 7 days worth of service to marginalized areas in the Carrefour Feuilles area, also known as the “red zone”.  With a team of nurses, translators, and helping hands from the people in each “tent-community” we were able to service several hundred people a day, the most being 928 people.  The higher into the hills we went to do clinics, the more severe the injuries were.

Food Distribution:  Through the resources of Masani Accime, a Haitian veterinarian who resides in Anse-a-Pitres and NY, I was able to work with her to form a team and deliver food and medical supplies and help to an orphanage and a “tent-community” in Carrefour Feuilles where 1000 people now reside.  The orphanage had 55 children; all boys and they lacked food.  With the research and information that I compiled we were able to identify needs and from there I began to pair those who had the aid and those who needed that specific type of aid (food, water, medical attention).  The only thing I was not able to provide on this trip is emotional and mental counseling, which many communities asked me for.  Many children have not eaten and are fearful after the earthquake and many adults are experiencing panic attacks, depression, and shock/trauma.

Assessment of Necessities: Tents, stipends for families and individuals, food, hygiene items, water purification systems, and sanitary living quarters.

Recommendations: Haitian people are still sleeping on the bare floor, on soiled rugs, and cardboards, have tents made of sheets, and are living in unhygienic and deplorable conditions.  Preferably, a temporary housing situation would be the first suggestion for the mass amount of people living in these areas that need to be evacuated, and until then simple tents would allow people to live without running the risk of infection and disease due to unsanitary living conditions.  Aside from tents, follow up medical care, traveling medical clinics in each neighborhood, and medical supplies or resident medical attention would serve the people of Haiti best.  Purified water filtration systems are needed so that Haitians are not relying on food and water distribution in order to drink clean water.  This would lessen the risk of water borne diseases, which are currently common among the children.  In addition to providing food rations for those in need, allowing families to purchase what they need when they need it by distributing gourdes to individuals and families would allow the Haitian people to assess their needs and purchase necessary goods at their discretion.  Giving families and individuals a stipend would also allow families to pay for a taxi home from the hospital, instead of prolonging a trip to the hospital because there is not enough money to come back to their sleeping areas.

**It is helpful to go to the UN tents and get information.  If you do receive this information spread it to the communities.  They are not receiving communication, little if any.

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