Major earthquake 7.0 with several after shocks has devastated the capital of Haiti on 1/12/10, Port-au-Prince and surrounding area of 3 million people. Catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. World mobilizing relief efforts. Preliminary reports suggest as many as 100,000 dead or buried under rubble with estimates as high as several hundred thousand. My prayers go to the citizens and government of Haiti. Many people in Cook County are Haitian and have relatives in Haiti. Chicago was founded by a Haitan – Du Sable. Requests are urgent and desperate for assistance. Please donate as much as possible.
If you are medical or rescue personnel who wish to volunteer see the following contact list. Early reports are horrific. The tragedy is unimaginable. Hundreds of thousands may be dead and missing, buried in rubble. A million may be homeless. Supplies including food, water, medicine are inadequate. Survivers may die of thirst and lack of medical care.
The capital city, Port-Au-Prince is in ruins, with reports of every other building destroyed and is home to 2 million in the worse affected area. Medical teams are overwhelmed and have suffered heavy casualties. All hospitals and medical facilities, schools, the Presidential Palace, government building are in ruins. Hundreds of thousands are dazed and hopeless.
The President and his wife reportedly survived and climbed out of the ruins of Parliament. Many are reported dead in Parliament and in the Presidential Palace. The U.N. peacekeeping force in Haiti and many relief organizations have also suffered heavy casualties. The U.N. five story headquarters has fallen. The head of the U.N. mission is reported dead as are many peacekeepers from China, Brazil, and elsewhere. Most medical facilities are unusable and open-air medical facilities are being set up and are pleading for supplies. Many doctors and nurses are missing or dead.
The archbishop of Port-Au-Prince is reported dead as is the Chief envoy from France. Italy, Canada, Mexico, China, the U.S. and many countries have launched search and rescue teams, mobile medical units, and massive aide efforts. Russia is sending heavy lift helicopters to distribute supplies past blocked roadways. Fortunately the airport near Port-au-Prince still has one usable runway. Planes are starting to land in Haiti, and hospital ships are sailing as rapidly as possible to arrive off the coast of Haiti ASAP. A U.S. aircraft carrier and three amphibious ships were ordered by Pentagon to Haiti.
Time is of the essence. The U.N. has mobilized groups around the world to set up communication, medical facilities, tent cities, food and water distribution, etc. Heavy water purification systems are on the way. It is most important right now to keep communications open to authorities. Don’t try to contact relatives immediately. Life-saving efforts right now are MORE IMPORTANT. Don’t clog the limited communication lines.
President Bill Clinton, special UN Envoy to Haiti, said that immediate need in the next 10 days is for food, water, medical supplies and shelter. He urges donations of cash so that UN aid agencies can quickly move these supplies to Haiti.
My strong suggestion is to plan on how many relatives from Haiti you can temporarily house. I believe it will be necessary to remove as many survivors who need care such as elderly, injured, pregnant women or children for a few months until the situation is stabilized. Many may need to be transferred to hospitals in other countries like the U.S.
If you work at a hospital ask the administration how many casualties they are willing to accommodate. Give it a day or two and then try to contact relatives through the Red Cross, U.S. Embassy or other means as suggested in following links.
Massive assistance will be needed to handle the huge numbers of crush injuries, amputations and head injuries. Surgeons, nephrologists (for results of crush injuries), nurses, paramedics, ER docs are urgently needed. Blood donations are needed to build stocks to handle all the medical care resulting from trauma.
Instead of sitting and worrying which won’t help your relatives and friends, do something and take action to raise funds and prepare to accept casualties and orphans. Donate blood and organize your churches to raise funds and collect non-perishable food goods and hygiene supplies, a need that will be ongoing for months. The following link will bring you to a list of relief organizations and contact information about how to find relatives or volunteer.
WARNING! Pictures on slide show on above web site are horrific and graphic. Don’t let children see them. Many dead and dying on the streets. Utter devastation in Port-au-Prince and surrounding area.
Here is the link to the Clinton Foundation Haiti relief fund.
The following is a link to Tweets from Haiti describing specific neighborhoods and buildings and the situation in general.
100 seminarians and priests on retreat, Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince, Dr. Zilda Arns Neumann, a pediatrician who founded the Brazilian bishops’ children’s commission and sister of Brazilian Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns, retired archbishop of Sao Pauloe, among the dead.
United Nations Responding swiftly and Chinese search and rescue team has arrived in Haiti Doctors without Borders treating hundreds in open air clinics as medical facilities destroyed – bringing in mobile medical units and scores of medical personnel – urgent request for donations – casualties include their medical personnel ___________________________________________________________________________ PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE: For Immediate Release January 13, 2010 REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON RESCUE EFFORTS IN HAITI Diplomatic Reception Room 10:20 A.M. EST THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. This morning I want to extend to the people of Haiti the deep condolences and unwavering support of the American people following yesterday’s terrible earthquake. We are just now beginning to learn the extent of the devastation, but the reports and images that we’ve seen of collapsed hospitals, crumbled homes, and men and women carrying their injured neighbors through the streets are truly heart-wrenching. Indeed, for a country and a people who are no strangers to hardship and suffering, this tragedy seems especially cruel and incomprehensible. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the many Haitian Americans around our country who do not yet know the fate of their families and loved ones back home. I have directed my administration to respond with a swift, coordinated, and aggressive effort to save lives. The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble, and to deliver the humanitarian relief — the food, water and medicine — that Haitians will need in the coming days. In that effort, our government, especially USAID and the Departments of State and Defense are working closely together and with our partners in Haiti, the region, and around the world. Right now our efforts are focused on several urgent priorities. First, we’re working quickly to account for U.S. embassy personnel and their families in Port-au-Prince, as well as the many American citizens who live and work in Haiti. Americans trying to locate family members in Haiti are encouraged to contact the State Department at 888/407-4747. I’m going to repeat that – 888/407-4747. Second, we’ve mobilized resources to help rescue efforts. Military overflights have assessed the damage, and by early afternoon our civilian disaster assistance team are beginning to arrive. Search and rescue teams from Florida, Virginia and California will arrive throughout today and tomorrow, and more rescue and medical equipment and emergency personnel are being prepared. Because in disasters such as this the first hours and days are absolutely critical to saving lives and avoiding even greater tragedy, I have directed my teams to be as forward-leaning as possible in getting the help on the ground and coordinating with our international partners as well. Third, given the many different resources that are needed, we are taking steps to ensure that our government acts in a unified way. My national security team has led an interagency effort overnight. And to ensure that we coordinate our effort, going forward, I’ve designated the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Dr. Rajiv Shah, to be our government’s unified disaster coordinator. Now, this rescue and recovery effort will be complex and challenging. As we move resources into Haiti, we will be working closely with partners on the ground, including the many NGOs from Haiti and across Haiti, the United Nations Stabilization Mission, which appears to have suffered its own losses, and our partners in the region and around the world. This must truly be an international effort. Finally, let me just say that this is a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share. With just a few hundred miles of ocean between us and a long history that binds us together, Haitians are neighbors of the Americas and here at home. So we have to be there for them in their hour of need. Despite the fact that we are experiencing tough times here at home, I would encourage those Americans who want to support the urgent humanitarian efforts to go to whitehouse.gov where you can learn how to contribute. We must be prepared for difficult hours and days ahead as we learn about the scope of the tragedy. We will keep the victims and their families in our prayers. We will be resolute in our response, and I pledge to the people of Haiti that you will have a friend and partner in the United States of America today and going forward. May God bless the people of Haiti and those working on their behalf. Thank you very much. END 10:24 A.M. EST