This is an update on District 7020's response to the sad events in Haiti, from District 7020's Haiti Liaison Chair PDG Richard 'Dick' McCombe (last updated Jan. 22nd, 2010 PM).....(You may subscribe to the bolg to automatically recieve updates)

Dear Fellow Rotarians

Rotary District 7020 Haiti Earthquake Relief Overview

I wanted to share a synopsis of the District 7020 relief efforts as I see it right now. As we move forward we will be redirecting our efforts as the needs dictate, and everyone's input is important and appreciated. Michael Terrelong can post this on the Blog and we welcome your comments and recommendations as we consider and develop our next steps


When the earthquake struck the International Community undertook to provide relief for the victims through the normal response organizations such as, United Nations, USAID, US and other countries military response teams, International Red Cross etc. I will call that group, â?oThe Machine" for the purpose of this synopsis. Within days â?othe machine" was arriving in Port au Prince (the front door) and beginning the painful task of recue and relief coordination. The magnitude of the destruction and the number of injured, buried and dead was enormous and dealing with that was the primary focus. They undertook to: Provide medical aid to the injured, dig from the rubble and save the ones that could be saved while there was time and opportunity. Remove and bury those that were not fortunate enough to survive to prevent disease. While that immediate need was addresses, â?othe machine" also

began to put in place a temporary infrastructure to provide basic life necessities such as food, shelter, water and medical care.
While that was happening the Haitien People were doing the same, They were trying to provide medical aid to the injured family members and friends. They were trying where possible to dig from the rubble and save those that could be saved while there was time and opportunity. They were removing from the rubble their families and friends, and many of them were evacuating Port au Prince to distant communities in the country where they may have family or friends or was just safe, and that may not have been as badly damaged from the earthquake. Many of them took the sick and wounded to these communities for care as the immediate medical response in the Port au Prince area was nowhere near up to the challenge of the required capacity. The sick wounded and scared began to move back to the country!

That's where District 7020's Rotary Relief initiative comes in. We had 17 Rotary Clubs in Haiti and in excess of approximately 350 Rotarians. (last calculation, but its close). These Rotary clubs are spread throughout the country of Haiti with 5 of them being located where catastrophic destruction had taken place. Port au Prince, Delmas Airport, Petion-Ville, Carrefour, Jacmel were most seriously affected. There was damage in the other communities but not as catastrophic. The daily reports I have submitted describes our Disaster Relief response to Haiti. Our relief effort began with our first flight of medical Supplies and support going in on Friday. We went in â?othe back door" into the communities where we have Rotary Clubs and those that were not on the radar yet of â?othe machine" but to where Haitians were evacuating to. This has continued as you know every day since we started. 57 flights as of yesterday and approximately 55,000 lbs of medical supplies. The numbers of the sick and wounded numbers arriving in these communities has been going up every day, and the challenges they face has begun to change from immediate medical aid to shelter and life sustenance needs.

The machine has now dealt with its initial priorities in Port au Prince and the surrounding most affected areas and is now building the infrastructure for a comprehensive relief and recovery effort and is now and moving deeper into the country with its relief efforts.

Rotary must now re-evaluate what we should be doing next as far as our relief effort is concerned. Some of the issues we must consider are:
The ballooning population growth in these small communities is beginning to tax the basics of life, such as shelter, food, water, education, not to mention the medical aid. What should Rotary be doing about this? In the past this has been our community focus?

The health and strength of our Rotary Clubs is at risk. If we are sick, wounded and tired it makes it very difficult for us to care for others. How do we help sustain and support our Haitien Rotary Clubs and Rotarians?
What role should we play as international aid begins to come into our communities? Should we do as we have done in the past and find a community need or should we specialize and pick one or two main focus area that we should concentrate on?

How do we partner with other international organization, many of whom are specialists in one area. Do we help coordinate that with them or do we let them do that and find our own focus area?

How do we continue our fund raising and what do we do with the funds we receive? How long should we plan the cycle of fund raising and spending on this initiative? How much do we want to raise and spend and on what?
Orphaned Children and misplaced families need to be supported by some sort of infrastructure. Is that something we should be thinking about.

The mental health of the suffering in this nation is being challenged, What role do we have in that?

Construction quality and the need to rebuild. Should we be educating people on proper construction practices and should we reconsider our bricks and mortar rule in this instance?

These are just thoughts, and I welcome your comments and ideas. Many of you have experiences that will help us make sound decisions. Please share them.

Rotary Shares" Yes ! Yes ! Yes !,

I thought I would get that in! I am meeting with some of the Task Force team on Sunday in Pignon to discuss the current status and our efforts in the Northern Region, and we will be meeting with Claude Surena and the Haiti Rotary Leadership on Wednesday next week in Port au Prince. PRID Barry, DGE Diana White, and RIDE John Smarge will be at the Wednesday meeting.It is most important that we listen to our fellow Rotarians on the ground in Haiti and follow their advice

PDG Dick

Haiti Update for Jan. 22, 2010 I am late and not sure where to start today. Yesterday was enormously successful just like the last ones. Its just getting more difficult to remember and report on what all has happened because so much has.

Let me begin by again thanking Rotarians around the world for the incredible support and the trust they have imparted in the rest of the people that have supported us. A special thanks to our District and Zones 33 and 34. They are doing so much and in most instances it goes un reported because it jest gets done.

I met with the Red Cross in the Bahamas yesterday and we are trying to coordinate the shipping of their donated stuff with ours. Our warehouse is now full of folding beds, mattresses, blankets, cushions, food, clothing and the like. If we do not source a local vessel in the next day or so we will trans ship through the US. We have a Haitien Rotarian that can handle the clearing and receiving of the goods and will distribute to where we want.

My classmate Phil Lustig and Larry Labadie have shipped great quantities os supplies to us through Missionary Flights International and hare working with us to coordinate the filling of volunteer flights that are coming down. Yesterday a friend of ours (Corky) from Normans Cay Exumas flew from his home in Kentucky with a friend in another plane to spend a week airlifting for us. They were filled with medical supplies in Vero Beach and will offload in Pignon tomorrow

There are 35 Orthopedic surgeons on standby to come from Kansas. We are trying to coordinate that around, the need, the supplies and the transportation. At this point the pressure on the surgical team has stopped growing, but still is beyond the capacity we have down there.

I was very excited to here from my good friend Nessim yesterday. There is limited fuel now and he can get around and run his generator to send emails etc sparingly. He is still sleeping in his car so my compassion goes out to Nessim, Marine, and his son. The Shelter Boxes got delivered to Carrefour and Leogane yesterday. Things are starting to move with our on the ground Rotarians as they get settled into the situation. God Bless them.

We delivered an X-Ray machine in Port de Paix yesterday and 2 doctors to Pignon. They are being transported into PaP to Claude's house today by Caleb.

We have a big shipment donated to the Albert Switzer Hospital which we are coordinating the delivery off into Nassau and then by ground to HAS. Not sure of the exact arrival time but keep you all posted.

We have a couple of Dialysis machine offers that we are coordinating. I am waiting on Dr. Claude Surena's advice as to where it needs to go.

We have a doctor inbound fro caiman on Sunday to help. He will come through Nassau late Sunday night

I urgently need an Autoclave and a Dermatome. The Autoclave is the tool sterilization piece of equipment, and the Dermatome is used to lift the skin for the skin grafting. Can anyone help with this?

As the relief machine continues to move in country we are beginning to be more focused on our Rotary Communities as we develop a longer term strategy. I posted some thoughts for you which Michael Terrelonge will post to the blog. I look forward to your comments on the blog.

Going forward I will begin to report every couple of days or as developments require.

PDG Dick

The full blog of updates on the Haiti earthquake response activities is available at the following link
Click here to go to D7020 Haiti earthquake updates Blog
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