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Blog Posted in avatar   Chris Dade's Blog

Haiti Update

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By Chris Dade
Posted Jan 19, 2010 in World
Just thought people might be interested in an update from the President of the American Refugee Committee regarding Haiti.
Haiti Update: Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Dear American Refugee Committee Community:
We will make every effort to send you timely updates on our response to the devastating crisis in Haiti. Please email or call us if you have any questions.
Our team in Port-au-Prince reports that every open space is crammed with camps of homeless people. The scale of displacement is truly massive. The park near the former President’s palace has at least 10,000 people and probably more than twice that many people at night.
The American Refugee Committee’s response is focused on helping the displaced – shelter, water, and sanitation are all critical priorities. Our operations are currently focused in both Port-au-Prince and on the Haiti/Dominican Republic border area.
On the border we are working with a clinic that has been flooded by between 300 and 500 wounded and their families. There are estimated to be 2,000 people in total. To give you an idea of the scale of need, this small clinic has conducted more than 60 amputations in just the last two days. Today, we are working to support the clinic by delivering very basic supplies that they need such as sheets, chlorine, and other cleaning supplies. At the same time, we are working to provide the 2,000 displaced with a safe, temporary place to sleep and recover.
In Port-au-Prince, most of the main roads have now been cleared and cell networks and internet are beginning to return. But there is still very little electricity in the city. Despite the incredibly challenging conditions, the relief effort is vigorous.
In Port-au-Prince our response is:
Immediate Distribution of Relief Supplies: We will support the work of local NGOs to distribute relief items immediately. Local Haitian NGOs have been developing a system to access people in an orderly and equitable way. We are partnering with them to identify community leaders; produce informational materials in Creole; train community leaders on registration and reception of aid; and link the UN, US government and other actors with these communities.
Working with Local NGOs: We will work with local NGOs to import (1) medical supplies to distribute to community clinics and (2) plastic sheeting to distribute to displaced communities in several locations throughout the city. This will also provide some employment to Haitians.
Reconstruction: We also plan to work with local Haitians to rebuild structures destroyed in the quake. During our efforts in the wake of the Pakistan earthquake, we were able to develop pioneering technology in building reconstruction, which entailed building seismic-resistant 3-story structures. This building technology could be taught to local people.
Thank you and let me know if you have any questions about our efforts in Haiti. Additional updates will be sent as more information becomes available.
Daniel Wordsworth
President

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