Thursday, January 14, 2010

Disaster Response

I am currently experiencing my first disaster response with Medical Teams International. A 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday devestating the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The epicenter was only 10 miles from Port au Prince, Haiti's capital city. About 3 million people - one third of Haiti's population - were affected by the quake. The disaster cut electricity and power which could leave people without clean drinking water and at risk for disease, infection and malnutrition. The new mass of displaced persons could create crowded, unsanitary conditions.

Our first medical team, which includes two doctors, three nurses and our vice president of international programs, left for Haiti this morning. An orthopedic team will travel to Haiti this weekend. The teams will be carrying medicines and orthopedic supplies - enough to help 12,000 people for a week. They are going into a very chaotic situation with reports of no fuel and possibly a lack of clean water and food. I am amazed at how organized, well-planned and quick the disaster response has been. The Haitian people need help now and everyone at the office has responded quickly to send immediate assistance.

The office has been as busy as ever during the past two days. I've had a hard time finding parking each morning due to the large volume of volunteers coming to the warehouse to help package medicine and supplies. The phones have been ringing off the hook with people who want to volunteer and donate money. Our website numbers have increased from 400 visits per day to 400 visits per hour! News and radio stations want to conduct interviews and host telethons. The response is overwhelming! Please continue to pray for safety and healing for the Haitian people and the medical teams who are travling into the country.

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