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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti

My friends requested an update from me regarding Haiti. I lived in Carrefour in the area known as Mariani for two years. I worked all over the island but mostly in the Port au Prince area. I helped establish a medical clinic, schools, an orphanage, and, most of all, introduced soybean cultivation in villages all over the island nation.

The clinic was flattened in the recent earthquake, many died inside the structure. Many of my friends and associates are now missing and presumed dead, about 50 people that I can clearly remember. The village schools still exist and the soybeans will continue to be planted and harvested but all the rest is gone. The earthquake epicenter was approximately right where I lived and worked

Community Well, Mariani, Haiti 00002

With all the disaster management training I received I am considering a return to Haiti, once the island is capable of supporting any additional people.

Mariani, Haiti 00007

While the medical and mortuary tasks are going on now there is little scope for the tasks of rebuilding and creating a new society. Those major efforts must wait a few weeks, months or perhaps even years. I know I am not the only one who can help but I know the ropes and can hit the ground running in a place with little scope for neophyte aid workers. For now I will prepare my personal life for a stint overseas and do what I have always done. Build awareness of the need for positive change in Haiti.

Au revoir mes amis.

Thomas

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. You must have great sources! Even CNN didn't have the detail you did within 48 hours of the earthquake! And they had people on the ground and reporting within 24 hours. How did you manage to find out that so much destruction had occurred near your former base when there was no electricity, cell phone or internet available near the epicenter? Or anywhere else for that matter?

Anonymous said...

You said the clinic was flattened but the schools still exist. What happened to the orphanage you helped establish?

TH Williams said...

Despite all the news reports, the earthquake destruction was relatively isolated to areas of central Port au Prince and the region 12 km southwest. My friend's cell phone still worked fairly regularly in areas outside the capital, even right after the disaster.

I also have access to highly detailed satellite imagery of areas that I know quite well.

Major U.S. and foreign news organizations rarely ever had very accurate reporting from Haiti even prior to the earthquake. Reporters were too concerned about the health risks involved.

The impact of millions of refugees evacuating to the surrounding rural communities and smaller towns may yet cause more issues. From a sanitation point of view alone this exodus will be tough on the countryside.

The schools in the countryside are fine. The school in Mariani is destroyed. The orphanage in Delmas was severely damaged