Thursday, January 21, 2010

Update from Peter Haas in Cap-Haitien

Personal Analysis:
Cut off from supply chain from PAP with no currency supply the rest of the country is in a rapidly deteriorating state in terms of access to food, fuel money and costs of remaining items rising faster than at the height of the food RIOTS, a few more days and hunger will spark massive unrest country wide. People are subdued due to grief over PAP that will not last long. US Southcom has logistic capability to repair/improve capacity and open all ports (not just Cap, St Mark Jacmel etc) and begin moving goods, people, services and currency throughout the country to the greatest relief to the Haitien people but needs some diplomacy and invitation at highest levels of Haitian government to act.

Notes from UN meetings and parenthetical comments
Supply Chain:
In NORTH URGENT NEED FOR FUEL AND LOGISTIC SUPPORT IN MOVING IT IN (I know this may seem a shock but maybe more so than PAP where fuel is starting to arrive and gas stations opening somewhat)
CAP TEXACO station has opened occasionally offering limited fill ups of a few gallons
UN cannot manage logistics or convoys, no capacity for interdepartmental massive collaboration due to current reduced operations (see earthquake building in pap update). Scarce resources for problems being faced
Port of Cap STILL closed since quake and clogged with empty containers: only 1 forklift and flat bed to move empty containers a few miles away before it can accept aid.
Port of Labadee backed up with unmoving aid, no supply chain for moving goods, reliant on small NGO
Groups sending aid with no structure for movement. Private contractors for transport are hampered by lack of fuel and liquidity.
Port of CAP:Backlog at port of aid for PAP could stop normal commodities like food for supper markets from coming in
Port of CAP:Customs will not work longer hours (6-8) to process unchecked containers faster. Even empty containers require procedural review by customs before they can be moved and stored
RT-1 regraded to eau du cap need to know how far to go
rt-3 to milot (sacre couer hospital) needs work for patient transport
NEED MORE PRISON AGENTS

Banks:
Bank currency supply logistics still hurt: BNC, SOGEBANK open tommorow, BRH open today, Unibank completely closed indefinite (significant leadership loss problems( this hurts MANY NGOS unibank was bank of choice for NGOs big Oxfam, CHF, and small AIDG, SOIL). FONKOZE more distributed in cash supply will open by week end.
Western UNION branches were sporadically open today but cash supply was problematic
Significant problems with logistics of movement of currency suppply, some banks have limited vault reserves that would not survive a run on the bank (which is likely considering the week of no cash)

Opperations:
Infrastructure was just opened as a cluster last night, not yet receiving the resources of say health cluster, more established prior to disaster
Desperate need for engineers:
Unops engineering understaffed 6 people available 20 scattered
permanent assets combat engineers doing S&R and Military engineers sanitation
Warehouse infrastructure not reviewed for an integrity. 1 major aid warehouse considering a loss after aftershocks, badly damaged, large supply of incoming aid cannot be retrieved. Need 7 structural warehouses need review. (AIDG HAS A TEAM UNOPS INFRASTRUCTURE CLUSTER WANTS!! flying into STI tomorrow that we have BEEN UNABLE TO GET SOUTHCOM TO FLY INTO PAP will not get to PAP till SATURDAY EVENING!!!)

Warehouses for food number one
Anything US military can do to help with that is vital in NEXT few days
Need 7 warehouses in PAP
Many UN buildings need structural review just to SALVAGE DOCUMENTS RECORDS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS (70%)
UN living in tents.
UN needs logistic support, especially in procurement of heavy machinery specifically:
they need forklifts, flatbeds for cap port
in pap:
Long arm cranes
Bucket trucks only 3 available
more S&R kits for demolition (jaws of life etc, want existing S&R kits left)
Heavy machinery
demolitions teams
They need massive scale up on technicians and training of locals
Cap acquiring a boat to move goods to PAP - landing craft (could be used for volunteers)

Displaced Populations and Health
CAP Reliant on data from mayor's office (ngo data interviewing bus drivers finds this understated by %50+) offical figure 10,000 (likely 15,000)
CAP No coordinated intake and registration
No review for escaped prisoners (Haiti Police/UN lacks lists of escapees and photos, gathering old wanted posters to scan)
Cap prison needs support
WFP is ringing food for prison, but doing so from PAP (unsure about this note)????
Hospital Sacre couer in Milot receiving patients but still below capacity
Urgent need for psychologists
Orphanages are at capcity, have no cash for food


Unstructured Volunteers
Large numbers of privately coordinated volunteers with almost no situational awareness are showing up from the US
Arriving in Cap airport now that it has opened via chartered flights (due to difficulties in getting to PAP)
Not registering with the Haitien government
looking to UN to coordinate, UN has no capacity, no aid group with capacity is in a position to mange them
Need an organization with logistic capacity to get volunteers to PAP placed with groups and aid

Communications
Still sporadic but better. Reliant on diesel supply to towers, 3 days per tower. Can go down again

FROM NGO UPDATES (will email more need to get this out)
routes at times are getting more blocked 18 hour traffic jam from santo domingo
NO NORMAL SUPPLIES FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY GETTING IN aid traffic is clogging normal routes
Tensions in Limbe
Massive destruction in Leogane 90% almost tens of thousands lost, LITTLE TO NO AID ARRIVING

FROM PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS
Corruption in customs at Cap Airport (likely out of depseration for cash by employees)
Sporadic attacks on private trucks with food coming in from Santiago DR
Cap13 MW ower plant is largely RUNNING

--
Peter Haas
Executive Director
AIDG | phaas@aidg.org
p: +1.800.401.3860 x701 | f:
+1.866.450.8016

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

From a friend in Guatemala- Lament from the High Mountains

Lament from the High Mountains
Dedicated to my brothers and sisters in Haiti

An echo resounds from
the high mountains…
an echo that is a lament,
a lament that is like
the song of a woman.

A song that is born from the
depths of an old wound,
an injury that was buried
so it would be forgotten…

Today, in louder voices
it cries out to the four winds,
it cries for the pain of its
people that for centuries now
history has forgotten.

Taino-latino people that were
the first to claim their freedom,
in this mother Latin America
by the sons and daughters of liberty.

From the mountains the voice of
Anacaona can be heard again,
so much louder today no one can quiet her ...

Her voice is the voice of the people of
the high mountains…
Who today calls for more than
Compassion ...
She calls for the dignity of
the children of God.

Because her cry is the demand
of the children of oblivion…
In a land that cries so hard
that it called for eternity to the thousands
of her children to awaken
the consciousness of those who
prefer to forget…

L'Oxwell bu

Update from Father Joseph January 18, 2010

Peace & Greetings From Fondwa !

Thanks for your concern, your support and prayers. We have lost about 25 people in Fondwa including a member of the Sisters of St. Anthony of Fondwa: Sr. Odile Damus and a child of 2 years from the Fondwa Orphanage: Jude Dubic. They both died at the APF Guest Center which have been destroyed completely. Everything in Fondwa has gone. The infrastructure that we have built in 22 years: the Orphanage, the School, the APF Center, the Clinic, the Radio Station ( Radyo Zetwal ) the Sisters' Convent, the buildings of the University of Fondwa ( 7 of them). Everything has gone.

The epi-center of the earthquake was in Fondwa, between Leogane and Jacmel. The big building of Pastor Luc Guerrier has gone. The Roman Catholic Church in Fondwa has gone also. The Church of Philadelphie ( a Protestant Church) has gone with about 15 young people under the concrete blocs. The Spiritan have lost one Seminarian, Stephane Douge who died with 12 other Seminarians ( Oblates, Montfortans ) at CIFOR. CIFOR ( a theological school for religious in Port-au-Prince) is gone completely.

The Cathedral of Port-au-Prince has gone also. The Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Mgr. Joseph Serge Miot died and will be buried on Saturday January 24. A big part of St. Martial College has gone, specially the Elementary Section which was also used as the Spiritan Pre-Noviciate House. All of the buildings of St. Martial are damaged a lot.

Our spiritan house in Senghor where I live with Fr. Patrick Eugene is seriously damaged. Our court-yard is used actually as a Refugee Center for about 200 victims of the earthquake. The other Spiritans are Ok.

Fonkoze has lost 3 employees - one Branch ( Bizoton near Port-au-Prince) has gone and 6 other branches very damaged. The Central Office and the Port-au-Prince branch are among them.

But the rest of us are alive and are in strongly in solidarity with the rest of the Country. Together, we can rebuild Fondwa and Haiti.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mark Schuller's Starfish and Seawalls

Mark Schuller wrote an article on responding to Haiti’s Earthquake, now and long-term, discussing the NGO situation and his experience with groups working in Haiti.
Mark Schuller's Starfish and Seawalls

Video from Jacmel

Report from student: Fritzner Simeus from Jacmel:

http://www.vimeo.com/8769046

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Update from Hospice St. Joseph

We were just able to call Max and spoke with him for about a half hour. Here is esentially what he said

He and the staff, including Erold, Fr. Patrick are ok. They only have not heard from or about is Giselle, but Max thinks that her neighborhood might not have been hit too badly. He was concerned about Murphy, but we told him that Murphy had left for Canada before the earthquake hit and is fine.

The 3rd floor of the bldg collapsed into the second. He has access to the first floor but has been hesitant to go in because of the aftershocks. He is thinking they may be over now.

Since the clinic was on the first floor he was able to access the food inventory from the nutrition program and some meds from the pharmacy. Right now he is rationing these out to staff and neighborhood people until more arrives.

biggest need is food , water, first aid kits, tents,masks etc. Dawn Pinder, former HSJ director, is coordinating a medical group who will be arriving Wednesday and bringing some of these items. We are going to try and contact the Red Cross and give them Max's location. Matt Marek, who you may have seen on CNN is a friend of HSJ and former employee of Norwich Mission House. Geri supplied us with a cell number for Tom Vriens who has supplies in Arbonite..but no way to get them to Hospice.

He is able to access the generator and is using it to keep his cell phone charged. He would like to us to be in contact with him everyday.

One of our vehicles is available...but gas supply is a big issue.

Banks are not open. but he is working with Anne Hastings of Fonkoze (microfinance banking org) to have some operating currency . He is NOT giving money to people...but is "paying" the staff with some so that they and their families can buy what they can.

Stores are mostly not open, but some things are available on the black market.

Max is aware that some of the students were killed, but right now there is no list of names etc. ..we know sponsors are concerned. GOC the engineering university has collapsed ...many students were in the bldg. we don't know if our students were among those killed.

Max sounded very good....committed and driven to do what can be done and ride this out until help arrives. He started to break down a little, as did we, when we were getting ready to hang up. the HSJ board will make sure to have a daily conversation with him. Email unfortunately is not a very viable option as our satellite is dish is probably in the dining room.

Max requests our prayers and knows we are all concerned and doing what we can. He is heartened by the fact that so many people have reached out to HSJ and Haiti .

..peace..Dennis and Sue

Earthquake UPDATE on Fondwa

Dear Friends of PIP,
Three days after the massive earthquake shook nearly all of Haiti indirect reports from Fondwa are beginning to arrive. These are not completely confirmed, but they are sufficiently consistent and convergent to conclude that they are likely to be largely accurate.
Earlier today we received a report from Vital Gerard, professor at the University of Fondwa (UNIF), via phone call to Riche Zamor, the UNIF rector, saying “the whole town of Fondwa has collapsed”. Vital reported that he and several UNIF students ran from the UNIF building at the first tremor. Some students were injured getting through the gate, but all managed to escape. Vital made his way to Leogane where he was able to get a motorcycle ride to Okay (Les Cayes) where he has family.
At mid-day we received another indirect report via Joyce Kim, former volunteer in Fondwa and former PIP board member, and via Thomas Pitaud, former volunteer in Fondwa.
In the report Thomas says the following:
I just talked on the phone with Manno, He was able to talk to Kettly and Herault who was just coming from Centre APF.
APF center: Destroyed
School: Destroyed
University: Destroyed
Fonkoze Tombe Gateau: Damaged
Eglise St Antoine [Fondwa church]: Damaged
Atelye ebenist [carpentry shop]: Destroyed
Big House gwo makout la in front of Fonkoze: Destroyed [This would be “Pastor Luke’s House”]
Thomas reported several [unconfirmed] deaths and injuries (including almost 30 children in Tombe Gateau (Tom Gato) who were in the Philadelphia Church there). Thomas’ report says that Sr. Carmelle, and Sr. Simone and the “medam yo” (guest center staff) were NOT among the dead or injured.
Later this afternoon I spoke again by phone to Riche Zamour who had been able to telephone Fr. Joseph’s sister in Brooklyn. She confirmed first that Fr. Joseph is OK and second that Fondwa was devastated and there were several casualties and injuries.
Finally this afternoon I received a report from Humility of Mary Sister Joanne Gardner, H.M. (via Joyce Rothermel), who had spoken to Sr. Judy Dohner, H.M., who was in Fondwa as a volunteer with the Sisters of St. Antoine in Fondwa.
Joanne wrote the following:
Judy called me and said that it is horrible where she is – the buildings are all down. It was the worst thing she has ever been through. One of the novices died and one of the children also. They had the funerals yesterday. She has a concussion and a broken rib. She said they have nothing there. This was all she had time to say as her cell phone was going down. Let us continue to pray for all of them.
None of the reports contained specific information about the Fatima House Orphanage and the children there or the Sisters Motherhouse and the sisters living there, although Joanne's report, based on her conversation with Sr.. Judy, suggests that they are also collapsed. We continue to wait, and pray, and hope.
With gratitude for the living and grief for those lost,
Rich Gosser
Executive Director
Partners in Progress

January 15th - Fr. Rich Update

Hello Friends,
After driving by night to Kennedy Airport January 12th, and flying to the Dominican Republic January 13th, Conan and I arrived to Haiti this morning in the helicopter of the President of the Dominican Republic . This ride was due to the reputation of NPH in the Dominican Republic , NPH Italy, a reputation enhanced in the DR by Andrea Bocelli not long ago.

Our first tasks were the medical evacuation of one of our American volunteers, the medical evacuation of one of our Cuban doctors and the evacuation of the body if one of our American visitors. The search still continues in the rubble for another missing American volunteer, Molly.

We also had 18 funerals today. One for John who works at our St Luke program. We miss John very much. He often stopped to at my door to tell me the milestone of his developing baby, which delighted him no end. John ran our computerized language lab. Another was for Johanne’s mother. Joanne is one of the Directors of the St Luke program. All the others were of unknown people who were sadly rotting by the wayside.

Other sadnesses…the death of Immacula, our only physician assistant, who worked at our huge outpatient side of our hospital. The death of ALL but one of Joseph Ferdinand’s brothers and sisters, the death of the husband of Jacqueline Gautier as he was visiting a school which fell and all the students (all died), the death of our ex-pequeno Wilfrid Altisme who was in his 5th year of seminary for priesthood. Other stories of deaths of people who are dear to us keep coming in.

We spent the rest of the time managing the countless people with serious and severe wounds, coming to our hospital. We are doing our best for them, under trees and in the parking lot with ever diminishing supplies. We will work throughout the night and beyond. No stores are open, no banks are open. Diesel is running out. Will be out in two days if we don’t find a solution, which will mean no power at all. The hospital is without water since there is some broken line between the well and the water tower.

Structural damages to the hospital seem superficial at first glance, but about half the outer perimeter walls have fallen. The old hospital in Petionville is in ruins, and teams of workers, led by Ferel, and been digging for Molly non-stop around the clock.

WE HAVE NO INTERNET. OUR PHONES DO NOT WORK. IF A CALL DOES GET THROUGH WE CAN’T HEAR OR BE HEARD. Robin has internet access through a satellite. I asked her to send this message for me, and to read my emails and answer them as best she can for now.

Please continue to pray for us. We pray for you too.
Fr. Rick Frechette

January 15th

Friends,
I spoke with Riche Zamour, the UNIF rector who is in Boston and who sent me a text message early this morning saying that “the entire village of Fondwa has collapsed”. Riche said he received a call from Vital who escaped from the UNIF building along with the UNIF students. None of the UNIF people died, but a few were injured although not too seriously. Vital walked to Leogane and from there was able to take a motorcycle to Les Cayes where he has family. Apparently he was able to make a phone call from Les Cayes. We have no confirmed information about the visitors’ center or school in Fondwa at this time, but indications are that they are both collapsed. We have had no direct contact with anyone from the Fondwa valley – only from Vital who was up in Tom Gato.
I am hopeful that we will have more information today.
Rich

From Fr. Rick Frechette - January 13, 2010

Dear Friends

I have been home with my dying mother, as a son and as a doctor and as a priest. Daily mass, managing her pain medicines, helping in any way I can. I was determined to stay with her to the end, especially since my whole adult life I have been far from home in the foreign missions.

I have to tell you, every day at mass, when I ask mom if she has any special intentions, she says, "for you, for God to keep you strong, and for your mission in Haiti."

Now we have this huge sadness in Haiti. I told her I have to leave for a while. She said to me, "you have to go. The problems there are worse than mine."

Tonight I will drive to Kennedy Airport in New York with Conan Conaboy. We cannot fly to Haiti tomorrow, so we will fly to Santo Domingo. Kieran and Vern Conaway will meet us there, and Robin from Chicago. We will drive to Haiti together to see how we can help.

I know there is extensive damage at our new hospital, that the perimeter walls of all three of our Tabarre programs have fallen. I know there is damage to the hospital walls.

I also know there is severe damage at the old hospital in Petionville.

Lets pray everyone is alright.

I have heard that everyone at the orphanage in Kenscoff is OK.

I will not arrive until Thursday morning, since the border between Dominican Republic and Haiti will be closed when we arrive tomorrow. We will find the best way to keep you informed and let you know how you can help.

Let's stay bound together in friendship and prayer.

God bless us all. Especially the suffering people of Haiti, and my dear mother, Gerri Frechette.

Fr Rick Frechette