Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Medical Team Arrives in Mizak Haiti

Friends,

Paul Prevost confirmed that Ron Bush's medical team arrived safely in Jacmel yesterday (1/22). They joined another medical team in Jacmel and immediately went into service. They are staying for two nights in Jacmel at Hotel Cyvadier. Current plans are for the team to come up to Mizak on Sunday afternoon.

Paul expressed his appreciation for the donations towards food that arrived with Ron. Supply is still difficult in part because stored supplies have been looted in the cities. However, he felt they could still find food. Prices, of course, have escalated. The staff is meeting tomorrow after church to finalize their plan for distribution.

Paul projects that prices will decrease after a couple weeks, as international intervention stablizes the looting, stores resume business, and supplies begin flowing through the country.

Housing is a huge, huge issue. Paul asked about tents or earthbag homes for immediate relief. He said everyone is now in fear of concrete structures. I have emailed Church World Service about their tents and blankets initiative and I have begun to receive other suggestions such as www.shelterboxusa.org.

I've also emailed Concrete Technology to begin learning about the techniques that are used to build concrete housing in US, as well as the possiblities for ferrocement or similar applications. Obviously, those are longer term possibilities.

I will have updates on the food distribution soon, as well as specific requests related to housing. For those who have raised the question of shipping, we may need to contact Missionary Flights International, Air Mobile or other charter services to request cargo space.

Closely related to the housing need is the ongoing need for medical attention. The 'second wave' of medical need is hitting the ground. Lots of "fever" spreading among those living outside, as you've also heard on the news. In the rural areas, we have an advantage of space to spread folks out, if we could secure tents or earthbag housing.

The needs related to emotional trauma are surely as significant as the physical. I have asked Paul to have the staff resume Peace Pals as quickly as possible to help the children process what they are experiencing and to have some 'normalcy' of routine back in their life. I have not specifically requested donations for Peace Pals, but there is a need, if we could extend this to more children in the community.

Our teams for February and March are still scheduled. We are closely monitoring the ground situation per the advisability of travel, but hopeful. They can be an important source of emotional and physical support. Emily Nieman of the March 5 team raised the possibility of the psychologist traveling with their team to offer tips to local pastors on grief and trauma counseling. Donations are important and we need those to keep coming, but so are the relationships, touch and skills delivered by teams.

Thank you for your outpouring of love and prayers!

Peace,
Valerie