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HAITI - 2010 Earthquake (Lest we forget)

27 January 2010
Nearly 100 tonnes of additional aid is being flown to Haiti this week as thousands of people who lost their homes in the devastating earthquake are being given the chance to start rebuilding their lives in ShelterBox tents.
Emergency shelter for more than 20,000 people is now in Port au Prince and surrounding areas with small camps already set up in Delmas, Petion-Ville, Carrefour and Leogane.
Hundreds more ShelterBoxes containing disaster relief tents and other life-saving supplies are being sent to the city in the next few days from Miami, Curucao and France, meaning another 11,000 people will be given emergency shelter.
On Friday, ShelterBox is chartering a 747 aircraft with 1,800 boxes to fly from Stansted Airport to the Dominican Republic where they will be taken overland to neighbouring Haiti.
It is the second flight chartered by the international disaster relief charity for the Haiti response after a plane loaded with 700 ShelterBoxes and 100 tents flew out of Newquay Cornwall Airport last week. ShelterBox Response Team members Jane Nash (UK) and Gary McCafferty (UK) travelled overland from Santa Domingo with an aid convoy to ensure the ShelterBoxes reached Port au Prince at the weekend.
John Leach, Head of Operations for ShelterBox, said: ‘The need in Haiti is massive. Our team in Port au Prince is working with Dutch marines to ensure the safe and effective delivery of disaster relief tents and hundreds of these are already being used in four different locations.
‘Distribution of aid by our highly-trained ShelterBox Response Team members is underway but the need for emergency shelter is still desperate.’
A number of ShelterBoxes have also been used at an orphanage and at two hospitals in Port au Prince where tents are being erected to help save lives.
Speaking from Bernard Mews Hospital in Freres, a suburb of Port au Prince, ShelterBox Response Team member Wayne Robinson (US) said: ‘Right outside the hospital there have been hundreds of people who have been laying in the sidewalks, on the streets and in blankets right on the ground in unbelievable conditions. They are bleeding, they have missing limbs and there are even women giving birth.
‘We felt this was a good use of the initial boxes that we had here on the ground and we’ll be bringing more here and using them as a transitional point to get people out of the elements while they are waiting for treatment at the hospital. Buildings have crashed down all around us here and people are just waiting and waiting to get in here for medical services.’

2011 Update:

One year on from the Haiti earthquake, communities are still coming to terms with the loss of life and of livelihoods. Measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, the tremors hit Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas on the 12th of January 2010 with such force that virtually nothing was left standing. An estimated 230,000 people lost their lives and over a million people are still believed to be homeless. Even now, many families are still living in emergency tents.
The immediate aftermath saw one of the largest fundraising responses by Rotary clubs from across Great Britain & Ireland. Thanks to the generosity of the public, Rotarians raised an incredible £3m in the first three months of 2010 for Rotary-supported boxes including Shelter Box, Water Survival Box and Aquabox. Just as quickly, work began on creating long-term solutions. The Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland (RIBI Donations Trust set up a fund specifically for Haiti, which will only be used to support sustainable projects that go beyond immediate needs.
Rotarians the world over are continuing to work alongside fellow Rotarians in Haiti. It is thanks to this pre-existing network that rapid-response boxes were able to be distributed quickly and efficiently. Through fundraising, visiting the area for building projects and talking to communities, Rotarians are helping Haiti to help itself by understanding needs. This commitment to Haiti has always being in place. Prior to the earthquake, there were over 30 educational and humanitarian projects underway.
There is no overnight fix. Rotary is committed to supporting Haiti through long-term projects which include a new Rotary Jaipur Limb centre in the grounds of a hospital in Pignon. Poorer countries have higher than average figures for amputations due to accidents at work. The earthquake increased those figures even more with many victims being young children who will need additional care as they outgrow their artificial limbs.
The Rotary Jaipur Limb Project, and several other Rotary supported plans, is starting to make a real difference to the many who are in need of help. It has also been asked to create a permanent training centre for new technicians who will safeguard the future of this care project.
Thanks to the long-term commitment of humanitarian organisations, including Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland (RIBI), there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.