We have been working since the storm to ensure we are able to support the families and communities of our team throughout the most affected areas. We have also been working with public health facilities to answer their calls for help. This means ensuring hospitals and clinics have the IV fluids, medications, medical supplies they request. We have also been working with partners to ensure we are able to supply them with the medical advice or other supplies they need as well.
Our team continued to work, ensuring those whom they cared for in their homes, as the storm hit. We are working on ensuring better housing for our most marginalized patients, whose homes pulled together from wood, metal, and plastic, did not fare well.
Port-Au-Prince, where we work, weathered the storm, but was not devastated like other parts of the country, especially in the southwestern tip.
Many members of our team come from areas more affected. Initially, there was little contact with many areas of the southwest of the country – no cellphone, no travel. News has trickled out though of substantial destruction in their home communities – many houses destroyed, all possessions lost. Fortunately, none of our team has learned of any deaths among those they know, as of yet.
Those on our team who come from these areas are returning to see what the needs are. They are traveling with aquatabs (for clean water and Cholera prevention), clothing, as they assess what further needs there are. We will work to help local medical responders have what they need to provide needed help.
We are all very worried that Cholera will grow, after flooding and the destruction of homes and toilets. There is also a risk of tetanus in those injured. There’s also a risk of mosquito-borne diseases, not just because of the water left (though the storm often washes away mosquito eggs) but because many are sleeping more crowded together, often outside, often in churches, the only buildings remaining in some communities. There is also the worry about tetanus given injuries sustained and difficulties in obtaining vaccines after injuries. There is also the worry that many have lost their livelihoods, especially in agriculture as this was a bread basket region which can affect many others.
We work with a number of other groups directly and indirectly that we know well and know provide the quality work we would expect. The best way to respond is to respond locally – with locally-led responses, partners, and purchases. Ensuring aid is effective and ethical is crucial and many are continuing this conversation.
Here are some of the local groups we know working on this response:
Haiti Communitere has been our longterm partner. They are working in Cite Soleil and areas around Port-Au-Prince, as well as acting as a staging location near the main airport for organizing for flights and trips to affected areas, while connecting resources and partners on the ground.
In Directly Affected Areas:
Paradis des Indiens is based where the hurricane hit and is very well known for its high-quality community and educational work. We have also heard it has been really hit hard by the hurricane. (We do not however work directly with them).
The Haitian Health Foundation (HHF) is also known for its work in the affected region. (We do not however work directly with them).
Likewise, St Boniface Foundation hospital is also known for its work in the affected areas.
Little Footprints, Big Steps works with vulnerable children, especially those who live on the street, giving them shelter and support, as well as working with. They weathered the storm in Les Cayes. We have worked with patients from among these vulnerable children and know the founder, Morgan, quite well. They are a great team.
Heartline is a midwifery-focused group based in the Port-Au-Prince area and has sent a team out to affected areas in the southwest. They worked hard on general medical relief after the earthquake and we have worked with them with common patients in the past.
MAF provides flights within Haiti, helping after the earthquake, and now providing the first flights and glimpses of the destruction in the southwest.
Ayiti Air Anbilans/Haiti Air Ambulance is also starting to work in the southwest. We have worked with them in the past as well.
There’s also fundraising for this family in Jeremie, through people we know well and trust:
SOIL has done terrific work in Port-Au-Prince and elsewhere, working with communities on ecologic sanitation, which will be important given the risk of cholera. They are sending a team to work in affected areas.
A terrific and thoughtful list explaining even more options can be found here.
There are many more and we will add more groups, as we learn more.
It’s also incredibly important to buy locally. There are many options.
If you have more recommendations of locally based groups in Haiti, please email [email protected]