In Haiti, Tensions Rise Among
Survivors Desperate for Aid
ADRA provides food to thousands; Loma Linda University supports medical relief
BY NADIA MCGILL, ADRA, with additional reporting from Loma Linda University
hile aid started to flow into areas of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, within days of the 7.0-magintude Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake that devastated the nation, tensions among survivors seeking food, water, and basic necessities continue to be a serious issue among displaced populations, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) reported.
At the same time, Loma Linda University, an institution of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, is bringing its medical expertise to assist survivors as the school continues its longstanding work with Haiti Adventist Hospital.
“It’s been difficult finding food. People push you to get something to eat,” said Michele, a young woman who is eight months pregnant and currently living in a camp for internally displaced persons in Carrefour, a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Recently, she has depended on camp neighbors to get food for her during distributions.
ADRA expects that increased access to food will help ease tensions. On January 25, ADRA provided nearly 100,000 pounds (45 tons) of rice, beans, oil, and salt for approximately 15,000 displaced survivors living on the campus of the Haitian Adventist University in southwest Port-au-Prince.
DAMAGE VISIBLE: Satellite imagery from Haiti show the grounds of Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti before the 7.0 earthquake hit and following. The hospital is still standing and able to provide services to those in need. (Imagery acquired at 10:30 a.m. January 13, 2010, by GeoEye.)
“ADRA’s food distribution can mean the difference between life and death for thousands who have been so severely affected by this disaster,” said Julio Muñoz, a member of ADRA’s emergency response team in Haiti.
The distribution was implemented with the security support of local police and Brazilian United Nations peacekeepers. This is the latest of several food distributions that ADRA has completed since the quake hit.
This follows other distributions, including one on January 23 in which ADRA provided food, water, clothing, and medical supplies for 3,300 individuals throughout 11 sites in the disaster-affected area. More than 1,000 of these beneficiaries were children living at local orphanages in the Carrefour neighborhood. The affected children received basic food items, including bread, bananas, rice, crackers and milk, as well as diapers and more than 8,000 bottles of Pedialyte®, which replaces the fluids and electrolytes lost due to diarrhea or vomiting.
ADRA also distributed more than 12,000 pounds (5,488 kilos) of pinto beans, approximately 760 gallons (2,880 liters) of oil, and more than 1,100 pounds (500 kilos) of salt donated by the World Food Programme (WFP), and 20,000 6-ounce (200 milliliters) packs of nutritional drinks provided by the Spanish International Cooperation Agency (AECID), which will feed an estimated 2,000 children at two local schools for a week.
“In the capital city, millions remain in need of the most basic necessities,” Muñoz said. “ADRA is committed to the people of Haiti, and will continue to respond to their needs.”
ADRA’s relief efforts can be supported with donations to the Haiti Earthquake Response Fund online at www.adra.org/haiti, or by phone at 1.800.424.ADRA (2372). To donate using a mobile phone, the group suggests texting the word "ADRA" to 85944, reply "YES" and donate a one-time $10 gift to ADRA's Haiti response.
While ADRA is continuing its relief efforts, Loma Linda University said it continues to monitor the unfolding recovery efforts in Haiti. The school says it has had “longstanding relationships” with the country:
• In the 1980s, LLU trained 40 public health professionals in Haiti.
• In 2004, after catastrophic floods there, LLU trained a 50-member Haitian national Behavioral Health Trauma Team. The team is currently at work counseling in the relief efforts.
• The Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti (Haiti Adventist Hospital) in Port-au-Prince, a 70-bed facility built in 1978, is functional after the earthquake and already serving as a clinical center for the country. Joining Adventist Health International in 2003, and being “adopted” three years ago by the Loma Linda University School of Medicine Class of 2010 as their mission project, strengthened its services.
• Universite Adventiste d’Haiti (Haiti Adventist University), located next to the hospital, has sustained some damage, but parts of the campus are being used as a staging ground for various relief efforts.
• Scott Nelson, MD, a Loma Linda University graduates and an orthopedic surgeon based in the Dominican Republic, arrived in Port-au-Prince on January 14 with a surgical team to provide orthopedic services at the Adventist hospital. (Editor’s Note: Nelson’s work in both nations on the island of Hispaniola was profiled in Adventist Review, Sept. 10, 2008; /article.php?id=2076.)
• Numerous Loma Linda University graduates and other volunteers have expressed interest in traveling to Haiti to help, the school said, adding: “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update everyone through the University website: Support Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti (http://bit.ly/bBWIvA). If additional health care providers are needed at the Adventist hospital in Port-au-Prince, that information will be made available on the website.”
• Loma Linda University has established a fund to facilitate donations to the Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti. The hospital is in need of many resources in order to function around-the-clock during this critical period. Donation can be made through the same Web site, http://bit.ly/bBWIvA.