Usually we think of 5 seconds as nothing. If we ask people to wait for 5 seconds, we don’t feel guilty. Talking to the victims of the earthquake in Port au Prince will make you realize how 5 seconds can drastically change the course of one person’s life, a city, or even a nation. This is the reality of Port au Prince.
On Wednesday night, I couldn’t sleep. I don’t think it was because I was afraid of sleeping under a concrete roof, because we did not see any damage here. But for the whole night, I couldn’t sleep. Early in the morning a group of people came to my door asking me to let them use the clinic truck to go help someone that was trapped under rubble in Port au Prince. And since no other driver was available, I decided as a doctor I would be more helpful to go and help in case they were able to get him out because the last message of the president of the nation was a call for all doctors to come and help. I also thought this would be an opportunity to do an assessment of what really happened since communication is down and most information that we have received is by word of mouth.
As I was getting into Port au Prince I started to realize that I was getting into a war zone, as I have seen in movies. There were lots of buildings collapsed, turned into sandwiches. Hundreds of people were on the street, a few vehicles and on every corner a pile of dead bodies (at least 10). As we got further into the city, we discovered hundreds of tent cities. People were turning their sheets into tents so that they can sleep under it – those that were actually able to save something from their house. There is no way that I can put into words what this disaster has added to the misery that people were already suffering.
The first question that you ask is, how can I help? How can I make a change? How can I bring a smile back to their faces? When you look at the disaster you are angry as you ask why did it happen to these people who have nothing? Why do they have to suffer that much? When it’s not political unrest, it’s the corruption of the government leaders or bad weather like hurricanes and now a strong earthquake. Why? The truth is, you realize that there is no way that you can make a huge difference. There is no way that you can bring the lives back of the dead... so many moms without their babies, so many men without their wives, so many kids without their parents.
From what I saw, life will no longer be the same in Port au Prince because Port au Prince as a city no longer exists. Most of the schools have collapsed with students inside. Churches collapsed with people inside. People are afraid to be inside of any buildings as 80% of buildings have at least some degree of damage.
Our clinic wants to send a team of volunteers. Our goal is to help at least 700 to 800 people that are staying in a yard in a slum of Port au Prince. We want to give those people much needed help. On our first trip we want to provide them with real tents, water filters, protein supplements (which we already have), clothes, medicines and spiritual support. The only thing we have available right now is the protein supplement, so we need money to buy medicines, food, water, diesel fuel, etc.
If you want to be part of the mission, you can send your donations to the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada online designated to Haiti Earthquake relief or mail cheques to:
Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada
PO Box 34025, RPO Fort Richmond
Winnipeg, MB R3T 5T5
You can also send items such as clothing, sheets, medicines, etc.
Please send an email for more information on how to mail to let us know what you have sent so we know what to expect to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All funds given through ECCC to Haiti Earthquake will be used directly for relief in Port au Prince.
Janelle Peterson will be coordinating communications from Haiti and can be reached at this email address email@example.com.
Thank you for your partnership. Please continue to pray for us and with us through this devastating time.
Dr. Emmanuel Mareus
Friday, January 15, 2010
Here's a letter that we just sent out from Dr. Manno,