Monday, February 1, 2010

Arrived in Port-au-Prince

We've arrived safe and sound in Port-au-Prince this afternoon thanks to the UN's World Food Program flight they are providing daily for aid workers. After arrival, we spent the majority of the day at the UN compound where they hold their daily cluster meetings. The goal is to coordinate the actions of all the local and international groups who a performing a specific function here. So for example, there are cluster meetings for: health, logisitics, food and water, construction, etc. At the health cluster today we met a ton of overseas doctors who are working at these various field hospitals and a variety of other medical NGOs like Partners in Health and Doctors Without Borders. We also made a great contact at the WHO who can arrange for us to transport our supplies to facilities outside of PAP via truck and/or helicoptor.

From there we left the compound and got our first taste of real PAP. A couple things stood out initially:

1. Traffic is insane.
2. Locals seem to be fairly used to all the foreigners in their city and somewhat in a daze. We got neither waves nor incredulation from them.
3. Lots of people are here who truly seem to want to help but the overall coordination, at least in the health cluster, seems poor. Doctors are here and working but they don't have nearly enough supplies. The WHO is supposed to provide this and say they have 16 containers full of products (we have 6 on the way right now) but don't have the manpower to organize the distribution or assess the needs of each facility. The doctors made no bones about their anger over this.
4. There are an enormous number of injured people. They announced today that there is a phone number that hospitals can call to properly dispose of limbs.

We're now back at our hotel that we'll be staying at for the next 3 nights. The place is packed with people and many of them are sleeping outside in tents. However the majority of the people here are either from NBC news or the private security firm that they hired to protect them. Needless to say, we are safe here.

Tomorrow the four of us will split up and two will go meet some trucks full of supplies at the border to delver to a hospital and two will go try to find the warehouse. When we told the head of the logistics cluster that our plan was to find a warehouse, all he said was, "Good luck with that." Doesn't inspire much confidence.

1 comment:

  1. Andrew we're really proud of the work you're doing there in Haiti! Your blog is very interesting and thanks for letting us ride along as you take this journey and help the needy. Stay safe -- Gail and Bob Loperena