At this point, we are one of the very, very few NGOs that has flown approximately 12 planes into the island, and all but one successfully touched down into Port au Prince, with another one getting diverted to Santo Domingo which Aino Jakobsen, our DR Country Coordinator, quickly transported over to PAP.
We have successfully set up an infrastructure to fly planes in for free or at cost, receive the aid at arrival, place it into trucks, ensure an abundance of fuel (key) and then make certain that it gets delivered to the local points of dire need.
Right now, we have limited need for storage because we are literally consuming 100% of the aid within 12 hours of delivery. Our doctors are performing an amputation an hour, and often it is without anesthetics. I’ve seen people die and cannot share those pictures in a public forum.
A lot of the aid, sadly, is just sitting on the airport. There are many magnanimous supplier donors but are flying aid but without thought as to what happens when they land into PAP. We typically claim such aid if it is untouched for 48 hours. At this point, SouthCom who has taken over the airport has asked us to assist in managing HAD (humanitarian aid distribution) operations for them. I didn’t see many people from the U.S. in the hardest hit areas, except for Doctors without Borders.
Aid of some other NGOs is being sold on the black market. We’ve set up a pretty scary private security detail of U.S. soldiers of Haitian descent who have taken leave to help AAI. We are in the process of trying to get them paid leave. Fuel and electricity is like gold so with each increasing day the level of unrest and knowledge of what we are doing is growing. That being said, the locals are coming to our side and helping. It is amazing to see people who themselves are in such need but decide to place others ahead of themselves. The human heart is strong and pure and it takes events like this to bring out the goodness in people, which we often don’t read in the press or see on the news.
I like being stateside, but I really needed to assess things first with my own eyes and confirm that the people we found both here and down there are those we can trust and have the competency and strength. I needed to formally shake hands with key people of the Haitian government. We are one of the only ones that have been able to form a bridge across both parties.
As I type, our team is in the middle of distributing 13,500 pounds of nutrition bars and 6,000 pounds of water in the dark, along with aid from Americares. People are gracious and thankful. Unfortunately, we still have to pace up and down with shotguns, but we’ve ordered our men to stand down. No more lives should be taken.