Earthquake Response & Recovery: Help Still Desperately Needed
In 2010, a massive earthquake struck Haiti, leaving a quarter of a million people dead, 1.5 million people homeless, and the nation’s already-shaky infrastructure devastated.
Project Medishare was the first group of foreign doctors to land in Haiti just 12 hours after the first major quake, administering emergency medical aid to thousands in a massive field hospital at the Port-au-Prince airport. Hundreds of other non-profit and charity groups soon followed with help, as did media attention and international donations.
Click to watch a documentary of our lifesaving efforts immediately after the quake.
Today, while Haiti has faded from the news and many of those groups have left, the recovery and rebuilding effort is far from complete. Most other organizations have pulled out and funding has dried up. This represents a whole new crisis for the Haitian people, 600,000 of whom are still living under tents and tarps without access to clean water, food or sanitation. Project Medishare worked to help Haiti for 17 years before the earthquake, and are committed to help Haiti build back better in the long-term, but this can’t be done without YOUR help.
How You Can Help
Haiti Still has Critical Needs
Project Medishare’s hospital – which has moved from the airport to a permanent home in Port-au-Prince — is scheduled to lose its main source of funding in December 2011. It is the only critical care and trauma hospital in the entire country;
After the earthquake, many people living in devastated Port-au-Prince moved to rural areas, creating a greater burden on Project Medishare’s rural community health centers due to the influx of people. Those displaced and affected by conditions like HIV/AIDS must continue to receive their medication or they could die.
The increased rural population, coupled with the continuing lack of public sanitation systems or clean water supply, has increased the threat of disease and death tenfold. Cholera — unknown in Haiti prior to the 2010 earthquake — infected nearly a half a million people in just the past year (October 2010 to October 2011). That is 476,000 people infected, and 6,600 deaths. Project Medishare has cared for over 10,000 patients at their cholera treatment centers, but a long-term solution is needed to end this epidemic. Donations to create a more proactive, permanent solution – including building clean water wells and public latrines – would prevent the infection of whole communities.
2010 Earthquake: History and Continuing Commitment
There is a long list of heroes who Project Medishare honors for their courageous actions after the tragic earthquake struck Haiti. Ranking very high among them are the life-saving doctors and health care professionals who volunteered their time for Project Medishare, in partnership with the University of Miami Global Institute for Community Health and Development.
Immediately after hearing the tragic news of the earthquake, Dr. Barth Green, who was in Haiti just 2 weeks prior, and the Project Medishare team sprung into action, fielding the first team of foreign physicians to arrive in Haiti following the earthquake. With the control tower still down at the airport and no air traffic control on the ground, a brave team climbed onto a donated private plane, risking their own lives to rush in and help. Countless lives were saved because of this heroic act.
Less than 24 hours after the initial earthquake, Project Medishare began setting up a field-trauma hospital on the grounds of the Port-au-Prince airport at the request of the Haitian Ministry of Health. Project Medishare has been engaged in health and development work in Haiti for more than 17 years, so existing relationships and an already strong staff in Haiti allowed the coordination with the government and emergency response teams on the ground.
Days after the quake, Project Medishare was operating a 300-bed critical care hospital with four operating rooms and an ICU, housed in 4 major event tents donated and flown to Haiti because of the generosity and work of Alonzo and Tracy Mourning. These 4 tents translated into 300 patient beds, 30,000 square feet of trauma and critical care hospital with space for volunteer corp of over 5,000 international medical volunteers. During the next 6 months, this hospital saved the lives of over 30,000 earthquake victims and also served as an evacuation point for the U.S. military to airlift critical patients. Project Medishare transitioned the field hospital in June of 2010 into an existing small community nonprofit hospital and upgraded the equipment and operating rooms to become the first critical care, trauma and rehabilitation hospital in Haiti.
An established permanent presence in Haiti means that Project Medishare will still be on the ground saving lives long after the cameras leave. In the months and years ahead, as efforts turn to reconstructing Haiti’s medical infrastructure, Project Medishare is strongly committed to helping this earthquake-ravaged nation rebuild better than before.