News from the ground in Haiti

From Nicole Klaesener-Metzner in Haiti:

Feb 8: We´re finished with our work at the hospital in Port-au-Prince. I will be in the States on Thursday. More later!

Jan 27: Tomorrow we meet in Petionville at the WASH Cluster meeting which is most important meeting for water and sanitation. I called Andy Bastable on his cell phone (Head of water and sanitation for OXFAM) directly, and he gave me the information. It should give us a lot of direction. We´re quite free to do what we think needs to be done, which is good for getting things done

Aside from the smell of diesel, the hum of generators and military vehicles, the whole place reminds me of Telluride on steroids–only there´s a lot less music and a lot more helicopters. Planes of every description come and go all day and night. I live in a tent with five other people and the Volunteer Ministries, who are responsible for everything, are very nice. We all work together to make our camp livable.

I live at the airport–and I mean literally. I can walk out of my tent and across a field and right onto the tarmac. You can probably see our yellow tents (Google Earth) on the south side of the runway, toward the eastern edge. There are tents and gear everywhere–over an area of probably 40 acres or more. The whole complex is secured by the UN.

We are organizing Haitian volunteers to help with the physical work. It´s extremely hot here, and yes, I am staying well hydrated! The other day Wycliff Jean walked right down the street (in a huge crowd), and yesterday someone in our group saw Dr. Sanjay Gupta from CNN, looking a bit bedraggled, so I´m told.

There is potable water at the hospital compound, but sanitation has a long ways to go. The solid waste we have been removing (which included me going out on the streets on PAP and, with a local, flagging a guy down with a truck and hiring him to move medical waste), is pretty scary stuff but we´re careful. It´s getting better.

We have volunteers delivering water to the patients often. It is sad to see these people in such a state but volunteers are doing a good job with what they can. The streets in the hospital compound are free from bodies but I have been shown where they were literally stacked up, not that many days ago. It´s horrifying

I am working at the University Hospital in PAP, we´re doing solid waste and sanitation for the hospital complex, which is serving 750-1500 people. It is secured by the US military and so it is safe. My team consists of me, Rodrigo Silva, and Nicole Klaesner, and we are meeting with the head of the hospital, as well as with Dr. Paul Auerbach, of International Medical Corps.

Jan 27, Rodrigo Silva: is working on Sanitation Relief Team at the Hopital de L’Universite D’Etat D’Haiti Hospital in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Planning Sanitation for an orphanage. Thanks for all the support and good vibes.

Jan 22: I am on my way to Haiti with a group working under the Red Cross doing water and sanitation. I’m leaving this morning. We don’t know how long we’ll be there but I will try to post anything I can if we have any kind of internet access (not very likely). I am glad to be able to go and I have good people with me. I’ll write when I can. Ciao!