Sunday, January 31, 2010

Will We Forget Haiti? - ABC News

Will We Forget Haiti? - ABC News:
"People often are eager to help initially, but soon forget tragedies."

Global Voices Online » Global Voices in Haiti: On Reconstruction

Global Voices Online » Global Voices in Haiti: On Reconstruction:
"Then there's the critical matter of shelter for those who have lost their homes. Those who can manage it are already beginning to repair and rebuild for themselves. Those who can't have been evacuated to the country side or are living in increasingly fetid improvised tent cities — or rather “sheet cities”, as I heard someone remark, as genuine tents are few and far between"

USGS Release: USGS Issues Assessment of Aftershock Hazards in Haiti (1/21/2010 5:49:20 PM)

USGS Release: USGS Issues Assessment of Aftershock Hazards in Haiti (1/21/2010 5:49:20 PM):
"The aftershock sequence of a magnitude-7 earthquake will continue for months if not years in the affected area. The frequency of events will diminish with time, but damaging earthquakes will remain possible in the coming months....Based on this activity and the statistics of aftershock sequences, our estimate for aftershock activity during a 30-day period beginning January 21, 2010, is as follows:

* The probability of one or more earthquakes of magnitude 7 or greater is less that 3 percent."

Seismology of Haiti EarthquakeImage by Podknox via Flickr

Wow, this is for a 30 day period!

What does it mean?

"Any aftershock above magnitude 5.0 will be widely felt and has the potential to cause additional damage, particularly to vulnerable, already damaged structures. Anyone living in Haiti or involved in relief work there must maintain situational awareness with regard to their personal earthquake safety. They should always be aware of what action they are going to take if the ground starts to shake. Open spaces are generally safe but running through falling debris to get to an open space may be dangerous. Only qualified engineers can determine if a damaged building is safe for reoccupation. Until engineering assistance arrives, a general rule to follow is: If it does not look safe, it probably is not safe. Entry into or reoccupation of obviously damaged structures should be avoided. "


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Out of Faith and Compassion: Diary of a Haiti Volunteer - The Haiti Earthquake - TIME

Out of Faith and Compassion: Diary of a Haiti Volunteer - The Haiti Earthquake - TIME:
"Lonnie Vargas is a production manager for Time Inc. Almost instinctively, he and a group of 11 people, including a restaurant manager, a school principal, an accountant, a flight attendant and a truck driver figured out how to get down to the island nation. All were members of the Old Bridge, New Jersey branch of Calvary Chapel, a non-denominational church that is spread around the world. They arrived a few days after the quake struck with 20 duffel bags full of medical supplies — and the name of only one contact, who lived in the Dominican Republic's side of the island. While a few people on the team had helped after 9/11 and Katrina, most had never done anything like this before. Following are excerpts from a diary Vargas kept of the work they did and the obstacles they overcame. — By Deirdre Van Dyk"
READ THE WHOLE THING. (yeah emphasis intentional.

For instance, if you don't read the whole thing you will miss things like this that just keep reocurring in story after story from volunteers:

"I was really taken aback to discover that people like Cody and Maria were the only ones actually putting resources into the hands of the Haitians. Not the Haitian government, the US, Canada, Columbia, or French (all of whom I saw in the country) and especially not the UN.

Amputations become the defining injury of the earthquake in Haiti - St. Petersburg Times

Amputations become the defining injury of the earthquake in Haiti - St. Petersburg Times:
"This is the signature injury of the catastrophe. In medical tents and operating rooms across the disaster zone, surgeons saw without ceasing. They work in conditions their forebears from battlefields of 150 years ago would find familiar. Without power, sometimes with instruments sterilized in vodka, they struggle to keep pace with the implacable advance of gangrenous rot that has turned treatable injuries into life threatening ones. The wails of the wounded testify to the physical and psychological scars that these amputations will leave on the whole society.

'There is no place in Haiti for people like me,' says Joaz Nancie, 27. 'Without my leg, I am a freak. Cripples are rejected here.'"

It is for this reason that we are teaming with Villa Volunteers and CYC to run a crutches drive. If you have a pair of crutches that is not being used? or a walker that is no longer needed? We'd love to help it get to Haiti.

We have several contacts in Haiti who have repeatedly said they need crutches more than anything right now, so please help.

Great class or club project!!

You can drop off crutches (in relatively good condition) at 231 Murphy Building (west side of SBU campus), at the Allegany Park and Shop, or at Villa Maria. Or call 716-375-2111 to arrange a pickup in the Olean/Allegany area.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Video from Wyclef on Haiti

Task of rebuilding Haiti expected to be ambitious, arduous -

Task of rebuilding Haiti expected to be ambitious, arduous -

The plans include reducing the size of Port au Prince, making parks and planting trees, and of course making safer buildings.

"...first stage of the reconstruction will be cleaning up the debris of the thousands of collapsed buildings. The United Nations has proposed a 'cash for debris' program, which will compensate citizens for collecting recyclable items like iron sheets and wood.

The preliminary plan must be finalized and approved by the Haitian Council of Ministers, which includes President Rene Preval. It is scheduled to go before the council the week of February 7."

Article from OTH on Bootdrive

From Olean Times Herald

"Mr. Richardson said eight to 10 firefighters volunteered to help with today’s collection.

“We worked with Bonaventure during Katrina and we also do boot drives to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association,” Mr. Richardson said. “We like having the students out there because they bring a lot of manpower and help.

“It’s also good for us, as a community, to work with Bonaventure,” he said. “It helps form a bond.”"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Coverage of Pat in the BV

From the BV. By Elizabeth Grady

"Immediately after the earthquake, I knew I wanted to do something to help the situation in Haiti," Mahar wrote in an e-mail from Denver.

While the hospital he works at, The Children's Hospital in Denver, did not initially plan to send a team to Haiti, a group of nurses and physicians independently decided to put a relief team together. "

Students raise $6,400 in two minutes for Haiti | food, minutes, students - News - The Orange County Register

Students raise $6,400 in two minutes for Haiti | food, minutes, students - News - The Orange County Register:
"Pacifica High School students Ayanna Diego, left, and Nick Mezin, right, run money from their classrooms to a collection table for victims of the Haiti earthquake. The students had a goal of raising 2,000 dollars in two minutes but raised 6,400 dollars instead."

Pacifica High School, LEAD ON!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

YouTube - Haiti: Two Weeks After the Earthquake, Needs Are Changing

YouTube - Haiti: Two Weeks After the Earthquake, Needs Are Changing: "In some locations, the needs for amputations are decreasing while needs for post-operative care are rising. MSF teams are diversifying activities to include mental health care"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A response to an emailer who said we should not help

Editorial Time: This is in response to an email I received today from a professor at our university who felt that volunteers are not needed in Haiti.

While I can thank you for taking time out of your busy day to share you your insight, I must respectfully disagree on much of it.

Yes the UN is paying people. And yes the Haitian people desperately need jobs, but after those points I must largely disagree.

After almost every disaster to which have responded there has been some agency (FEMA, MEMA etc) paying locals to "help." For instance, in Galveston the rate was $18 an hour, in Enterprise $14 etc. In all of these cases this rate was well over the [predisaster] market clearing rate. But the problem is that the survivors are often too stressed to help, and do not have the time since they have family issues and injuries to care for on top of their normal day to day living.

So while I do agree that they need jobs, I respectfully disagree on the need for volunteers as well. The already weak system is overloaded. We would not be replacing, but working with Haitians thus speeding the process. Instead of living in a refugee camp or in crowded conditions with family, we will be speeding up the process.We will be getting them into homes sooner.

Also I suggest that you do not give the volunteers enough credit when you call them unskilled. While they are not professionals, some of them are quite skilled and will definitely help getting Haitians back into homes, or indeed in some cases into homes for the first time.

My largest disagreement however comes to the idea that the trips are "feel good" trips. This exact argument was made prior to the big-post Katrina trip by another SBU professor. Namely that it could be most cost effective to pay for people down there. He was wrong then, and I believe you will be proved wrong after our trip as well.

There are several problems with your interpretation. First, it is a static analysis. It assumes that the volunteers would donate the same amount regardless of whether they go or not. This is unlikely the case. As any psychology, marketing, and even behavioral finance study shows that once you let someone have "equity", that is take ownership, their behaviors change.

Let me put numbers to this. In our analysis of this particular trip, because no SBU endorsement has been forthcoming, we have assumed that no BonaResponds money will be allowed to be used to to help subsidize the cost ( in the past we have tried to pay about 20% of the cost for students since they are in the worst position to pay). So let's assume zero subsidy and a cost (a conservative figure) for airfare and food of $500. I would like to ask you how many people (let alone students with very limited incomes) will give that much to help? Which is to say we have expanded the pool of available funds (dynamic vs static analysis).

Additionally, just to let you know, BonaResponds is not funded by the university. We do not even get money from SGA. So any donation you make to SBU would not be going to pay for any of our trips. Indeed Sr. Margaret is so careful about this that a few years ago when demand for a trip was so high that we needed additional transportation and had gone over our proposed budget, I asked for $1500 of Univ funding, we were turned down.....

I have always maintained when a trip does not make economic sense, we should not do it. After each trip we document how much value we add to the process. I am very confident that at the end of the trip we will again have positive value added. I might add that as a finance professor I am heartened that others are considering the economics of the trip as well as the economics of how others donate their time and money. It is an encouraging sign.

But before we give over importance to the economics, we can not ignore the non pecuniary benefits. I can give you many many many names of those we have helped and I will bet with almost no exception, economics will be the last thing they talk about. They will tell you they had lost hope, they had given up, they felt no one cared. It is the one absolute I have experienced after every trip we have done from Biloxi to Buffalo, Gowanda to Greenville, Newton County (MO) to New Orleans.

Volunteers being there is important. It shows the Haitians that people care. Our going gives them hope.

As much as the work that our volunteers perform, merely being there gives the survivors a shot in the arm. It was that way after every disaster we have been to. The people say they were ready to give up, that the world had forgotten them. I kid you not that was even stated in Buffalo only 2 days after the storm. We change that. It is the most important thing we do. More than building. More than taking down. More than cleaning up. We will give confidence and hope. Confidence and hope that would be lost forever if we wait. I do not want to turn this into a mushy soap box, but I would be very surprised that our going would not safe lives.

That said, I should remind you that we will likely be going just as US citizens. And that under no circumstance is anyone "sending us". We are being called to go. I invite you to come with us and see for yourself the difference a volunteer can make.



The Next Big Thing: help us feed 280,000 in Haiti?

For our next "Big thing" we want to feed 280,000 people in Haiti.

Stop and think about that. It is over a quarter of a million people or it is 70,000 (roughly the size of a crowd at Wilson Stadium for a Bills game) for four meals.

To feed that many people we need your help in several ways.

First monetarily. We need to raise $60,000 above and beyond what Friday's bootdrive raises. That is more than we have ever raised before. We can not do it alone. Just can not. Impossible alone, but do-able with your help.

Secondly, we will need volunteers to help put the meals together and to pack them for shipment. The tentative date for this is March 27th as part of our International Service Day.

We are going to model our program after one that sent the the same number to the slums in Kenya earlier this year from volunteers in Minnesota.

Their estimates are that we will need to raise $60,000 and need to get about 400-600 volunteers. I have no doubt we can do it. NONE. Indeed, I am tempted to say let's play two and serve a half million, but money is too tight to say that, YET ;)

Think of this as a chance to literally keep people alive. 280,000 meals. For people who have lost everything, this will be enormous. Indeed, it may be live saving.

Ok, now some details. We have not cleared this with anyone at SBU and the rules have been made very well known that they have to clear everything we do that involved money, so for now we will be running it through the Rangers (formerly Randy's Rangers) or Villa Maria or maybe even starting a new 501-3c. (yeah don't ask)

That said, whoever "we" are, we'd love your help. Your school, your church, your team, your work place. We will need MUCH help in raising this much money. Want to get involved? Email us at

Hands On Disaster Response

Hands On Disaster Response:
"We are focused on specific areas of need we could address with our volunteers, and finding an area where we could be productive and secure.

The damage is massive; entire areas of homes destroyed. There will not be an opportunity for general volunteers, for us or any other organization, for weeks to come."

Monday, January 25, 2010

American Academy of Pediatrics Disaster Preparations Text

Talk about a treasure of information.! From Eric (who was with Pat in Haiti last week THANKS!

"The American Academy of Pediatrics had prepared a course and textbook on disaster preparation for pediatrics. In light of the disaster in Haiti, they have made the book available online by PDF. In the next phase there will be many infectious and diarrheal illnesses. The book has a good summary of diagnoses and treatment of these diseases. Please feel free to forward to any groups that are headed down or in Haiti. It is available in PDF format."

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

If you are planning of going to Haiti to help

if you are from the Olean area and plan on going to Haiti, a group of us (remember this is not yet a BonaResponds trip) are arranging a common time for Vaccines. Please contact Emily Deragon (deragoes at or Mike Grasso (GROSSOMV at for more info.

Here is a list of what shots etc we will need from the CDC.

Mark Danner To Heal Haiti, Look to History, Not Nature


Mark Danner To Heal Haiti, Look to History, Not Nature:
"...there is nothing mystical in Haiti’s pain, no inescapable curse that haunts the land. From independence and before, Haiti’s harms have been caused by men, not demons. Act of nature that it was, the earthquake last week was able to kill so many because of the corruption and weakness of the Haitian state, a state built for predation and plunder. Recovery can come only with vital, even heroic, outside help; but such help, no matter how inspiring the generosity it embodies, will do little to restore Haiti unless it addresses, as countless prior interventions built on transports of sympathy have not, the manmade causes that lie beneath the Haitian malady."

UPS encourages workers to help in crises like Haiti quake -

UPS encourages workers to help in crises like Haiti quake -
"When UPS executive Craig Arnold returned to the Salvation Army children's home in Haiti after the devastating earthquake, one of the little girls there offered him her bottle of water....

"Whenever a crisis occurs, logistics is the first thing that needs addressing," says Ed Martinez, director of philanthropy and corporate relations for the UPS Foundation in Atlanta.

UPS says it urges its employees to volunteer during natural disasters and other crises"

History shows obstacles can block Haiti's recovery -

History shows obstacles can block Haiti's recovery -
"'Haiti was such a poor country to start with. To have this on top of all that is devastating,' Jonathan Reckford, CEO for Habitat for Humanity, said in a phone interview Wednesday from Port-au-Prince. 'The world needs to rally for Haiti.'

To try to accomplish that, the World Economic Forum says it will use its Jan. 27-31 annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, to launch a global effort to integrate business into rebuilding Haiti."

TV News Desks Prepare to Wind Down Haiti Coverage -

TV News Desks Prepare to Wind Down Haiti Coverage -
"“People are just going to lose interest in this as a story. They’re going to stop watching."


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Couple of quick updates on groups from WNY

Tonight is the priemer of the Buffalo Extreme Homemakover....congrats to Villa Volunteers and WNY Americorps who did such a great job on it!!

Also a Big GREAT JOB! to CYC who will be having a press conference in Dayton Ohio tomorrow to announce their new job:

"Ronnie and Donnie Galyon are two very special individuals. When they were born, doctors gave them only a few months to live. That is because the Galyon twins were born conjoined from the sternum through the abdomen, unable to be separated. Now, 58 years later, their entire life has revolved around accommodating one another. Whether to stand or to sit, to walk or to sleep, the boys permanently face each other, and must work together in every aspect of their lives. Up until recently, they have become fairly independent. In fact, for many years, the boys provided for their family by traveling across the Americas with a carnival. But since they retired, their health and physical wellness has declined to such a degree that it is too difficult for them to safely remain in their own private home. "

From what I hear Good Morning America and The Ellen Degeneres show have already contacted them.

From my Facebook wall: on Haiti

I tweeted earlier the important reminder that there is still a chance that a trip to Haiti will not be approved by the University. What this means to the actual volunteer is not very much.

In response to that tweet, James Kane wrote on my Facebook wall asking for clarification. The response was important enough that I want to include it here.

"It is not that they are against us helping, but more than likely it is just a mix of caution, fear, and normal bureaucracy. I am optimistic that in the end we will get approval, but I am very very very confident that some of us will be going to help.

I know we can help. To me that means we means we have a responsibility to help. We must help.

As we spoke on the phone the other day, there are risks, but there are risks in every job we do. Tearing down houses, cutting down trees, and putting up roofs can be dangerous. Working in the bad areas of New Orleans, Buffalo, Greenville, or even Olean comes with risk.

Risks mean we must be careful. We will be careful. You know that. Indeed you were in New Orleans right after Katrina.

I am not even saying the University will not approve our trip right now, they may. I am saying that as of yet, we do not have approval and rather than to say BonaResponds is taking a trip, or even you are traveling with BonaResponds, just remember that you and I may be traveling to Haiti to help as individuals working with some other organization.

Which is fine, to the real volunteer (which I trust all that have worked with BonaResponds are), it does not matter the organization who gets the credit, what matters is that the work gets done and the victims are helped. That will happen. We will do that. And whether we call ourselves BonaResponds, HODR, or James' Compassion Crew is immaterial. Helping the earthquake survivors is all that matters in the end. And that will happen."

Press release from the Denver Childrens Hospital Haitan Relief team

Without any edit:

"January 23, 2010 (DENVER) - Four physicians and two emergency medicine nurses from The Children's Hospital who volunteered their time to help with medical relief efforts in Haiti arrived home today. They were among a group of eleven medical personnel from Colorado who spent nearly a week providing medical assistance in Port-au-Prince.

The team arrived home in Denver today and would like to issue the following statement:

We are happy to be home. It has been a privilege to serve.

We will be forever bonded with this team and our friends in Haiti. We have a tremendous amount of love and respect for the people we helped.

We drove all over Port-au-Prince and walked in tent cities. The destruction and personal stories of tragedy are overwhelming, but we did not see widespread violence or massive riots. We saw, over and over again, the tremendous spirit of the Haitian people. They helped each other and they watched out for us.

They have endured unbelievable things, yet we heard laughter and singing. We don't need to generate hope for Haiti; they already have hope.

We need to continue to provide them help in order to make their hope a reality. Please don't forget about Haiti six months from now, or a year from now. The spotlight will go away, but these beautiful people will continue to endure. Thank you.


Jennifer Bruny, MD, The Children's Hospital, The University of Colorado
Betsy Folkerth, Physical Therapist, Body Fusion, Gunnison Colorado

Pat Mahar, MD, The Children's Hospital, The University of Colorado
Emily Muggli, RN, The Children's Hospital
Eric Tham, MD, The Children's Hospital, The University of Colorado
Misty Vivian, RN, The Children's Hospital
Sam Wang, MD, The Children's Hospital, The University of Colorado

Greg Winslow, EMT, Crested Butte Fire Department (retired)

Mark Winslow, DO, Rocky Mountain Osteopathic Medicine

Kathlene Mondanaro, RN,PhD, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Boyd Loehr, RN, Flight for Life Colorado

To learn more about their week in Haiti, visit their blog:"

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Missionaries find inspiration in Haiti |

Missionaries find inspiration in Haiti |
"4 hour days were the norm. The group was miles away from the most devastated area, Port Au Prince.

'I think the biggest problem was getting the people across the border. They're getting there by bus, ambulance and by helicopters,' he explained. 'We were involved with people from all over the world. But they were doing about 30 amputations a day. We had multiple fractures and all types od trauma.'

From what these missionaries report, there are enough doctors.

However, there's a shortage of nurses. There's frustration they can't do more.

They also found inspiration in the devastation"

Haiti: Going Beyond Emergency Care (1/23/10) | Doctors Without Borders

While they say there is no decrease in demand for medical services, this is more evidence of what Pat said as well as HODR's Jeremy Joslin both have said: the mix has changed and now doctors can work on follow-ups and other issues, and less of life saving emergency surgeries.

Haiti: Going Beyond Emergency Care (1/23/10) | Doctors Without Borders:

"In the immediate aftermath of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) focused on emergency surgery and life-saving interventions. Now, though, some MSF teams are seeing more patients who need care for pre-existing conditions and for infections or complications affecting wounds they couldn’t get treated properly. This is not to say that the overall need for medical services is declining. Quite the opposite, in fact. There are now large numbers of Haitians who need post-operative care. And despite the tremendous damage done to Haiti’s already limited health infrastructure, there is still the same demand for treatment of chronic conditions, obstetric services, and primary health care that existed before the earthquake."

Assorted Haitian Topics

First Pat and the Denver Crew are back in the USA. We will have an interview with him soon (I hope).

Update on Security:

“The security situation here in Haiti remains relatively calm,” Army Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn, the second in command of U.S. operations in Haiti, told Pentagon reporters today. “Distribution points remain orderly throughout our humanitarian assistance efforts, and feedback from the people of Haiti has been positive.”...Allyn today emphasized the ongoing potential for violence.

....Such instability sometimes is caused by people who need food, water or other life-sustaining support, Allyn said, and some instability is created by criminal activity. Haitian prisons collapsed in the earthquake, he noted, allowing inmates back into the populace.

The general cited progress among the decimated ranks of Haitian police, which was reduced to a 500-strong force in the quake’s immediate aftermath, but has since quadrupled, with 2,000 police reporting for duty last night."

and finally the bad news

"The death toll from Haiti's January 12th earthquake has now been confirmed by government officials to be over 111,000.

This as the Haitian government terminates the search for survivors.

A further 193,000 are confirmed wounded, and well over 600,000 have been forced into temporary shelters."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pat Update--Success on a helipcopter and they are "done" early

Time for your daily update from Haiti. It has been a day of interesting events. I'll start by saying we are all fine and felling good about how much we have accomplished.

We are closing out our time here in Haiti as it looks like we might be on a flight tomorrow thanks once again to Mission Flights International. We has planned on a flight on either Sat or Sunday but they said our best bet for getting on a flight was to go on Friday so that's what our plan is. That will get us to Miami and then it is anyone's guess when we will make it back.

Our team had some great success this week even though at times it has felt like there so much to do and that we could not even put a dent into a problem this big. One of the biggest things we did is showed the people of Haiti that there are people from everywhere that care for them. While walking through the poorest of the poor tent cities we were able to show them that they are not forgotten and hopefully that was in some way comforting to them.

While each person in our team at Matthew 25 has their own success story I would think this afternoon/evening will be the story I most take away from this trip. For the past three days we have had a 18 year old girl who was injured in the earthquake under our care at the Matthew 25 field hospital. In the chaos of the first days after the quake the extent of her injuries were not recognized and thus treated appropriately. When she arrived to us it was apparent that she had a serious injury with what I suspected was a baislar skull fracture with CSF leaking out her ear and multiple facial bone fractures. We knew the dirt soccer pitch was not the place for her. With no immediately available mode of transport we started her in IV antibiotics and planned on transferring her to a better equipped hospital in the morning. Well on the next afternoon we made our first attempt to get her to S.H. Hospital in town b/c we were told they had neurosurgery capabilities. After driving her across town we arrived to a front yard of hospital full of patients and families and immediately were turned away due to the fact they did not have any imaging ability and had no neurosurgeon.

We were told that we could leave her out front and "maybe things would change". At this point she pulled on my hand and said in English "I want my life". At that point we knew there was no way we were leaving her. We knew that she would simply be another waiting patient without anyone working on her behalf if we left her, thus we decided to bring her back to Matthew 25 field hospital where she would once again be sleeping on soccer field but she would continue to get IV antibiotics and we could continue to try to find her the appropriate place to be. The next morning we started again asking around for which hospitals had neurosurgery capabilities and were told maybe the French or Israeli hospitals.

So it was back in to the truck and through the most bumpy and dusty roads I have ever been on (think African dirt roads and make them more crowded and with the occasional building collapsed in to them). Well once again both facilities refused to accept her b/c they said there was nothing they could do for her and once more it was back to Matthew 25 field hospital.

Then when a friend of Dr. Toth and Barb Burk (both from Atlanta) arrived at Matthew 25 for a visit, we started talking about the difficulties we were having with finding her a place that would care for her, they asked how they could help. We knew what she needed was all available on the USS Comfort floating hospital but that we had no way to get her in the ship or even get word to the ship. Well they replied that they had a truck so they were willing to help us try. So we once more told her we had to load her up into truck and try she said "you keep saying that but we just keep coming back here".

We made our way to UN hospital which was actually Miami University and we quickly get out of truck and start asking around for help. Well everyone we talk to says that they feel for us but first off they are in midst of being moved to another location b/c the UN has decided they needed more space and b/c they were getting overcrowded. We were also told once more that they did not have neurosurgery but to take her to the French or Israeli hospitals.

At this point we are trying to get anyone that might help. We are frantically emailing and text people looking for anyone with connections to the media that maybe able to help. Messages go out in tweeter and Facebook along with a CNN iReport is posted in We are lucky enough to get a Dr. Josh (pediatric orthopedic surgeon from Columbia University) to join or texting search. He was able to track down a reporter from CBS who was able to get in touch with USS Comfort. Next thing I know they are asking for landing coordinates to bring us a Blackhawk helicopter.

As part we frantically run down UN compound looking for anyone who can help we meet a truck of UN peace keepers from Chili and we jump in back of their pickup and they drive two of us to UN headquarters where we are able to track down the coordinates and send them along out texting chain to the USS Comfort. We are told to get patient to UN runway ramp. We load patient back into truck (this time stealing a cot from Miami University) and get her to runway. We are in contact with UN person controlling landing space who continues to day he can land a helicopter here but he has not heard anything yet about a helicopter coming. We assured him we have been told that they are leaving the ship now as we continue to get text updates. It is now dusk and he warns us that they have no landing lights so this has to happen now if it is going to happen at all. While we are waiting patient tells us that her cousin is with her b/c they have lost everyone else in the earthquake. I don't think there is a dry eye amongst the team members with her. At this point we hear and see the blackhawk coming and when it lands we carry her out on to the runway on the cot where the Navy flight team meets us and package her up and fly her and her cousin off to the hospital ship. (see attached picture). From what we have been told, NPR picked up this story and ran it nationally.

Anyhow this is just one of the successes we were able to have. As we sat down and were finishing our last dinner with our host at Matthew 25 House the meal was interrupted by a non-earthquake related penile injury so our surgeons did one last dining room table surgery.

Lastnight we had a team Powwow and sort of talked about how we all have feelings of anger about how unfair it is that these people who have had such a difficult time surviving prior to earthquake now had even less. We were all impressed with the acts of kindness we have witnessed from the Haitian people and how this was so much different than the picture the media has been painting with riots.

Anyhow I can not type anymore. So this will be it

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haiti to resettle 400,000 quake victims to camps - Yahoo! News

Haiti to resettle 400,000 quake victims to camps - Yahoo! News:
"Within days, the government will move 400,000 people made homeless by Haiti's epic earthquake from their squalid improvised camps throughout the shattered capital to new resettlement areas on the outskirts,"


Today Pat and Eric had a major success when they arranged a helicopter to medivac an injured woman with a skull fracture. Pat sent the following picture.

Coverage of SBU's response to Haiti also from the BV

SBU to lend a helping hand by Mike Vitron

""Right now, all volunteer agencies are having a very tough time getting into the country,...There's logjams to get into the country; it's an island country. You can't swim, so getting there is an issue. And then once we are there, having a place to stay is another issue. Finding work won't be a problem.

"Safety is the overriding concern. There are some significant health issues going on. There is a whole list … from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) that if anybody wants to go, there is a laundry list of shots people will need. I think that will probably keep (participation) down....An awful lot of people do want to go. I don't know for sure how many we will be taking, and I would not rule out multiple trips."

Read more here:

Coverage of the Atlanta/Greenville Trip

From tomorrow's BV by Elizabeth Grady

"Twenty-one students made the trip south to help rebuild the orphanage, which burned down in 2007. The students stayed from Jan. 5 to 13 and worked on tasks including installing piping and hanging ceilings.

Steve Gearhart, a senior physics major, was responsible for the organization of the trip, Jim Mahar, coordinator of BonaResponds and associate professor of finance, said.

According to Ally Kotz, a sophomore elementary special education major, the goal was much broader than just rebuilding.

"The main goal of this trip was to help as many people as we could," Kotz said"

Update from Charlotte on International Service Day

When we started planning Charlotte said they would be the biggest and they are well on their way! Mark Evers is doing a great job as the point person down there. Here is part of an email from him I just got:
"We have done a lot of work and I think we're in pretty good shape. We have hooked up with the Charlotte Parks and Rec. They have 4 different area parks where we will be doing a lot of clean up and landscaping. We are in the process of setting up breakfast and a small reception after. It's looking more like 100 than the 75 I initially thought."

Remember here is the International Service Day Page.

Don't know what the day is? Here you go:

"The basic idea of the day is that when everyone does a little, a lot gets done and that we all have the ability to help in some small way. It is a great excuse for alumni to get together, for friends or companies to help, and spend time with each other. But it is equally good if you want to work alone.

Call up a local charity and ask them if they need help, volunteer at your church, your neighborhood school, soup kitchen, or even just help a neighbor. There are hundreds of people who need a helping hand in your community. For one day at least, be that helping hand.

We are going to try to get various countries and cities involved. Have a group in Western China, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Belize, we will have Haiti), plus about 20-25 US cities so far. We working on several others including Chile, Indonesia, Syria, Zambia, and even (long shot) Afghanistan.

Imagine tracking Santa. In a way that is the mental image I sometimes have of this. We will be tracking good deeds around the world. As Indonesia quits work, Ethiopia will pick up, as Ethiopia quits, another country will come online. For one day at least it will show how everyone is connected and that we all can contribute no matter where we are, or no matter who we are. "

Late night update from Pat--good news!

"...things are getting a bit better everyday as communication btw different field hospitals and hospitals that can provide a higher level of care have improved and it is getting easier to get supplies. When we first arrived here we were completely dependent on the few supplies that were brought by the first team to arrive here from Atlanta (Jim Barb and Mark) and what we brought from Denver. we actually were able to send one of our team members (Boyd) to WHO supply depot to get us a truck load of supplies. Then this evening someone from Save the Children charity came to us and asked what medicines and supplies we needed and said the would return tomorrow with them. This will be great as we would not need to tie up a vehicle and people to go get the supplies.

Since we have been able to get our field hospital under control we have decided to breakout into two teams with one staying at home base and the other going to the areas not receiving any significant care. We decided what we can easily care for by mobile team (simple wounds and splints) vs what needs to be transported back to our field hospital to either get treated or sent to higher level of care.

Thanks to everyone wanting to donate money and help cover our cost. I will email when I get back how to make sure it goes to right people and is tied to our team.

Getting late so I have attached few pictures.

I will end by saying everyday I am absolutely amazed by our team not only are we working well together and still finding ways to have fun, but also never in my life have I met a louder group of snorers. It is amazing and tonight my tentmate (Sam) has decided to join in.

Good night. Going for AM jog with one of the people from Atlanta as a mental health time at 5:30.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Update from Pat--Wednesday Evening

From Pat:
"Hello all. Time for your daily update. First off we are all well. We are tired.... At times overwhelmed at times and still in good spirits.

We finding new areas that have not received any real medical care. These areas are true shanty tent cities with nothing. People are drinking and urinating in same water that is full of garbage. There is going to be a real infection problem and this will lead to even more deaths. This country still needs lots of long-term help.

Now on to our team. The earthquake this morning was a new experience and a interesting way to wake up. I will once again stress to everyone that we are sleeping outside in tents and no buildings that could come down on us.

The reaction of the locals in the tent city that is growing in the soccer field that is also our field hospital.... I'll draw out our set up when we get back. We were joined by three physicians from Atlanta. Hopefully they will be staying for a while after we leave.

Supplies are coming in much easier. Communications btw all the different field hospitals and the different country's higher level of care.

While there are many Americans here, we have yet to see/meet/hear about any Americans were brought in by government or military. Of course they have military with guns surrounding the hospital.

We continue to have unbelievably bad wound infections and lots of orthopedic issues.

I left compound today to take basaliar skull fracture across city of Port-au-Prince and this was a real adventure to see the destruction.

Sorry I am really tired and do not have energy for more typing on blackberry device"

Next Friday's fundraiser

This is from Todd Palmer who is the coordinator of SIFE at SBU and the main organizer of the fundraiser:

"...that there will be a boot drive in the Olean area next Friday January 29, 2010. The last time SIFE co-sponsored a boot drive it was in response to Hurricane Katrina in which $45,000 was raised.

The Haiti boot drive, which is also sponsored by BonaResponds and the Center for Social Engagement, will be held in cooperation with local fire departments. We will also be working with local area high schools and elementary schools to set up an area wide fundraiser to be conducted on the same day."

We will need many volunteers that day. And with classes going on, it will likely mean many short shifts. Stay tuned for more details

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Some improvement in bottlenecks

from CNN: Alternative Supply Routes

"The United States and Canada stepped up efforts to open other aid routes Wednesday after a leading relief agency complained that air traffic congestion in Port-au-Prince was costing lives on the ground.

Doctors Without Borders has blamed five deaths on the delays, telling reporters that flights carrying drugs, surgical supplies and dialysis machines have been diverted from Port-au-Prince to the neighboring Dominican Republic three times since Sunday."
and later:
"And Canadian troops are working to open up an airfield in the southern city of Jacmel by Thursday, Canadian Defense Minster Peter Mackay said.

"This achievement is crucial, as it will allow the Canadian forces access to a viable landing strip 24 hours a day, making it easier to ensure a continuous flow of aid supplies and equipment," Mackay announced in a statement from Ottawa."

Short afternoon update from Pat

" Haiti we are all safe no further aftershocks/earthquakes. Went in to
shanty tent city today.

Very poor and dirty with people using the same water for drinking and
bathroom. A complete infectious night will soon start up as everyone will have
dysentery and dehydration

Well back to seeing patients. Very tired this afternoon. "

Here are some pictures from the Denver Children Hopsital blog

Medical Personnel from The Children's Hospital (Denver) Volunteer to Help in Haiti

The DenverChildren's Hospital Blog has been updated:

Medical Personnel from The Children's Hospital (Denver) Volunteer to Help in Haiti:
"We are over-reaching our capabilities in a soccer field and on the dining room table. There are crippling injuries everywhere. Open fractures, horrible wounds. There are arrangements for a follow-up team for us. My hope is all these wounds can get follow-up care."

Update: 6.1 aftershock

6:26 AM Heard from Pat. They are all fine. Haiti was hit with an aftershock (the first one of any note since the crew's arrival). It woke them all but they, and the vast majority of Haitians, are sleeping outside due to the questionable condition of the buildings.

Previous recent update (From Eric Tham who is in the same Denver Children's Hospital group:

"We had a really sick baby transferred to us from [the] Cubans. We had no airways stuff [so] we took it to the Israeli compound. Those guys have [a] micro lab and ventilators available. The IDF team was amazing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Afternoon update from Pat

"We are still holding our own against the number of the patients. Mainly seeing orthopedic and infected wounds. Need more Splinting supplies and there is a big need for crutches and walkers for the injured and those with amputations.

A group from Democracy Now media outlet has been with us and been filming and reporting back to USA. (sort of NPR like). Anyhow they are talking about doing story about how well the grass roots groups are doing vs the government support ones. An example is how we came ready with sedation meds (thanks for the ketamine Lara) and the correct equipment to do amputations while other places are doing civil war period medicine.

Some side stories and comments. Most people are still living in tents out of concern for their home/buildings that are still standing out of fear structural issues. That is also the issue with our building so we are sleeping in yard.

We have dug new pit toilets for the people in the area as we want everyone to poop in same area as we are starting to some diarrhea so we put toilets away from things in hopes of stopping spread. One of the people from Atlanta here has all the kids singing songs about pooping and peeing in the right place and washing their hands. They really bought in to it and it lead to dancing and laughing by everyone. We have also started to hear that there are hospitals getting supplies and orthopedic surgeons so we have transferred a few out. "

Medical Personnel from The Children's Hospital (Denver) Volunteer to Help in Haiti

From Jennifer Bruny a Doctor working in Haiti. (the "Patrick" she refers to is Pat).

Medical Personnel from The Children's Hospital (Denver) Volunteer to Help in Haiti:
"Patrick also quickly found 2 patients who needed surgery. One 26 year old man had a very deep stab wound in his shoulder due to fighting over food. By surgery, we mean what we can do on the dining room table. The innovation of the day would be figuring out how to have suction. Take the hand pump mechanism out of a Purell bottle, stick the bottom in the wound and pump like mad."
and later:
"The toughest thing to hear today was news from the epicenter of the quake. We met a news crew from Democracy Now tonight who just returned from there. I believe it is about 15 miles from here, but took more than an hour of travel. NO ONE is there! There are absolutely no rescue teams. The UN says they are waiting for security before going."

For more, click through to the DenverChildrenshelpshaiti blog

Haiti - distribution of relief goods

Haiti - distribution of relief goods
Originally uploaded by IFRC.
As food supplies show up, people rush to them. Pat mentioned this in his email and here is more evidence from a Red Cross Picture. Look at how many people.

We are working on ways you can help send food. Stay tuned.

In the mean time, please donate. Here is a list of ways to donate via CNN.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Morning rounds from Pat

At 9:13 AM Tues Jan 19, 2010

Hello. Starting day two. Peaceful night. We have house with bathroom and shower. Total luxury and so much better than expected.

Working with some amazing people who have done a great job estiblishing this as field hospital. Now that it is known we are here the people are really coming.

Amputation patient from last night doing well. Our three sickest patients made it through the night. Have young girl with bounding pulses fever who was buried for almost two days. Mental status is fine and now eating. In abx and IVF. Hopefully turning corner.

Gas is $15/gallon. Water is clean where we are. Here is a picture of our field hospital.

Again thanks for all the support. "

Update on Coordinated Rapid Reponse to Earthquake in Haiti | Konbit Pou Ayiti

Map of Haiti with Port-au-Prince shownImage via Wikipedia

Update on Coordinated Rapid Reponse to Earthquake in Haiti | Konbit Pou Ayiti: While the press has focused almost exclusively on Port au Prince, the surrounding area was also hit. Southwest of Port au Prince is the city of Jacmel. It is now reported to be unreachable by land.
"Out today from the UN in Jacmel these are some details of the damage
in Jacmel, which is a city of 34,000:

· 1,785 homes completely destroyed
· 4410 homes partially destroyed
· 87 commercial businesses destroyed
· 54 schools destroyed
· 24 hotels destroyed
· 26 churches destroyed
· 5730 families displaced
· Death count approaching 3,000, nearly 10% of the population
(Reported by Gwenn Mangine,"
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Video of field hospital

Nice to see volunteers making a difference. Most upbeat thing I have seen in a few days.


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pat's update:surgery on the Dining room table

Getting messages more often than expected so far. He is doing surgery on a dining room table.

"We have arrived in Haiti. Airport has heavy military presence and then out into chaos. We have brought over 1000 lbs of medical supplies that was over our weight allowance thus we had to cover that out of pocket ($2500). (if anyone knows rich people looking to spend money let me know). Our first plane was donated with crew from Hendricks racing team who I guess is the biggest/best nascar team. It is their personal plane.

At the airport we added a retired NYC police officer to our team for security and loading/unloading help.

The level of destruction is beyond belief. Not seeing the dead bodies in street that are being reported in news. Have jumped right in; starting 2nd surgery now in dinning room table. We have pain meds and sedatives so not like all the stories on TV. Goal for day is to set up our medical station and get some of our supplies to the physicians who have been here. Hoping to organize better tomorrow.
Update Jan 18, 10:32 PM

"Hello. Thanks for the emails and support....

This evening a truck of food bags arrived from DR. This has lead to a massive influx of people right outside our compound. We feel safe.

Sister Mary who runs this clinic made soup for us, so we did have dinner. Getting ready for bed.

More later.

How amazing is technology that I can so easily stay in touch. Pretty amazing."

Update 12:35 AM January 19

Pat met Sr. Mary, the nun they are staying with. Lo and behold she's from Buffalo! Taught at D'yuoville College. She knows of SBU and BonaResponds.

They talked Sabres, Bills, and she wants to know more about BonaResponds and will be thinking of how/when we can help.

The "Sister Mary" that Pat speaks of is, to the best of my knowledge, Sr. Mary Finnick. She is profiled in this Catholic News Service Piece. The place they are staying is the Matthew 25 House.

"Matthew 25 House, located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is a house of hospitality established in September, 2005 by The Parish Twinning Program of the Americas (PTPA). It is located in the home previously known as Visitation House and is located in the Delmas 33 area of Port-au-Prince.

The purpose of Matthew 25 House is to provide warm hospitality, comfort and assistance to visiting North Americans involved in the PTPA or other missionary and humanitarian organizations"

Here is an CNN i-report from just before the Denver team got there. It basically says they are helping many people and need supplies and money.

Here is a map of the area. It is near the center of the previous map. It is near St. Louis de Gonzague Secondare School.

Meeting this Friday.

BonaResponds Spring 2010 meeting Friday 12:30
The following was just sent to the Notice-Board.

Spring 2010 promises to be the biggest BonaResponds Semester ever. Yes you read that correctly. Bigger than after Katrina. Bigger than last semester when we worked for so long after Gowanda. We have many events planned and need your help!

We will be having our first ever International Service Day, fundraisers for Haiti, possible trips to Haiti, a spring break trip, many local events, and a three day spring service weekend. And of course local events helping the community after fires, snow storms, and the like.

With so many things going on it is important to get involved from the start.

Come attend our first meeting of the spring semester at 12:30 on Friday (January 22) in Murphy 105.

Maps of Haitian Destruction

This Google map was created by the Miami Herald. It is the best map I have found of the destruction. Click on the blue "tacks" to see more info on the area.

View The aftermath of a disaster in a larger map

Here is a New York Times map showing things in a slightly different manner.

Video - Breaking News Videos from

wow. Sad.

Video - Breaking News Videos from "CNN's Elizabeth Cohen visits a Haiti hospital where patients are desperate for better medical care"

Open letter on March 27th International Service Day

I just sent the following to many of our leaders as well as leaders of St. Bonaventure and friends. I want it to get widest possible distribution, so please let others know as well! thanks!!!

Hi "everyone"....

I am writing you to let you know of the BonaResponds International Service Day of March 27th and to ask your help in spreading the word since many of you have great contacts both domestically and internationally.

The International Service Day started as our annual work day in Buffalo with Villa Maria and then a day in Chicago with a group of BonaResponds alum was added. Well one thing has led to another and the whole day has sort of taken off! We now have about 25 cities in the US and sites in several other countries around the globe. Which is not a bad start for the first one (this will become an annual event), but it is still very early and we can get many more people involved with your help.

First the website:

The basic idea of the day is that when everyone does a little, a lot gets done and that we all have the ability to help in some small way. (ironically this was much like Fr Alan's sermon of Sunday night...we should have him recorded for the website!) It is a great excuse for alumni to get together, for friends or companies to help, and

We are going to try to get various countries and cities involved. Have a group in Western China, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Belize, we will have Haiti), plus about 20-25 US cities so far (still need Rochester which is seemingly a tough one. Alumni there are not very organized and we have never worked there. So it is a definite "help!"

We working on several others including Chile, Indonesia, Syria, Zambia, and even (long shot) Afghanistan.

Imagine tracking Santa. In a way that is the mental image I sometimes have of this. We will be tracking good deeds around the world. As Indonesia quits work, Ethiopia will pick up, as Ethiopia quits, another country will come online. For one day at least it will show how everyone is connected and that we all can contribute no matter where we are, or no matter who we are.

It need not be big nor hard. The work people can do can be as small as helping a neighbor shop or walking dogs at the Humane Society. At the other end of the spectrum, we expect over 100 at a couple of sites (Buffalo and Charlotte).

After the work is done, we are asking people to share their day (via toll free phone, email, pictures, videos, etc...this will serve sort of as a "reflection" which , with the video will make, will bring it all together to show that together much good work can get done.

It is important to know that volunteers need not have any tie to SBU or the US or anything else ...While in Atlanta several Methodist churches picked up the idea and will be participating. In China, a University with almost no ties to SBU will be working. ..all we ask is that they go and do good work.

I think it is going to be VERY VERY cool...and will only grow in time.

But for now I am asking you to get involved.

1. Share this (or any variation of it) with people you know, especially internationally.
2. Save the date
3. Remember the website:

thanks in advance! I REALLY think this is going to be HUGE and help thousands of people.


I would also encourage you to follow BonaResponds on twitter for updates on this and all of our other activities.

Jim Mahar

Updates from Pat and Eric

These are coming through Pat Mahar and Eric Than who are traveling to Haiti in the same group from teh Denver Children's Hospital.

They should be there by now. Got a text message at 8:34 Eastern saying they were on board and had to turn off phones.

1. It seems they flew in a NASCAR plane--donated by Hendrick Racing through Missionary Flights.

2. They have a retired NYPD officer for additional security.

3. They have over 1500 pounds of medical supplies.
will update more when I hear anything.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Food For The Poor--one of the groups that SBU is working with

Food For The Poor:
"Food For The Poor, the largest international charity in the United States, will send 189 tons of goods in this shipment. The charity already had sent 100 containers of rice, canned food and medical supplies to Haiti -- most of which is already in place in Port-au-Prince and ready to be distributed. With the port there damaged and the need growing, Food For The Poor executives are expediting shipment of aid to accelerate relief activities.

“It is critical that we get this relief as soon as possible into the hands of the Haitian people and to the people who are trying to help them,” said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. “We are hearing today that orthopedic supplies are particularly needed for the trauma patients that medical staff and volunteers are treating. They are seeing terrible wounds.”"

YouTube - Haiti aid trickles in as violence hits streets

YouTube - Haiti aid trickles in as violence hits streets:
"Haiti aid is trickling in after the earthquake, but violence among desperate survivors hits the street."

Update from Pat

From Pat on his way to Haiti

"...just secured flight in AM through Mission Flights International. All done for free. If looking for way or place to donate they are a suggestion. I will continue try to tell you guys what is working and what is not.

I guess NBC showed clips from the area where we will be at on news tonight: they were speaking with the Belgian physicians we are joining.

Here is link to the blog which we hope to update tonight.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Guidance for Relief Workers and Others Traveling to Haiti for Earthquake Response | CDC Travelers' Health

Guidance for Relief Workers and Others Traveling to Haiti for Earthquake Response | CDC Travelers' Health:
"This notice is to advise relief workers and other personnel traveling to Haiti to assist with the humanitarian response following the January 12th earthquake near Port-au-Prince. Conditions in the area remain hazardous, including extensive damage to buildings, roads, and other infrastructure.
Before You Depart for Haiti
Recommended Vaccines

A number of vaccines are recommended for travelers to Haiti. See your doctor before you travel to make sure you have had all necessary vaccines....

Click through for the list. It is extensive and important. Going to Haiti is no laughing matter. Please take care of yourself so you can take care of others.
If anyone ever asks why bother, this is my answer. They seemingly have found 60 (SIXTY) people alive in a collapsed grocery store.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Pat on the way to Haiti

Map of Haiti with Port-au-Prince shownImage via Wikipedia

Pat Mahar is going to Haiti as part of a relief mission from the Denver Childrens Hospital. He is an emergency room pediatrician and will be working in a hospital unit set up in a tent on a soccer field.

From | Denver | Colorado's Online News Leader | Local medical workers prepare for Haiti:
"They are taking supplies donated by Children's Hospital.

Volunteers spent Friday night taking inventory and loading up supplies.

They say that despite all of the news coverage, there are still a lot of unknowns."

In addition to this work, he will be scouting out ways that BonaResponds can help in Haiti.

Update (7:30 PM Jan 16). Spoke with Pat. He was just heading to a meeting to go over last minute details of the trip. Someone donated a satellite phone but it is for emergencies only.

They are trying to take as much food as possible: powerbars, peanut butter, and anything else they can. Also old tents as they are asked to leave them there for future volunteers and local residents.

Medically they are taking as many medical supplies as they can. Including anesthesia (currently there are reports of amputations being done w/ nothing more than local anesthesia).

There will be a blog on the Denver Children's Hospital Website that will be updated as often as possible. Also if anyone at Verizon is reading this, several of them would like to convert their phones to international, but it says they must speak with someone at Verizon and no one is working now. If you can make that happen, it would be greatly appreciated!

He also said thank you for all the well wishes and prayers.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]