Here is the latest update from Rotarian Past District Governor Dick McCombe, sent to me by my sister Rotarian Erva Denham of Rotary Club Saint-Thomas II. It is long and will be in three parts. As always, I hope you will take the time to read these eye-witness accounts of what is happening in Haiti, the progress being made, and the horrendous amount of work that still needs to be done. The rebuilding of Haiti will take a long, long time.
A bitter sweet day in 3 parts
Warehousing and supplies
We had a very exciting and productive day yesterday in Port au Prince. Although it was painfully real it also gave me a better sense of our direction going forward and a comfort that we were in Sync with the Rotarians in Haiti and the Government of Haiti.
I had arranged a meeting with the Prime Minister of Haiti to discuss numerous issues but mainly to understand if Rotary, and specifically our District 7020 was approaching our relief and recovery initiatives with the right priorities in the mind of the Haitien Government. I asked PRID Barry to go with me for wisdom and support and The Haitien Ambassador to the Bahamas as he has been very helpful and supportive to us.
Once again Odyssey, and Saga Boy Holdings provided the Caravan and their team of Captians, Paul Aranah and Paul Pyfrom took command of getting us to Port au Prince and back. We were wheels up at 5:00 AM and landed back in Nassau shortly before 7:00 PM, with on the ground time of approximately 6 hours.
As usual the Haiti on the ground team was extraordinary. Claude and his team met us at the airport and took us across the road to their warehousing centre. That in itself was an instant education. They are working from a yard and a couple of 40' containers as their distribution point. The reason the distribution had been stopped a couple of days back was because the perimeter wall had fallen down and all the people from the shelter camps that surround the area could not be controlled. The wall has since been rebuilt and they were distributing supplies when we arrived.
The two containers of supplies from St. Maarten have arrived and been distributed along with on additional one from the US, There are two there right now from the DR District 4060 which have been mostly emptied. They message is clear. We need to get them some containers. We have a vessel planned leaving Nassau the second week in March. It can carry 60 20' containers. We had planned to buy 20 or so containers and send them down full and to leave them. The balance of supplies we would palletize into containers and unload when we arrived in haiti. That will not do. I believe our objective now must be to buy all the containers on the ship and leave them all there. Containers are available in the United States from Omega Container Services for $1,375 for a 20' and a couple of hundred more for a 40'. Please see if your club , or corporate sponsor or someone can help with the funding for these additional containers.
Part Two tomorrow