Response to January Earthquakes

The e-mail below (click “more”) was sent out by the Executive Committee to the larger Emory Medishare community including long-time supporters, trip veterans, etc on January 14, 2010. With the launch of our new website we wanted to make sure any newcomers to Emory Medishare know how we are responding to the recent natural disaster. Please feel free to distribute to any friends and family.

Dear friends of Emory Medishare,

The magnitude and scope of the effects of the recent earthquakes near Port-au-Prince are still becoming apparent. That said, there has been an outpouring from our community of those seeking to help. We have been heartened by this response, and we are actively evaluating what is the best way for us to get involved in the recovery effort.

As of now, the greatest obstacles to our involvement are the many unanswered questions about the exact situation on the ground. Here is what we know:

  • Project Medishare’s facilities in Thomonde have had little direct damage and operations at clinics and in the community are continuing apace.
  • Project Medishare’s in-country staff are safe but please keep them in your thoughts as they try to reconnect with their friends and family spread out across a country with little functioning communications infrastructure.
  • Project Medishare has sent a team of physicians from Miami to respond to immediate medical needs and is already on the ground in Port-au-Prince. As they report back to Project Medishare, the entire organization will have a better idea of what kind of support is needed.
  • Emory Medishare’s trips in April (OB/GYN) and July (Surgical Urology) are continuing as planned until further notice. As of now, there is nothing that suggests the timeline of these trips or the planned work will substantially change.

How you can help right now

Many of you have already expressed frustration over the “wait and see” approach being advocated by many aid agencies. If you feel that you must do something immediately, we are recommending you provide supplemental funding to the disaster response agencies that will be rapidly depleting existing operating budgets responding to a disaster of this magnitude. Two excellent organizations that have already rapidly deployed hundreds of staff to Port-au-Prince are Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) and the International Committee of the Red Cross. MSF has a web donation page: click here for MSF. The ICRC has a web donation page: click here for ICRC. Both of these organizations are moving literally tons of supplies and mobile field hospitals to Haiti and will be able to immediately use your funds.

How you can help build toward Haiti’s future

We also want to emphasize that many of Haiti’s problems today did not start with the series of earthquakes Tuesday evening. Haiti has been the target of 200 years of exploitation and neglect that have led to a country today with grossly inadequate social services for good health and a decent quality of life. Even before Tuesday, 1 in 5 children in the Central Plateau did not live to see their fifth birthday. Although the role of organizations like Partners in Health and Project Medishare for Haiti will preferentially focus on long-term development, both of these organizations are actively involved in the relief effort as well. If you would like to support these efforts, Project Medishare for Haiti ‘s work can be supported at this website: here. Partners in Health’s work can be supported here.

Once again, we are amazed at how many of you have already sought ways of trying to support the relief efforts after this devastating natural disaster. We will keep you up to date as we learn more about how Emory Medishare can craft its response to best help the people of Haiti.


Emory Medishare

Emory Medishare