Updates from Haiti

Delmas 33, Port-au-Prince, January 16, 2010
Catherine Laine captured this scene among countless other similar while driving through Delmas 33, Port-au-Prince on January 16

Dear readers,

Here is a brief update on our activities in Haiti.

We have established an operations center in Cap-Haïtien with our partner SOIL to serve as a hub for coordinating volunteer efforts and supplies coming into the country, especially those coming in through the port of Cap-Haïtien and the Dominican Republic (one of the few open routes into Haiti these days). Our presence in the north, away from the destruction zone, has allowed our communication and logistic abilities to continue relatively intact, which has been extremely useful in coordinating efforts on the ground with other partners and aid groups.

As an immediate priority, we are recruiting and mobilizing teams of engineers and other technical experts to directly support relief efforts of key partners. As I write this, we are preparing to send our first teams of engineers into Haiti to support the medical response efforts of Partners in Health, an organization that, as we previously noted, is having a significant impact here. We are particularly interested at this moment in placing French or Creole speaking civil and structural engineers. If you are, or know, an engineer that might be interested in volunteering in Haiti, please send a resume or CV to helphaiti@aidg.org.

AIDG will also be helping to coordinate the distribution of a large number of cookstoves in affected areas. Even before this week’s disaster, AIDG was in discussions with several leading stove groups (including Prakti Design, WorldStove, and Trees Water People), and in fact had been planning to host these groups at a conference in Cap-Haïtien next week to strengthen our collaboration in Haiti. Our focus has obviously shifted in the past couple days, and the group is now mobilizing very quickly to bring in as many stoves as possible, while at the same time developing local manufacturing capacity.

Aside from these immediate response priorities, we are also already hard at work developing a longer term strategy for supporting reconstruction efforts in Haiti, including a collaboration with our friends Architecture for Humanity to promote the development of low cost earthquake resistant housing. More details on this will follow in the coming weeks.

As you can imagine, we have all available hands on deck right now to support the response in Haiti. But WE NEED YOUR HELP to make sure we have the resources to continue these efforts. These next weeks are critical for us and for Haiti, and we are asking you to make a donation, whatever you can, to support our work here. Every dollar helps, and every dollar will have an immediate and direct impact in the wake of this tragedy.

You can make a secure donation online here, or if you’d like to mail us a check, you can send it to the following address:

AIDG
P.O. Box 104
Weston, MA 02493

We can’t thank you enough for all of your support.

Massive Earthquake in Port Au Prince

Dear AIDG Supporters,

At approximately 4:55 pm Eastern on Tuesday Port Au Prince experienced a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, with aftershocks of 5.9 and 5.7. There is widespread damage to infrastructure with numerous collapsed buildings. It is anticipated there will be a high casualty rate

morel13 on Twitpic

Additional photos can be found here: twitter.com/photomorel

Here is what we have learned:

The National Palace has collapsed (eyewitness photo)
The UN headquarters has been seriously damaged (source: UN)
The Hotel Montana has sustained collapse with 200 missing (source: associated press france)
A Hospital has collapsed (source:NYtimes)

We will provide more information by twitter. www.twitter.com/aidg and our blog www.aidg.org/blog as it becomes available.

We are currently developing opportunities for AIDG to aid in reconstruction with the help of partners. We will make another announcement on this shortly.

As you all know we are a small organization. We require some basic additional budget resources immediately to help run an assessment that will determine this longer term response aimed at infrastructure and reconstruction. If possible mail checks to:

AIDG
P.O. Box 104
Weston, MA 02493

We will actually receive these funds faster than online donations. We will be running a larger campaign in concert with our reconstruction announcement.

For those wishing to have an immediate direct impact on populations in Port Au Prince we are recommending supporting the medical response teams of Partners In Health. www.pih.org They are working with a field hospital set up by the UNDP that immediately needs pain meds, bandages and other medical supplies.

We ask you all to hold Haiti in your hearts and prayers as this tragedy unfolds.

Sincerely,

Peter Haas
Executive Director, AIDG