Ein Jahr voller Lichtblicke, aber auch dunkler Momente

by Steffen Richter/RBU,  2011/01/12

When one year ago, on January 12, 2010, the earth shook, no one had thought it possible that within only a few moments more than 220,000 persons would lose their lives. There are further upsetting statistics about this terrible earthquake in the Caribbean:

A city was in ruins and with it the lives of more than one million people. Photo: humedica

1.5 millions left homeless, several hundred thousands of partly severely injured Haitians. Ten months later the next blow of fate: a cholera epidemic. So far, during the twelve months that have passed since the earthquake, the Haitians have not had time to recover. Nevertheless, a lot has been achieved.

By summer 2010, humedica had sent more than 140 medical assistants on relief missions to Haiti. A first relief team and two coordinators had travelled to the “Hospital of Hope” in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince only three days after the disaster, and had taken over hospital operations.

Up to this point, this building is still the basis of all our efforts and the experiences our teams have gained there could probably fill a large book. Sometimes, sad events such as deaths or amputations occurred almost in parallel with signs of hope, such as uncomplicated births.

In the meantime the hospital building, large parts of which had at first been in danger of collapsing, could be renovated completely; bedrooms have been equipped, an entrance ramp for disabled patients has been built and at the end of last year the “Hospital of Hope” could finally reopen its doors.

By early summer, medical disaster relief had also been expanded to Leogane, the actual epicentre of the earthquake. Besides Port-au-Prince, the smaller cities of Meyer and Marbial are also still among the project locations of humedica.

Students attending classes at makeshift classrooms in Meyer. Photo: humedica

In these towns, two schools that had been destroyed within the 30 seconds of the earthquake could be rebuilt partly during the past twelve months; parts of the remaining buildings, which were in danger of collapsing, were demolished and the rubble has been cleared away.

Apart from these demolishing and renovation works, first reconstruction measures have already been taken. The foundations have been levelled, construction plans compiled, and the foundations of the new schools have been laid. For several hundred boys and girls the help offered by humedica also meant that even only a few months after the earthquake they could already return to their classes at provisional class rooms.

Furthermore, humedica is involved in setting up a Prosthetics and Orthotics Centre in Port-au-Prince. After having been amputated arms or legs, thousands of earthquake victims will have to spend the rest of their lives with handicaps. Others still need support when it comes to rehabilitation of severe injuries even months after the disaster.

In order to reach out a helping hand to numerous persons suffering this fate, humedica will produce, fit and fix prosthetics and orthotics and furthermore train local staff as professional orthopaedic technicians. This work is overseen by the project coordinator in charge, Wendell Endley from South Africa, who had already been on a mission in Haiti at the beginning of the year.

In the middle of October, amidst all these reconstruction projects and the task of setting up the Prosthetics and Orthotics Centre, we suddenly received news about a cholera outbreak in the region surrounding the provincial town of St. Marc.

Cholera is still threatening the people in Haiti. Photo: humedica

In this area, medical teams of humedica had already carried through various missions in 2008 and 2009. Correspondingly, immediate action was taken by our employees in Port-au-Prince: only a few hours after having received news about the cholera outbreak, a group of well-equipped team members was sent out to offer first treatment.

In the meantime, this team with the mission to fighting the dangerous disease has been reinforced by further teams from Germany. The small hospital in Drouin, a small town in the north of St. Marc has served as mission headquarters up to this point.

It seems that Haiti is given no time to recover. Even before the earthquake the Caribbean state, which is located on the picturesque island of Hispaniola, was considered to be the poorest country of the Western Hemisphere. More than one million people are still living at refugee camps. The large-scale destruction caused by the earthquake can still be seen. The people’s physical and psychological injuries will still take a long time to heal.

Although a lot has already been achieved and hope could be brought into those dark times, Haiti still needs our attention and targeted support. Please remain at our side and support us by means of an online donation or a donation to the account below:
      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference “Earthquake Haiti
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You can also support us in a secure and fast way by means of sending a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90. Of your donation of 5 euros, 4.83 euros will be channelled directly into the humedica project work. Thank you very much!

Water polluted by bacteria and dismal hygienic conditions are the main reasons for the drastic cholera epidemic. Photo: humedica/Ruth Bücker

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

Update my browser now×