PORT-AU-PRINCE —Hundreds of Haitians came running as a Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion touched down Feb. 4, scattering dust but gathering a large crowd on a field in Pignon.
Before the boxes were even off-loaded, people of all ages with inquiring eyes and smiling faces stood together, eagerly waiting to see what would come off the helicopter.
Just a few hours later, three more cities all over Haiti—Cap Haitien, Saint Louis du Nord and Gros Morne—had all received boxes of relief aid. In total, the four cities outside of Port-au-Prince received 600 radios and approximately 1,200 pounds of medical supplies
“Providing essential medicines to health professionals during an emergency is critical,” said Ian Stein, WHO emergency response team program officer. “Through this collaboration we were able to expand our capacity to ensure that medicines end up where they are needed.”
The radios provided by JFSOCC allow more individuals to hear public service announcements regarding humanitarian assistance and messages of hope that the international community is here to help. These solar- and hand-cranked radios are also equipped with a flashlight and a USB-port to charge any device with a USB connection.
“I think this mission today is an example of how partnerships should form in times of emergencies,” Stein said. “We are able to develop nimble plans for immediate response and implement them with success. If we can continue this style of work, we know that we will continue to save lives together.”
The orphanage, which is working in partnership with the Haitian Government and UNICEF, has seen more than a 60% increase in children being brought to their facility since the earthquake. One of their key needs was shelter to house these new children. The large tents, which can house up to 100 children, are actually the tents the Los Angeles and Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Teams used while here in Haiti searching for survivors of the quake. Rather than bringing them back to the U.S. to be repacked and used for the next mission, everyone felt they could be better served here in Haiti to provide these children with a temporary home.
In addition to shelter, the institution also required additional latrines. USAID DART’s water and sanitation experts are providing their expertise and guidance on the set up of new latrines, including the best location to ensure the health and safety of the children.