Thursday, January 14, 2010

A collection of volunteers who are going to have been to Haiti

Lots of airplanes and helicopters are arriving in Haiti today carrying workers and supplies for the earthquake ravaged country. For this round-up of Haiti stories, we want to focus on people who are going or have been to Haiti before.

From the UK's Wigan Today, we read about this firefighter who has left for Haiti to look for survivors in the rubble.

Selfless rescue technician Simon Cording is one of a team of UK firefighters who volunteered to fly out to the disaster-hit Caribbean country from Gatwick overnight.

The 35-year-old, from Platt Bridge, was one of a 61-strong UK rescue team due to deploy to Haiti as soon as the airport reopened following heavy snow.

Simon, who has been a fireman for 12 years and is currently stationed at Sale Fire Station, will help with the massive rescue operation after a series of quakes hit the poverty-stricken country on Tuesday night.

The promptly-arranged UK Fire Service International Search and Rescue Team, which includes eight members of the Greater Manchester Fire Rescue Service, will use two search dogs and 12 tonnes of equipment.

On their arrival at the quake-hit country, which together with the Dominican Republic occupies Hispaniola Island, the UK contingent is set to form two teams to search for survivors around the clock at separate sites.

They will be using heavy breaking equipment, specialist cameras and listening devices in a bid to clear rubble and identify survivors.

From South Dakota's Arugs Leader, writer Peter Harriman talked to people who have been on mission trips to Haiti.

Pam Plaiser of Tea founded Mission-Haiti with her husband, Mike. They have worked in the country about 15 years. She says Haitians have the strength to deal with disaster.

"The people are one of the neatest groups you will find. They have this super-strong will to survive. They live in survival mode every day, but they just don't give up."

Joe Rainboth's brother, Lee, has lived in Haiti three years in the mountain village of Mizak, about 50 miles southwest of the capital Port-au-Prince. Joe Rainboth of Spearfish says his brother sees the same thing in Haitians that Plaiser does.

"There is something in that population of Haiti that often gets overlooked. Haiti itself doesn't have much in the way of emergency response or organized communication. But as a people, they are the type to pitch in and help each other," Joe Rainboth says.

Emily Knutson of Sioux Falls accompanied Plasier on a mission trip last November.

"The country itself is absolutely incredible. It is beautiful, but it is heartbreaking to see so much poverty," she says. "Whether you are in the mountains or in the city, it is like one big slum you never leave."

Finally from Indiana's Star Press, Seth Slabaugh writes this story of a Nurse who hopes to head to Haiti this weekend.

For a year, Muncie nurse Connie Baldwin has been planning, packing and fund raising for her annual trip to Haiti, where she treats kids for worms and other infections.

Now, because of the earthquake, she might not get to go on the trip scheduled to leave this weekend.

"It would be a huge disappointment," she said. "With all the preparation we go through, the actual going to Haiti is like an anti-climax."

The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel alert urging U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Haiti because of the extensive damage, extremely difficult communication and lawlessness.

But this wouldn't be the first time a medical team from St. Francis of Assisi University Parish has gone to Haiti against the state department's advice. Besides being poverty stricken, Haiti also has been victimized in recent years by politically motivated violence and hurricanes.

Baldwin had to laugh Wednesday afternoon when an American broadcast journalist reporting from Haiti was asked by an anchorwoman back in the studio if Haitians were receiving enough food and bottled water after the earthquake.

"They didn't have bottled water and food before the earthquake hit, much less now," Baldwin said. "The only thing good I see coming from the earthquake is it might make the world aware of how great the needs in Haiti are. People don't realize how poor they are and how much help they need."

We wanted to focus on these individuals because their small voices need to be increased in volume. The small voices of the thousands of people who put up their own money, leave their comfortable lives for a time, and help to do good even during disasters.

There were a couple of very loud voices that said horrible things yesterday. We wonder if their tone would change if they went on a mission trip, or if the tragedy wasn't separated from them by a body of water. Those voices really depressed us yesterday, so we wanted to find some others.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree, Haiti needs help and needed help for long time. It is truly important and out of humanity government allow people to go help. Just as Nurse from Muncie, Indiana would like to go help better this situation. I would like to cloth every child and adult I can. Give my support to at least one Haitian and help them rebuild their life. Government please know I CAN HELP... Deeps