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A Voice from Haiti in an Earthquake

  • March 8, 2022
  • emergency response, Haiti earthquake, Health Care, medical aid
  • Americares relief workers deliver first aid supplies to a rural health center affected by the recent earthquake in southwestern Haiti, August 15, 2021. (Photo/Americares)
Staff Writers

Staff Writers

Americares Staff

Dr. Waly Turin, Americares Project Officer, Haiti, provides a ground view of the earthquake and aftermath.

The first day of the earthquake, I was on the second floor. I felt nothing more than shaking, but it provoked a panic across the population: Everyone was running about and then all the houses collapsed. For the many people who had not lived during the last earthquake, it was unprecedented. It was terrible.

Americares staff member delivering medicines
Dr. Waly and other Americares relief workers delivered first aid supplies to a rural health center affected by the recent earthquake in southwestern Haiti, August 15, 2021. (Photo/Americares)

I took my motorcycle to go into the field to see what was happening and how Americares could act quickly to provide support. We sent doctors and medical staff to the health center in Pestel to respond to the wounded who arrived and surpassed the health center’s current capacity. We then coordinated with the Health Department, the Ministry of Public Health and other partners to ensure we responded collaboratively, so we could focus our support on very vulnerable communities. This moral obligation arose to act as quickly as possible, to send as many resources as necessary. And thanks to that, many health needs for survivors were addressed, many complications were avoided, and lives were saved.

In the days and weeks that followed, we also deployed mobile health teams to affected remote communities. Mobile teams are one of the best strategies in crises to go further into areas where access to health services are limited, even on the best of days. Survivors in earthquake impacted remote communities were already in crisis socially, economically, infrastructurally and politically. And now they are in crisis again.

Haiti, les Cayimittes An Americares emergency response medical team deployed to Les Cayimittes, Haiti in response to the August 14 magnitude 7.2 earthquake that caused severe damage in SW Haiti, October 3, 2021. (Photo Armando Etienne/Americares) .

That is why our work in those communities is important. Their longstanding health challenges will continue, but we ensure that their urgent health needs are met when they otherwise cannot reach care. Americares really seeks to solve the problems. We see the root problems.

There is so much still to do, but we are part of the solution. Americares strength is the trust that communities and partners have in us because of our transparency and honesty, values that we share with the communities where we work. The Americares team in Haiti believes in that value system. We believe in that great mission that we all share. We believe in what we do because it is who we are.

Dr. Waly looking at handwashing station in Haiti
Dr. Waly with Americares after installing a handwashing station at Pointe Sable, Cayemittes Isalnd, Haiti. Sept 2. 2020. (Photo/ Almando Etienne)

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