NAVMC has not sent teams to Haiti since COVID struck our world in early 2020. We have not been absent and have worked on projects from afar. We have provided funds to educate and feed the children in Renmen orphanage and we have continued to support Hopital Bernard Mevs (HBM), the hospital we have been affiliated with since 2010. We are also working with Food for the Poor and Partners in Health to build a prosthetic lab in North Haiti where currently amputees have no resources for prosthetic limbs. We will keep you updated on this project.
As you may be aware, life in Haiti has hit an historical low point perhaps never seen before, certainly not in our time and our focus now is on this new crisis. Gang violence, killings and kidnappings have wreaked havoc in the country, preventing local inhabitants from getting food and water. The gangs have blocked the ports preventing any shipments from getting into the country. At present the port in Port-au-Prince is closed to shipments of any kind. Food for the Poor has had 16 containers in limbo for months and are unable to get supplies into the country. This has created a food crisis never seen before in our hemisphere. Most of the hospitals are closed, lacking the fuel to run generators. Grid electricity is nonexistent. HBM turns on its generators on occasion to run the OR for dire emergency cases, when it can buy diesel. Otherwise, no surgeries are being done and little health care is available.
It is unclear when and if we will ever be able to return to the center of the violence, Port-au-Prince. We are looking into working with a hospital in North Haiti. Until the last 2 months it has been safe to travel to Cap Haitien (Cap) in the Northern part of Haiti. I travelled there in May and in August exploring options at Hopital Sacre Coeur (HSC) in the town of Milot, 30 minutes’ drive from Cap. There may be possibilities of sending teams there in the future, only if things quiet down and it again becomes safe to travel there. For now, it is not safe. I doubt that trips to Port-au-Prince will be safe for some time.
We are also working with Food for The Poor and Partners In Health trying to set up a prosthetic program in Milot at HSC. Currently there is no such service and patients with amputations cannot get prosthetic limbs. We continue to work on this project in its design awaiting a secure environment in the country that would allow us to implement the program.
For now, the dire need in Haiti is food. Many of the charitable groups that have helped Haiti in the past have left and others are not able to aid due to the fuel crisis and the port closures. Starvation is prevalent throughout the country and cholera has struck again. Bleach, which is used to help prevent cholera, cannot be found in the country. Project Medishare for Haiti has equipment ready to help fight the cholera epidemic, it has been stuck in port for months.
We are partnering with Debbie Harvey from Helping Haitian Angels (HHA), an organization supporting a home for children in North Haiti. They are providing food and water for families in their local community. HHA with boots on the ground is providing food for their local community who cannot afford gas money to travel to the Markets which are often empty. We are asking for donations to help support this effort in yet another time of dire need in Haiti. As always, we are putting funds directly into the hands of those we know and trust.
We will continue to provide funds to Renmen foundation in Port-au-Prince to keep these children fed as well. My daughter Nerlande is living there now. She has not been able to return to her home in Port-au-Prince due to the violence in her neighborhood. Weekly she is venturing out into the community to search for food. What little is available has quadrupled in price.
I do not know how long this will go on in Haiti, but I suspect it cannot go on long with the current situation. Absent some significant change, many will die, and the global community will not be able to ignore it any longer. For now, NAVMC can make a difference and help keep some Haitian victims fed.
Thank you for your continued and essential support,
John, “Bull” Durham, NAVMC President
We can assure you that the funds are getting into the hands that need them.
Be safe and keep Haiti and the recent victims in your hearts.
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