15 Jan MADRiH Conference Call

notes taken by Olivia and Kobie.

Report Backs

CHRIS: Spoke to my uncle with US AID in Haiti. Uncle says it is very difficult to get into and out of the airport. The airport is extremely crowded; don't expect to leave it for at least 12 hours. Uncle suggests we pick one area in Port au Prince to work in. He says it will make life easier once we get there.

SUNCERE: Talked to a Haitian brother who owns a freight company. If we fill a cargo container, he'll ship it from Georgia to Haiti for free. He can ship immediately. My former boss is buying us a satellite phone. I have lines on two more. The Ashville rescue squad is giving enough supplies for 15 EMTs by Monday. The best venue in Asheville along with four clubs are having Haitipalooza fundraiser to raise money for mission. Bill Quigley and Malik Rahim are on their way to Haiti.

ROGER: How long does it take a shipping container to get to Haiti? The port is inoperable.
SUNCERE: When the opportunity comes, we'll have the resource. A port 5-20 miles west may be usable.
CHRIS: It takes 3-4 days to ship from Miami to Port au Prince.
SUNCERE: He ships from Georgia.
CHRIS: Maybe 5-7 days.

ROGER: Common Ground Health Clinic has a massive amount of trauma and first aid supplies for us. The problem is shipping.

BUGZ: There's a strong connection between Haitian women in NY and in Haiti. I spoke to a Haitian-American woman I know who works with a well-connected community organization. She is out of reach now. I'm going to a rally today to look for more contacts. I'm gathering supplies, and have $600 to donate for a satellite phone or solar panel charger.

FIDGET: Looking into ways of getting back. American Airlines said they'll be flying out by the 22nd, but that information is questionable because air traffic is restricted by the US Air Force. I spoke to Lea about the team leaving on Tuesday. She'd like to go with the first wave but has no money for transport.
ROGER: I have $1,500 to donate for airfares.

KOBIE: Talked to radio people: Amy Goodman and WBAI people; I let them know what we're doing.

ANNE: Trying to round up people for point support for legal concerns. No luck yet.

OLIVIA: Talked with Thomas about account for donations. We can set up our own bank account and link it to Paypal. Paypal has rollover time of a few days before funds become available, which is not fast enough for our need to consolidate funds to fly out on Tuesday.

Artistic Evolutions is a 501c3 that will offer fiscal sponsorship so we can get tax-deductable contributions. I'll write a letter on our letterhead to expidite passports and any documents you need for travel to Haiti. We can front $5,000-10,000 immediately. We need to figure out what bank and account donations will go to and how it will be decided to be spent.

THOMAS: You are all amazing. I plan to go to Haiti with the first group. I have a formal letter from a doctor saying we are her advance team. We can use it to get supplies from medical supply distributors, and to help protect our supplies from getting seized. I'll post the letter to the google group tonight.

Set up a paypal button through the Herbs for Orphans website. Mutual Aid Disaster Relief for Haiti is added to H4O bank account. Donations can be made at any [redacted] bank. Herbs4Orphans.org should be updated tonight with donation information. Made up flyers with information on what we're doing and how people can help. Printed 100 of them. I'll post to the google group tonight, and include the original file for modification.

Confirmed eight seats on a flight if we want to use it. $450 dollars per person for round trip (price is 90% firm). Two planes, shuttling people back and forth between Haiti and Miami. The flights will be on standby from Monday night at midnight until Tuesday midnight. We might be a day waiting.

Have solar charger for satellite phone. Local people have been cooking up high calorie protein energy bars for us — 2 can keep us going for a day. I'll post the recipe to the group. Have donations of 100 pounds of protein powder, 100 pounds baby formula.

Suggests contact with local radio in exchange for promotion on website. My local NPR at the university is sponsoring us. Bringing basic video equipment: 0.5 pound video camera.

GRACE: I got a call from Elizabeth, a supporter in Santo Domingo. She is reachable by skype and email. She is well connected and has implicit trust in us. No parking for airplanes in Port au Prince, and no control tower. Only one plane can land and sit at a time. Smaller flights are backing up large-scale relief efforts like importing water.

She can give us a minivan if we land in Santo Domingo. The van would be ours but water and diesel are hard to come by. She would like it back but we could have it. There is a hospital on the Haiti side at Belladere, and a hotel on Dominican side of crossing.

The Dominican Red Cross wants to pick us up from airport and give us a ride to wherever we need to go. They feel unprepared and want to share skills. They have satellite phones, water trucks, and medical supplies, and we can call them for support. Their first stop would be Jimini, the main border crossing. There is an apartment sized hospital there, and 14-15,000 injured arriving per day.

Jacmel is another place that needs support in the southeast, there is no official aid at all and no clear intention of aid being sent. She believes it is currently very difficult to get there.

CHRIS: Jimini is one hour from Port au Prince, Jacmel is 6-8 hours drive but the roads are probably in bad condition. It has a small airport for domestic flights, but I've heard no reports on the condition of the airport.

GRACE: Elizabeth is connected with Dominican National Guard and FEMA. Does not want us to be hampered by anyone else. Haitian-Dominican relations seem positive. Dominican media and government are calling Haitians brothers and sisters.

End of report backs.


GRACE: Is Thomas' Herbs 4 Orphans bank account okay to use?

No concerns.

GRACE: Can we access the money with Thomas out of the country?
OLIVIA: Thomas can put multiple users on the account. It is an organizational account.
THOMAS: I have an extra debit card for the account. My father can access the account.
SUNCERE: What if we can't find Thomas? Can his father draw on funds?
THOMAS: Olivia or my father can distribute money. Will distribute father's cellphone number, leader for second group will be able to access funds.
GRACE: How widely are [redacted] banks distributed within the US?
SUNCERE & OLIVIA: Theres one in Ashville and in NYC, but there isn't one in every state.

GRACE: Can people use tax ID number and letter to get tax deduction regardless of account?
GRACE: Bank account decision hinges on how we make financial decisions. Can Artistic Evolution or Thomas' dad handle accounting and disbursement for up to $250K within next few months?

THOMAS: Money won't be accessible until after Monday.
OLIVIA: Artistic Evolutions can front some emergency cash for now. $5,000 maybe up to $10,000 and send it via Western Union for immediate supplies and travel fees.
THOMAS: If donations don't pay it back right away, I personally guarantee that Artistic Evolutions will be paid back in full.
GRACE: Can Olivia book tickets?

Olivia and Thomas will bottom line the financial side of purchasing flights from Miami to Haiti, and getting the team to Miami. Bank accounts will be revisited after the first flight is out.
End of fundraising discussion, for now.

Team composition

THOMAS: Everybody who wants to be on the chartered flight must send your Name, Date of Birth, Passport ID number, emergency contact information and mailing address to me immediately so I can confirm your seat.

Chris has two Haitian-born friends that are creole and English speaking EMTs, they know the country and might want to join the team. They're in Miami.

GRACE: Carrie (RN), Anne (Paramedic), and Thomas (Herbalist) are confirmed so far for first team.

ANNE needs help getting from NYC to Miami.
CHRIS: I haven't raised enough money yet.
OLIVIA: We will pay for Christopher.
CHRIS: 80% in, definite answer tomorrow.

GRACE: Team 1 has to be a tightly organized team able to operate under extreme stress and pressure; to get in and out safely. There may be organized relief, military, and goverment resources who are actively hostile to our efforts. My worst nightmare is that we have to get evacuated by the US, bringing heat on people we went to support.

ANNE would be thrilled to work with Haitian medics. They could be the best resources we can have on a team.
CHRIS will talk to them tonight or tomorrow.

GRACE: Team must have someone who can assume incident command and triage. RN, Paramedic, and Herbalism are a good start. Wilderness Medicine, Search and Rescue, and Creole speaking are vital. This is not first come first serve; team must be tight. First team has no idea what they're getting into. 4 buddy pairs.

THOMAS: We have 8 seats.
HEXE: I have wilderness medicine background and could be ready to go Tuesday, but have not worked with anyone else on the team.
ANNE: Did search and rescue but is no longer certified.
FIDGET: Can be a backup, able to go Tuesday. Street medic experience.
BUGZ: Was/is willing to be on the first team, don't neccessarily have the skills that are immediately needed.

BUGZ brings up issue of security.
THOMAS: Security is an issue. There are a number of places that offer site to work at. First wall around the New Life Children's Home compound needs to be rebuilt, if we go that route.
GRACE: Walls and community support provide different kinds of security. Need for security depends on your approach. Either way, regular communication back to the States is important.
KOBIE: Willing to go and do communications.


  • Sasha — RN
  • Chris — EMT and interpreter
  • Anne — Paramedic and street medic
  • Bugz — media and street medic
  • Hexe — wilderness EMT
  • Fidget — EMT and street medic
  • Kobie — communications
  • Thomas — medical herbalist
  • Grace — community health worker and street medic
  • Carrie — RN
  • 2 additional EMTs/interpreters

End of team composition.

Team 1 conference call at 4pm EST tomorrow, January 16. Same number, someone get Sasha on the call. Olivia and Thomas will coordinate flight for Team 1. After Team 1 call, one person will liason with Olivia about money to get to Miami.

CHRIS: Can anyone give insight on how we should prepare?
GRACE: To be discussed at 4pm tomorrow.

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