Mutual Aid Disaster Relief In Haiti Grace Keller

New Orleans, Jan. 13, 2010 — Haiti was struck on Tuesday January 12 by its biggest earthquake in over 200 years. Lets see if we can get together a group of street medics and others with similar politics of mutual aid who are crazy enough to go do disaster relief in Haiti ASAP. It's about $300 round-trip from Miami to Port Au Prince on Air France.

The borders might be porous for only a really short period of time before the disaster capitalists seal out the likes of us. Prepare to get your bags packed on short notice.

  1. Do you think you might want to go?
  2. Can you not go but want to help with fundraising etc.?
  3. Or will you absolutely not go or help?

A conference call will be scheduled within 24 hours at our dedicated number so we can form a plan collectively about what form our response will take, what we need to do before leaving, and when we will go. We may do medical, moving and burial of bodies, ear acupuncture, shelter construction, or other tasks as our skills make possible and the situation dictates on the ground.

Four people are on-board so far, with medical and construction skills, and we will probably be leaving within the week (maybe in 2 or 3 days).

Logistics

No visa is necessary to enter Haiti from the US. You do need a valid passport, which allows you to stay for 3 months.

US dollars are fine. It costs about $50/week to live in Haiti. Many people speak English.

No vaccinations are required for travel to Haiti, but a supply of antimalarial and antidiarrheal drugs is suggested. Cipro and doxycycline are important. Taking 500mg of andrographis (herb) 3 x day as a preventative works great. Activated charcoal can come in handy as well.

A few people already on the team are in touch with Haitians on the ground, who can orient us and give us guidance, as well as to help us figure out where in Haiti we will work and sleep.

Funds: It's possible to raise up tons of money and supplies on no notice. Check out all the lovers of Haiti in the community (in New Orleans there are quite a lot) or the liberals, black pride / black power folks, etc. Just walk into their place of business or cold-call them with an ask (how much you want), a 501c3 number for the big givers who want to take it out of their taxes, and something written on some home-made letterhead about what we plan to do.

Several options for the 501c3 number, will post here when one is definitely available for this (but cash is much better).

For supplies, meds, etc: There are organizations that equip medical missions etc. Find them. Also walk into hardware stores etc. with the letter and the 501c3 number and talk to a manager about them donating a given amount (i.e. $300 of merchandise, one shopping cart full, …) Continue asking all the way til you reach Miami. Get more donations of money and supplies.

Laminated ID badges are very useful for getting past checkpoints, nosy military, etc. If you don't have one, make one with a photo, your name, the company name, address and phone number of your disaster relief "employer." Laminate it at Kinkos and put it on a lanyard around your neck. Wear any insignia you are qualified to wear (like EMT patches), wear scrub tops with a stethoscope around your neck or your EMS uniform.

Have a buddy system before you board the plane. Check in at least once a day to prevent PTSD. Share little successes, frustrations, etc. but focus more on embodied and emotional feelings than on stories.

The temperature in Haiti is in the low 70s at night and in the mid to high 80s in the daytime this week. It is raining on Friday, but will be clear the rest of the week.

Current logistics briefing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZf8MRYasss

Raw Footage
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ-ZEoD8PBE

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