A medical team of 27 Haitian-Canadians and 35 tonnes of supplies for the
CECI's operations

MONTREAL, Jan. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - 8:30 a.m. - A team of 30 people, including 27 Haitian-Canadian health professionals, doctors and nurses, has just landed at Port-au-Prince. It will provide support to the medical teams that are already in action, treating the numerous victims in the city. In addition, 35 tonnes of various supplies, including drugs, solutions, blankets, antiseptics, non-perishable goods, water, etc. are being unloaded and taken in charge by the CECI team. Everyone is lending a hand, including the physicians. The team has two hours in which to empty the plane and clear the landing strip.

The humanitarian workers already on site have been eagerly awaiting this flight, because the healthcare needs are enormous. An emergency clinic has been set up in the square in front of the Diquini hospital; the injured are waiting to receive care, lying on makeshift sheets, wounds exposed to the air, some of them awaiting amputation under a tent; the doctors are practising wartime medicine.

The reports from our teams in the field are clear. According to Myriam Fehmiu of the CECI: "The scope of the disaster is colossal, and the devastation is terrible. In temporary shelters, one can sometimes find 10 to 15, sometimes 20,000 people. Some survivors have received no assistance since the earthquake, neither water nor food, let alone health care. Women have given birth in these camps, in atrocious conditions; some of them have died. People are lying under sheets hung from poles; these are truly rough-and-ready camps, in which the tension is growing as the hours go by. Nevertheless, little by little, the neighbourhoods are reorganizing."

The CECI's extensive experience in Haiti provides a definite advantage. Our teams are able to quickly establish relationships with community leaders, which is really the key to an effective organization of relief efforts. If, in certain areas where victims are gathered, no leaders have yet emerged from the group, we encourage people to take charge through social mobilization techniques. These community leaders play an essential role in ensuring the safety, cleanliness and organization of the survivor camps.

The CECI's numerous networks in the country enable our relief teams to continue to be self-sufficient in fuel, so they are able to keep distributing aid without interruption.

In the field, the CECI teams are working to organize the chaos. With 1.5 million victims, the challenge is enormous. According to Mrs. Fehmiu, "The CECI relief operations are working, from the arrival of aid to its distribution, but they are still not enough!" Shortages of all sorts are becoming evident: 10,000 litres of water will be needed every day for at least the next three weeks, to quench the thirst of the survivors, who are threatened by dehydration. Deliveries by air are not enough; shipments by boat are needed. We must also keep in mind that the rainy season is around the corner, and that people will not be able to continue living under sheets or canvas for much longer.

We wish to acknowledge the extraordinary collaboration between the CECI, the donors who filled the warehouse, and Air Transat and CIDA which transported the medical team and 35 tonnes of supplies. The result is the fruit of this joint effort by three dedicated teams, hundreds of hours of volunteer work to collect the supplies from the warehouse, the loading and unloading of the plane, and of course the storage of supplies in Port-au-Prince and the distribution thereof by the CECI to the survivors.

Our thanks go to all the generous donors who filled this plane with 35 tonnes of supplies, and the Haitian-Canadian community, which is mobilized and committed. Luck Mervil invites the public to stay mobilized and support the efforts by the CECI and its partners to bring aid to the people of Haiti!

Online donations are accepted at this Web site: www.ceci.ca

Donations may be made by telephone at this toll-free number: 1-877-875-2324 - Within Montréal at 514 875-9911, and by mail to: CECI (Haiti Earthquake), 3000 rue Omer-Lavallée, Montréal (QC) H1Y 3R8.

SOURCE Center for International Studies and Cooperation

For further information: For further information: CECI interviews - Experts and interviews with Philippe Fehmiu and Myriam Fehmiu in Port-au-Prince, and in Montréal: Carine Guidicelli, Director of Communications and Fundraising, (514) 572-3558; Interviews with Luck Mervil in Montréal: David Champagne, (514) 625-0360

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Center for International Studies and Cooperation

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DISASTER IN HAITI

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