Haiti: Children's response to a country in need

airportAs aid and relief workers begin to flow into Haiti, Children’s Hospital Boston is sending its own disaster response team to the devastated country. On Tuesday, an earthquake hit 16 miles from Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, affecting as many as 3 million people, with as many as 100,000 deaths likely, according to the International Red Cross.

From Children’s, Shannon Manzi, Emergency Department pharmacist, David Mooney, MD, MPH, director of Trauma Program and Gary Fleisher, MD, Children’s pediatrician-in-chief are currently en-route to Haiti. The photo (above) was taken by Manzi at 3 a.m. this morning as the team waited to hear when and where they would be deployed.

Manzi is providing updates via email when she can. This afternoon she wrote:

Everyone is loaded on 2 buses and awaiting transport to the airport. No one has had more than 1 hour of sleep since leaving yesterday afternoon and there is no sign of any sleep time soon. We are being met on the ground in Haiti by the Marines and will get our orders from there.

Lots of safety briefings about infectious diseases such as malaria, TB, and HIV which is endemic. We will all have to be extraordinary careful as there will be no sharps removal systems, etc.

planeHere’s an update from David Mooney, also traveling with Manzi (their plane is shown right, photographed less than an hour ago).

We’re about to take off to Haiti.  I’ve taken my malaria med and re-upped my tetanus just in case. We’ll be the first US medical team in and expect to get there before our medical supplies.  The chaos in the streets is scary, but we’ve got to get there before it’s too late.

We’re told there are lots of soldiers at the airport and our plan is to camp out there tonight. It’s really exciting and pretty scary.  We have to carry with us everything that we need, including food and water and have to assume that our bags down below won’t make it.  All of their systems are reported to be out.  When the stuff arrives we can self-sustain for 3 weeks, but will be a bit pinched until then.

We hope we can control the flow of humanity that we expect to flock to our site. It hurts to see the hurt kids on TV and not already be there.

We’ll keep you updated as we hear more about the mission.