IDA Staffer Sends Update From Haiti
Since the catastrophic earthquake devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010 affecting its 2 million inhabitants and over 4 million animals, IDA has been working non-stop to access the situation on the ground, assess the needs for animals and what we can do to help. IDA along with other representatives of the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) are on their way to Haiti. The Government of Haiti has already sent official communications to ARCH asking for immediate emergency assistance. A team of veterinarians and disaster management experts from the coalition, of which IDA is part of, just arrived into Port-au-Prince by plane this morning to put a plan into action with the government of Haiti’s ministries of Agriculture and public health as well under the mandate of UN FAO’s mission. And a mobile unit, fully capable to weather tough terrains and equipped to provide animal care and relief has set sail to join our 20 member team heading by road into Haiti, so writes IDA’s representative Connie Durkee from the front lines.
Connie Durkee, IDA’s representative and a veteran of many disaster responses and a qualified veterinary technician with years of experience is heading into Haiti. She just sent this update before hitting to the road: Our plan is to arrive into Port-au-Prince today with a team of disaster responders, veterinarians and veterinary techs from the Dominican Republic (DR) and set up our mission to begin the life saving work to help animals and people. She writes: “My emotions are soaring. I feel proud to be able to help in this mission, anxious to get there soon to help, apprehensive how long the journey by road is going to take, scared sometimes as there are still some security issues but never hesitant as I embark on this journey to help animals and the people affected by this grave disaster”
“Along with the many animal supplies, I am carrying for our long mission, (we don’t know when we will get back, that thought has not even crossed my mind), my local friends are also sending humanitarian supplies that I plan to drop off on the way with friends who have already reached Haiti and begun their humanitarian relief work. One of them is a veterinarian who lives in Sosua in DR, who often provides medical treatment to many Haitians because they cannot afford medical care. He is in Haiti now doing humanitarian relief work. He learnt that I was heading to Haiti and asked if we could help carry supplies for human needs and we were just so glad we could help. Our mission is to help animals and people. Infact, we are engaging directly with the Haitian community, including local veterinarians, who themselves have been severely affected both directly – losing their loved ones – as well as their livelihoods, devastated by this enormous earthquake that the U.N. calls one of the worst disasters ever encountered.
As I pack our bags and load our vehicles, another local friend has just arrived. She wants to join us and follow us as a convoy for safety as we drive into Haiti. She will be driving a truckload of supplies for the people of Mission 25, a section of Port au Prince. We are working on figuring out logistics now.
“I have watched the close relationship between the Haitians and the Dominicans on many occasions. There are a lot of Haitians in the DR. Many of them very good friends of mine. What I have observed of the Haitians from being here is that they are such hard working and friendly people. It is heartwarming to see the Dominicans and the Haitians coming together in this difficult time. It’s not always that way with such different cultures. Here we go…..”
We at IDA wish her and the team a safe journey to Haiti. Back here, our IDA team is gearing up to get ready to send the next set of people in a few days to support the on-ground efforts as the first responder team reports back with animal needs assessment. Hear from Matt Rossell, our IDA’s NW director about IDA efforts to help animals and people
It is through the generosity and compassion of our supporters we are able to help these animals who would otherwise be forgotten in this tragedy. Please donate today to help our efforts and take a minute to forward this to your friends and families. Please help us help them.