Saturday, June 12, 2010

January 13, 2010 - Haiti Action Summary

Haiti Disaster Response Summary January 13, forward
...prepared and distributed by PDG Dick McCombe

Specific actions taken

-- Communicated immediately with on the ground team. I was able to speak to Claude Surena to get a brief scope of damage and to talk briefly about expected response priorities. We have responded before to a disaster during the Hurricanes and flooding, so the basic response parameters, coupled with the knowledge of the Disaster Zone helped a lot.

-- Contacted District leadership and gave them a brief synopsis of the disaster and the intended responses. At that time, outlined the priorities as they were understood at the time.

-- Requested support from District to set up a process to manage the funds

-- Requested support from Zone Classmates

-- PRID Barry moved to set up DAF and communicated the status of the situation to Global Rotarians and Agencies

Specific Challenges faced

-- Lost total communication 40 minutes after first quake with the entire country

-- Most of our core leaders were victims of the disaster

-- Organizational control was moving between US/UN and Country Leadership, so on-the-ground priorities varied

-- Air space was restricted and the main Port was closed

-- The geography and infrastructure of Port au Prince is very restrictive and archaic at best

-- The catastrophic damage is beyond anything that anyone could have ever imagined

-- People all over the planet feel they are the experts, and are telling people what they should do. At times, these pronouncements conflict with the specific instructions given by the people and by the Rotarians on the ground in the Disaster area

Systems and processes in place

-- Satellite phone system from Caribbean Partners

-- Rotary Organization infrastructure (District and country-wide)

-- Passion and commitment to our fellow Rotarians in Haiti

-- Appointed Leader or find someone who can’t get out of it!!!!

Failed Plans

-- Satellite phone use Protocols

-- Satellite phone number list

-- Satellite service provider quality (some phones get no signal)

-- Random inaccurate email circulation by many “ROTARY” organizations

Lessons learned

-- Have funding accounts in place and published on web site

-- Value of relationships with individuals in each country is immeasurable

-- Money first! We can always get "stuff" but we need to pay to get it there

-- In the Bahamas, we used Windermere Day Spas’s contact list to plead for supplies.

These customers sent the plea to their mailing list and so on and so on... This proved to be enormously successful and has resulted in funds and over 50,000 lbs of supplies -- Medical, Comfort and Food.

Why Rotary works when other initiatives you see on Television appear not to work

Rotary International has an established Region, Country, District and International infrastructure that exists year over year.

-- We know who we all are, and what we all do.
-- We have a team locally and internationally that understands the power of our organization and what we are
capable of.
-- We have a team locally and internationally that knows there is an expectation that we do something after these events.
-- We expect the support, and we get it. But we understand it comes with a burden of responsibility.
-- Our on-the-ground team is relying on the Rotary Infrastructure to help them by sending supplies and funding, and know they have to do their part to get it effectively into their communities.
-- Our on-the-ground team coach us with the advice of a real-time community needs assessment.
-- The on-the-ground team wants to be sure that the distribution of assets meets all their personal values which reflect our criteria - Fair, Beneficial to all, etc., because they are Rotarians!

They do the work in their communities to make their own communities better and to help their neighbours and families.

The summary so far is as follows:

Haiti Update January 13, 2010

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

This is the most tragic situation that you can imagine. The support from Rotary and the world has really stepped up to help and thank you for it.

Here is a brief summary of where we are after 24 hours:

-- We have communicated by Satellite Phone or Satellite e-mail to most of our Haiti Task Force Team.
-- The situation is so grave they are not yet in a position to move or check on others.
-- Currently we know that ADG Ted Lazarre lost his house and his business, and he and his wife and child are on the street in front of the Palace with nowhere to go.

I received this message from him via his satellite phone, and it went dead almost
immediately during the conversation. We are trying to coordinate some assistance as soon as we can contact anyone that is in a position to help.

-- We have not heard from PDG Amos and are still working on it.
-- All other Task Force Leaders are accounted for, although we have not communicated with all of them.

At this point our priorities are as follows:

-- In order of priority, we are asking for money first, and will have a Foundation DAF account available tomorrow
-- We will also have a District Account with detailed information available by tomorrow.
-- I have also spoken to Rotary in the Dominican Republic(DR), and there is a possibility that we can buy goods and services in the DR and truck them to
Port au Prince (PaP).
-- Secondly, we are working on getting shelter - Shelter Boxes, of which we have approximately 500 organized to start.
-- We are also looking at the possibilities of “Mash" type tents for temporary housing and medical shelters.
-- We desperately need medicine and food. A number of containers have been organized throughout the District and in America, and we are in discussions organizing the shipping of those containers through a number of international shipping companies (Tropical Seaboard) that are working with us.
-- We need clean water and have 100 Water Boxes on their way from England.
-- Additional water purification and supply will be necessary as we go forward.

Our Haiti Task Force ROTAH N.G.O. has funded immediate relief for the few that it can reach.

-- We need another day or two to effectively decimate the situation and to have our Rotarians to tell us what they feel they want us to do.
-- Rotarian Claude Surena, our Haiti Disaster Chair, is our primary contact on this and is working very closely with the Government of Haiti and the Red Cross on our behalf. God Bless him.

By 7:00 p.m.last night, Rotarian Dr. Claude had over 100 injured people in his yard and was out of food, blankets and space.

I appreciate your patience and concern. Please pray for Haiti and give something in support. Your fellow Haitien Rotarians will get it to where it will serve best.

Thank You!

PDG Dick

Our Priorities are

-- We need money first. Send to address below:

-- Shelter
-- Medical and Food supplies
-- Water purification items like Water Survival Boxes
-- Clothing

Let me know what you are doing with District or Club number for our records.

PDG Dick McCombe,
Haiti Liaison District 7020

US$ Payment by Wire Transfer:

Donors should be asked to kindly send e-mail advice of transfer to PDG Richard W. Harris at and (State name and email address of any other D7020 intended recipient)

Send to: Wachovia Bank, New York
ABA Code: 026005092
For credit to: FirstCaribbean International Bank (Cayman) Limited
Account Number: 2000192002655
For further credit to: Rotary International District 7020
Account Number 3481106
Reference “Haiti Earthquake Relief”

US$ Payment by Bank Draft or Cheque (Check):
Mailed payment must be an official Bank Draft drawn on a US clearing bank or a cheque drawn on a US domestic bank.

(US$ denominated cheques drawn on a bank outside of the continental USA are discouraged as they may be difficult to negotiate)

Mail to:
PDG Richard W. Harris
Rotary International District 7020
P.O. Box 557
Grand Cayman KY1-1502
Haiti Update

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