One year after a devastating earthquake claimed about 200,000 lives in Haiti, the Caribbean nation is still far from recovering and one Queens man said he hopes to change this with the medical help and supplies he and his nonprofit plan to deliver later this month.
“It’s really sad because you saw last January and February everybody being really interested in helping Haiti, but little by little people have forgotten about them,” said Kevin Jamison, a Long Island City resident who has gone on a countless number of humanitarian trips to Haiti over the past 13 years.
Jamison and members of the nonprofit he helped form, Community Development International, plan to be in Haiti from Jan. 21 to Jan. 30 to help run a weeklong free medical clinic in Seguin, Haiti. Cholera cases have recently been reported in Seguin, an area of about 40,000 people that is about three hours south of the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Jamison said he and the medical team, including nurses and doctors, hope to both treat the cholera cases as well as teach people what to do to try to prevent the disease from spreading at the Cloud Forest Medical Clinic in Seguin.
A cholera epidemic struck Haiti in October as the country continued to struggle with the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake that left about 200,000 people dead and more than 1 million homeless, according to statistics from the United Nations. The Haitian government said more than 2,760 people have died from the cholera outbreak, and about 130,534 people have been infected.
“Normally the clinic in Seguin will take in about 50 people a day, but with the extra staff we’re bringing, we’ll be able to see about 100 people a day, and the visits all that week will be free,” Jamison said. “We also have a six-person latrine project for the marketplace in Seguin. Every Sunday and Thursday everyone is there — people even walk from Port-au-Prince there — and with the spread of cholera, this latrine project needs to be done quick.”
The group is holding a fund-raiser Jan. 16, at Favela Cubana at 543 LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., during which time three Haitian musical groups will perform.
They will be accepting money and a wide range of medical donations, including protein powder, pain and fever relievers, multivitamins, antacids and antidiarrheal medicines, Pepto Bismol, antihistamines, lubricant eye drops, oral rehydration salts, anti-lice creams and shampoos and antifungal and antibacterial creams. They want donations of medical gloves, cotton, alcohol, gauze dressings, medical tape, ace bandages, Band-Aids and zip-lock plastic bags. A wide variety of prescription medications are needed, and the group is looking for an ultrasound machine and an EKG machine to bring to the clinic.
Since the earthquake struck last January, Jamison and members of the nonprofit have been to Haiti a number of times, and he said the situation in the country remains stagnant.
“There’s no difference since last year,” he said. “We were there in January, February, twice in the summer and once in October, and it seems like things are even getting worse. They’re still living in tents, they still have no food and no water. They’re still fighting for survival.”
With this trip, Jamison said he hopes to remind Haitians that there are still people out there fighting for them.
“They have such spirits, such a deep rich culture and we can’t forget about them,” he said.
For more information about the trip, visit cd-international.org.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson
©2011 Community News Group
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