(The following personal account comes from Jerry Colivas, CV’s SAFELY OUT™ Advisory Team Leader.)
I have been watching the new accounts this last week of the many issues surrounding the earthquake in Haiti. I have also read many situation reports from responding agencies and organizations about the problems first responders are having in meeting all the demands for assistance. I will tell that my heart goes out to the victims and their families, especially as we see the toll now going to 200,000 in a country of 3 million. The UN’s Partnership for Humanity just released its latest situation report. It is encouraging from the standpoint that more 121 people have been pulled out alive from the rubble, including a 3-year old child and a 22-day old baby. The report then is discouraging in that it relates there is an increased risk of death because open wounds and fractures go untreated. To me what the important underlying message is here is that while the world is responding to this tiny impoverished nation, people are still struggling for survival over a week after the earthquake. It also reminds us of Hurricane Katrina and the challenges we, as a country faced in providing assistance to those impacted by the flooding. When it comes to responding to disasters, our country is better, stronger now but we do need to be prepared. If you and your family are prepared to deal with a disaster, you are helping our responders because if they don’t have to worry about you, they can direct their resources to others.
Also, it is a fact that you cannot count on immediate assistance during a disaster situation.