Updates From Operation Rainbow...

Wow! We're still a month away from our rim to rim to rim run, and the response from our generous donors has been tremendous. We have already very nearly achieved our initial fundraising goal of $6,000. But, there's no reason to stop there. To our donors, we can't thank you enough for your very generous gifts. If you haven't yet had a chance to give, please consider helping us provide for this worthy cause.

We'd like to let you know that Operation Rainbow has taken notice of your generosity. Jeff received a call a few days ago from Laura Escobosa, Executive Director of Operation Rainbow. Laura was calling to thank us for our efforts, and to provide an update on Operation Rainbow's ongoing work in Haiti.

Laura sent two letters. The first details the work of Operation Rainbow's initial response, and the second provides a more recent update of their ongoing efforts and challenges. We'd like to share them with you below.

Once again, thank you for your help.  Operation Rainbow could not do this without your donations.

Initial Response:

Dear Donors,
Here is a report on our recent work with Haitian victims. Our second team has just returned from Jimani in the Dominican Republic, which is three miles from the Haitian border and about 25 miles from Port au Prince. Our third team is there now. We are still haunted by the tragic circumstances of each and every patient we saw.
When our first team arrived, they found a rudimentary hospital that was still under construction and had really been intended as an orphanage and clinic. It was quickly converted to a treatment center/refugee camp when the victims started arriving in droves because there simply was nowhere else they could get helped. Our first team worked hard to do the initial triage and managed to create some order out of sheer chaos. The "orphanage" (which was not inhabited yet) was converted into wards for the many patients, and the main building became the surgery center. Some basic organization had been put in place, but then an aftershock created major panic among the already traumatized victims: some jumped off the 2nd floor balconies, injuring themselves badly, and all of them, without exception, evacuated the building. They created a tent camp with their mattresses directly on the dirt, or for the lucky few, on a makeshift cot.
Our second team arrived to take over, and what they saw was overwhelming There were somewhere around 50 amputated limbs and many newly injured patients from the aftershock ordeal. There were no charts, and patient information was simply written on adhesive tape stuck to the casts. One of the hardest tasks was locating the patients as they were constantly moving from area to area
All in all, the second team made huge strides identifying the problems, taking care of infections, correcting external fixators and waiting patiently for an x-ray machine and sterilization to show up so they could start doing some much needed definitive surgeries. They also spent a lot of time trying to get the sickest patients evacuated to the comfort ship.
Team three is at work now and continuing the process. The critical patients have been moved, and the surgeries continue unceasingly.
Operation Rainbow is not a disaster relief organization but, having worked before in the Dominican Republic, we were asked to help and could not refuse. It turned out that our biggest asset was that we are used to working as a team and come fully equipped, ready to work. In a disaster such as this, it made a real difference because most of the other relief workers who arrived by ones or twos spent a lot of energy and time trying to assemble a workable team.
The work at Jimani will be mostly done by the time our third team leaves. We are trying to identify a hospital in Port-au-Prince that will be happy to receive one of our teams in a few weeks and where we will be able to do the surgeries these patients will so desperately need
One of the more inspirational parts of this experience was seeing the selfless work put in by countless volunteers doing incredible work in the most trying of circumstances. For photos and more stores, please go to our website, www.operationrainbow.org.
We cannot thank you enough for your contribution to our work. Hopefully, you will feel empowered and encouraged to continue your contributions to Operation Rainbow.
Laura Escobosa
Executive Director
Operation Rainbow

Ongoing Efforts and Challenges:

Dear Jeffrey,
I hope you received the letter we sent to our donors that gave a little report on the first teams that went to help with the Haitian victims. After the three teams that worked in Jimani, the border town on the Dominican side, we sent a team to Fond Parisien, a refugee camp on the Haitian side. Now that most victims had been given a first round of care, our surgeons felt we should find a hospital in Port au Prince where there was a funtional, sterile operating room and where hopefully we could bring the definitive surgery that they needed. This was not an easy task given the lack of operating rooms before the quake and the fact that many of them had been destroyed or were now in condemned buildings.
We found a hospital in the central part of the city, Sacre Coeur, where, even though the recovery room was in ruins, the operating rooms were intact. We sent two teams, the second one, (team leader is Dr. Gus Gialamas) is still at work. It has been quite a challenge as they have faced shortages of all types : no accommodation, no food, the diesel necessary for the generator is running out or the autoclave ( used to sterilize the instruments) breaks down . There are patients galore all hoping to get the surgery they need and it is frustrating to be hampered by these material shortcomings. They tell me the teams are fabulous and rising to the occasion, doing good work in spite of the difficulties.
We thank you for thinking of us and supporting us in our efforts.
You may also want to check out our website www.operationrainbow.org.
Laura Escobosa
Executive Director
Operation Rainbow

Post a Comment