On Saturday, Direct Relief International distributed a five-pallet hurricane module to its longtime partner Visitation Hospital in Petite Riviere de Nippes in response to Hurricane Sandy that left over 20 inches of rain in earthquake ravaged Haiti. Hurricane Sandy’s heavy rains brought flooding and resulted in over 50 deaths and affected over 200,000 people. The rains also brought increased concerns for a spike and spread of cholera due to damage to water filtration systems leading to a lack of clean water as well as a lack of adequate sewage and waste treatment facilities.
Visitation Hospital has been a longstanding partner of Direct Relief and treats patients in the southwest of Haiti without regard to their ability to pay. After Hurricane Sandy, their roads were completely washed out and yet they saw an increase in the number of patients needing to be treated. Additionally, there is a report of a cholera outbreak in Anse-a-Veau just ten miles south of the hospital and Visitation will likely be treating these patients to save lives and help stop the spread of the outbreak.
Direct Relief had pre-positioned this module in its warehouse in Port au Prince for just this scenario as Haiti has been hit by hurricanes regularly over the past few years. Valued at over $50,000, the hurricane module contains enough antibiotics, wound care supplies, nutritionals, food products, oral re-hydration, needles, syringes and personal care products to treat up to 5,000 people.
In Port au Prince, St. Luke’s Hospital also made use of the hurricane module that was provided to them by Direct Relief in June in preparation of hurricane season. Their newly completed St. Mary’s Hospital in Cite Soleil serves the roughly 300,000 inhabitants of this densely populated, low-lying slum situated on the waterfront. Characterized as the most challenging and dangerous places to live in the Western Hemisphere, Cite Soleil has a total lack of infrastructure, housing, and sanitation and thus makes residents extremely vulnerable when large storms comes through. Hurricane Sandy caused havoc in the area, bring rushing water and mud into homes, destroying whatever food stocks were available in markets, and spreading cholera.
Wynn Walent of St. Luke’s said, “Thanks to the hurricane modules being stored at St Luke’s storage depot in Tabarre, our team had access to all of the supplies necessary to respond quickly. We were able to distribute Ensure and nutritional bars to fight hunger and Pedialyte and Ringer’s lactate to fight against the dehydration that runs rampant when cholera spreads. In addition, the IV catheters, IV tubing, and needles prove life saving in dealing with the most severe cholera cases”.