City gears up to help des­per­ate thou­sands in Haiti

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - GRAEME HOSKEN and LYNNETTE JOHNS

CAPETO­NI­ANS are gear­ing up to help the hun­dreds of thou­sands af­fected by Haiti’s dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake, with doc­tors and nurses on standby to fly to the stricken is­land na­tion and a lo­cal com­pany pledg­ing mil­lions of rand for aid.

Spe­cial­ist doc­tors from the Groote Schuur and Red Cross Chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals are on standby to leave for Haiti within days. The Red Cross and Groote Schuur doc­tors and nurses have been given per­mis­sion by the Depart­ment of Health to take leave im­me­di­ately to join the re­lief ef­forts.

Cape Town-based com­pany Oa­sis Hold­ings has pledged R5 mil­lion to­ward re­lief ef­forts.

The char­ity spear­head­ing South African vol­un­teer ef­forts, Gift of the Givers, says there has been an over­whelm­ing re­sponse from the med­i­cal and search-and-res­cue fra­ter­ni­ties.

Dr Im­ti­aaz Sooli­man, who heads Gift of the Givers, said yes- ter­day his or­gan­i­sa­tion has 42 med­i­cal and search-and-res­cue work­ers in Haiti, two more teams are en route and more are on standby. One team left on Wed­nes­day and a team of 10, made up of emer­gency medicine doc­tors, max­illo­fa­cial sur­geons and nurses, is ex­pected to ar­rive in the cap­i­tal, Port-auPrince, to­day.

Dr Yakub Es­sack, who is co­or­di­nat­ing the vol­un­teer teams, said the team due to ar­rive to­day will as­sess which spe­cial­ists are re­quired. “Many doc­tors are work­ing in a makeshift hospi­tal; we have turned a cathe­dral into a hospi­tal. Once we have an as­sess­ment of the kinds of in­juries we are deal­ing with and what can be done with the equip­ment we have, we will be able to say which of the spe­cial­ists are needed,” Es­sack said.

Sooli­man said of­fers of money, equip­ment and food had been com­ing in from across the coun­try. A com­pany has of­fered gen­er­a­tors worth R180 000. Sooli­man has dug into his or­gan­i­sa­tion’s pock­ets to buy air tick­ets, equip­ment and sup­plies. An­other team of trauma doc­tors and nurses was due to fly from Jo­han­nes­burg’s OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port last night.

Prom­i­nent South Africans, in­clud­ing Nel­son Man­dela’s wife, Graça Machel, are ap­peal­ing for aid, re­ports Sapa-AP.

Arch­bishop Emer­i­tus Des­mond Tutu also ap­pealed for do­na­tions.

In Haiti, South African search-and-res­cue op­er­a­tors have be­gun fresh searches fol­low­ing a se­ries of se­vere tremors on the is­land yes­ter­day morn­ing. The most re­cent tremor, which mea­sured 5.6 on the Richter scale, de­stroyed dozens of build­ings which were left stand­ing af­ter last week’s earth­quake, and trapped scores more peo­ple in the rub­ble.

The tremor came less than 24 hours af­ter two tremors struck the is­land on Thurs­day as the South Africans were search­ing for up to 4 000 miss­ing Catholic mis­sion­ar­ies, be­lieved to be trapped un­der the rub­ble of their homes and in church build­ings. The area they were search­ing is home to St An­thony Mary Claret mis­sion­ar­ies.

South African doc­tors and res­cuers moved quickly af­ter yes­ter­day’s tremors, set­ting up a makeshift hospi­tal at their base in Port-au-Prince to treat sur­vivors.

“We are work­ing quickly to take any pos­si­ble sur­vivors who will be brought here from al­ready over­flow­ing hos­pi­tals and makeshift clin­ics dot­ted around the city,” said Charles McClung, as res­cuers left the base. McClung said the in­ter­na­tional res­cue mis­sion was quickly mov­ing to a body re­cov­ery mis­sion.

“The chances of find­ing peo­ple alive more than 10 days af­ter the earth­quake are now very slim.”

PLEASE HELP: Graça Machel

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.