Vol. 9 No. 15                                                              WE COVER THE WORLD                                         Saturday January 30, 2010

  Let’s face it. While people are suffering in Haiti 700 miles off the coast of USA it is hard to not think of what can be done to help.
     But along with a genuine outpouring of assistance with a U.S telethon that raised about USD$60 million and another up in Canada adding another 10—plus very generous efforts and maybe even more money from Europe and the Middle East as well as nearly everywhere else, there are some efforts to help that raise question.
     For example, here is John Travolta flying in his 40-year old restored B707 with seven tons of supplies into PAP last week.
     We keep wondering how is the effort to help pushed along by a celebrity pilot, no matter what his intention when scores of experienced full time pilots are slotted into PAP?
     Elsewhere ducking in and out of Haiti are news anchors from all the big TV networks doing their live stand ups from PAP and then back in USA and situate behind a glass of wine and dinner.
     So it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff about who is doing the most good or to be precise the good that counts—as miraculously they are still finding people hanging onto life under the rubble as late as this past Thursday.
     We think the movie star Meryl Streep admonishing do-gooders the other night at the Golden Globe event in Hollywood makes the most sense: "Shoot some money to Partners In Health, and be damn grateful you have the dollars to help."
     In every case that we have heard, air cargo has come on like gangbusters delivering the goods during this terrible humanitarian crisis.
     But we are getting a bit tired of publicity releases that feel it necessary to point to company efforts to help because they tend to say about the same thing.
     Haiti has a lot of attention now but will need even more later when unfortunately the news spotlight is finally elsewhere.
     So we like Boston, Massachusetts-based Partners In Health.
     PIH has a dozen clinics that were on the ground when the disaster hit and will be in Haiti for the long haul no matter what.
     With the amazing Dr. Paul Farmer as Head of Partners In Health for the past 17 years, is Ophelia Dahl.
     Her Dad wrote "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory" and her mother is legendary American Actress Patricia Neal.
     But her ability to create something that will absolutely rivet the reader happens, as Ms. Dahl who turns out to be no slouch writer, sent an incredible piece from Haiti.
     Interesting that the telethon mentioned earlier included Partners In Health as one of only six other charities it sponsored.
     So now with Air Cargo News FlyingTypers readers like LAN Cargo and other great people in air cargo reaching out to PIH (LAN gave PIH a big warehouse to stage goods in MIA) PIH shows its true color and sets up a nifty coordinating group to handle air shipments.
     That move is detailed in our second story: “Air PIH Cargo Takes Off”
     First an email diary "On The Ground in Haiti" by Ophelia Dahl.

   On The Ground In Haiti

     “Haiti’s catastrophe will forever divide its history into before earthquake and after.
     Dust has not settled.
     Flying towards PAP you could see a thick layer of smog lingering above the city. The air is acrid, stings the eyes and makes you cough. The airport is its own world. A spread of tents large and small, containers, supplies, boxes, vehicles, bicycles, and people wandering about in and out of uniform.
     We bumped into Jens, the UN engineer who had worked with us on the bridge we helped build in Boucan Carre, who was the last person to be pulled out alive from the UN meeting building.
     He had been under rubble for 6-8 days. Needless to say he looked like a walking skeleton and sounded very jittery.
     He simply said, “I had a lot of luck”.
     We drove to the University Hospital (HUEH). The scene there is truly impressive in so many ways.
     Much progress has been made.
     Medical tents are lined up in a row, and, inside, beds and stretchers lie close together, most patients are post surgery, bandaged or in casts.
     They are now receiving narcotics. Operating rooms up and running now 24 hours a day.
     Patients are lying mostly with haunted eyes but always respond to a greeting, often waving slow hand. I had to try to stop greeting them so they wouldn’t have to wave back in pain.
     Last night, I sat outside the main tent at HUEH on a bench talking to Evan [Dr. Evan Lyon] and David [Dr. David Walton].
     With the lights on inside the tent, I could see the silhouettes of the relatives tending to the patients, washing with a rag, feeding or massaging them.
     The sadness everywhere is so palpable. Haitians are usually very expressive in their mourning.
     Before quake, a wake would take place all night with women outside on the ground wailing and shouting in agony. People often fainted during funerals.
     I can’t imagine that happening here now.
     The wailing would never stop.
     There is no energy for weeping. Everything is marked by the quiet. Nearly everyone, adults, and children have the same expression of flat sadness.
     Volunteers run about and some nurses, both Haitian and American are around though everywhere a lack of nursing care.
     On the campus, the nursing school has collapsed, pancaked in between two buildings that still stand. Its rubble holds the remains of the entire second year nursing class.
     You can smell the bodies when you walk past.
     Yet people do still walk past because there is no choice but to get to other places.
     It seems so feckless which buildings crumbled which is why no one feels safe in a concrete structure.
     Outside in the courtyards at HUEH, the patients who evacuated from the ward after the second wave of aftershocks have constructed makeshift tents over their beds.
     It is starting to look like people are staying – where else can they go?
     The main buildings are mostly still standing on the HUEH campus, but several have major cracks.      Patients are afraid to be inside.
     Evan described the days that have been lost to bringing 80 patients in and out of the wards.
     When people felt the tremors, they pulled out their IVs and just scrambled out the best, fastest way they could. Polo [Dr. Paul Farmer] described a woman about 35 years old who had come to the hospital from the south. She was also attached to oxygen and afraid.
     He asked her whether anyone was with her.
     She said no one.
     She lost all her family and was brought to the hospital by a neighbor.
     We also saw a woman who had been brought back to the hospital with tetanus.
     She was fine and had been discharged after the initial surgery on her foot.
     But now her neck was stiff her head tilted back, she looked rigid and very sick.
     There will be medical challenges for many months and years to come.
     Other challenges remain too, including sanitation (there are no real toilets). You can imagine.
     So many people are doing such a stellar job.
     Obviously I know it is many many folks, but Evan and David are shining stars. Old news, I know, but Evan reinforced how life-saving it has been to have Jim Ansara help get the electricity going.
     No power was responsible for a lot of deaths in the first few days.
      The first night, after touring parts of the city, I stayed with Evan, David, Jim Ansara, and Chris Strock with a family in Port-au-Prince.
     We slept on the floor inside their house. The family slept on the ground outside—still too unsure to go in.
Yesterday, we had a leadership meeting with Loune [Loune Viaud], Fernet [Dr. Fernet Leandre], Joia [Dr. Joia Mukherjee], Louise [Dr. Louise Ivers], Lambert [Dr. Gregory Lambert] and Polo to talk about the mid- and long-term response, particularly a community-based outreach movement—we spoke of ten specific communities—with a massive training of Community Health Workers for follow-up wound care and chronic care.
     We discussed key partnerships with food and water organizations.
     Joia also returned yesterday and has a plethora of details to be shared and refined.
     Paul and I headed to Cange following our meeting.
     Silence everywhere and a sort of stoicism I had not seen here before.
     It is impossible to greet colleagues and friends and not see that their hearts are broken.
     We went first to visit the church, which has probably 70 patients lying on mattresses in rows on the ground.
     All of them have casts on limbs or white bandages over their stumps.
     Dressings are changed every day by Haitian staff and volunteers and need to continue to be changed for weeks to come.
     In the corner of the church is an overflow pharmacy, the piano has become a work top and meds cover the altar.
     Lovely Dr. Jon Crocker was seeing patients with a team of volunteers.
     And, as always, relatives help their loved ones with simple tasks.
     There is mostly quiet, no one is talking much, but there is a sense of community.
     Apparently, some patients moved to other wards have asked to some back to the church.
     We will have mass today in the Clinic Externe.
     In the hospital all wards taken up with amputees, fractures, some in need of spinal care.
     Probably 200 patients.
     The team reported having done 1,150 x-rays in Cange.
     The x-ray room is a miserable place to be for those who have made the long trek, limbs must be placed in best position to get a good film and it is painful.
     But the films help ensure surgeries go smoothly.
     There is a long road ahead for plastics with skin grafts and wound care.
     We are planning for all that.
     We’ll need a big infusion of prosthetics in a few months.
     Perhaps tens of thousands of amputees – hard to count. Koji [Dr. Koji Nakashima] says there are some landmine NGOs with good experience (Cambodia etc.) – we should reach out because it is clear it can’t be done cottage industry style, with donations here and there.
     Also, there is loads of PT needed – it is so hilly, hard to imagine life here without both legs.
     I’m deeply moved by our staff – many are suffering huge loss but are still here. One of our lab techs lost her husband and her son suffered head trauma and kidney failure, yet she keeps coming to work.
     Having volunteer teams working with our staff is going well – team from CA here right now are lovely people.
     The operating rooms are working hard – we’re able to do roughly 16 surgeries per day.
     There are three rooms available, but one is kept for emergencies and C-sections, which of course still go on.
     I am struck by many things, but the silence is deafening.
     The road from Cange to Hinche used to be a busy thoroughfare with trucks hurtling back and forth all day and blasting their horns.
     Yesterday, I counted only a handful of trucks.
     The trucks used to be loaded with food and things for market.
     Now there is just quiet – a sign that we are far from any sort of economic normalcy.
     Patients are still arriving in a steady stream from Port-au-Prince.
     I’m heading to Hinche and, hopefully, to St Marc tomorrow."
Ophelia Dahl

Donations: click here  Or mail to: Partners In Health, P.O. Box 845578, Boston, MA 02284-5578

     United Airlines continued its support of the earthquake relief effort in Haiti with flights on January 20 and 21 between Chicago O’Hare and Port-au-Prince.
     The first flight, a B757, transported 15,000 pounds of water donated by Walgreens, 384 sleeping tents from Feed the Children and communications equipment from Airline Ambassadors. The second flight, a B767, delivered over 2,200 hygiene kits, 5,700 water filtration bottles, 15,900 pounds of food and 19,000 pounds of water donated by the partner organizations United is teaming with on these flights. On both return flights, United transported people from Haiti to the United States. These are the first of up to 30 flights that United will operate between Haiti and the U.S.
      “These flights will deliver thousands of pounds of food, water and necessary medical supplies to our neighbors in Haiti who are in great need,” said Sonya Jackson, president of the United Airlines Foundation.      “Providing our aircraft to transport these much-needed resources to Haiti will save lives and help the country recover from the effects of the earthquake while bringing those who wish to leave the devastated area to the U.S.”
      “United Cargo is proud to collaborate with other United employees, donators of supplies, relief organizations and government agencies to meet the logistical challenge of this effort,” said Kyle Betterton, vice president of United Cargo. “The world is coming together to help those who need it most.”

Lufthansa Cargo
Usual Lift Unusual

     As Lufthansa Cargo moved 77 tons to SDQ to help in Haiti—CEO Carsten Spohr looked out a window at the FRA ramp last week and said: "When the driving snow brings German infrastructure to the limits of its possibilities we can only imagine the state of things in Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake.
     “If there is need for an additional flight, we will be there," Spohr said without specifying whether Lufthansa Cargo will assume all the costs again.
     Heide Enfield, Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency, who organized the free lift, as well as handling for the MD-11F to SDQ noted that some providers, to the stricken island nation had doubled or quadrupled their prices.
     "We were offered a Boeing 747 for €500,000,” she said.
     “Such business tactics are not compatible with the name Lufthansa.”
     Earlier Lufthansa Charter had arranged a B747 from Atlas Air to Santo Domingo on the behalf of Swiss humanitarian aid organization.
     “We carry out relief flights to disaster areas more or less at cost price,” Heide noted

Air PIH Cargo Takes Off

     Justin Miranda is examining a white board covered in notes about the model, cargo load, and location of dozens of planes.
     Generous donors have made them available to PIH in order to shuttle desperately needed medical staff and supplies to Haiti, and they now need to be matched with teams of volunteers and cargo ready for shipment.
     A member of the “planes” contingent of the newly formed “People, Planes, and Stuff” department, Justin is better known at PIH for his Java programming talents than for knowledge of a Falcon 900’s cargo capacity or how many people can get to Haiti on a Challenger 604.
     His new area of expertise is clear, however, as he explains how a donated anesthesia machine will need to be packed in order to fit properly into an available plane.
     Justin is not alone in his willingness and ability to re-focus his attention in response to the crisis in Haiti: he, along with several of his colleagues from every department at PIH, has learned very quickly to implement PIH’s plans to deploy medical personnel and supplies to Haiti by ensuring the safe arrival of dozens of flights over the last ten days.
     With the invaluable help of the planes’ owners and pilots, the PIH planes team was formed and put to work immediately following the 7.0 earthquake which flattened much of Port-au-Prince and surrounding towns. Julia Noguchi, who normally spends her days in the training department, pitched in as a member of the planes team.
     “It’s a steep learning curve, and we’ve had to ramp up activities quickly," she says.
     "But we’re being very effective.”
     The first group of surgeons was on the ground in Haiti less than 72 hours after the earthquake.
     Since then, more than 40 planes carrying over 170 volunteers and tens of thousands of pounds of medical supplies, have landed safely, delivering precious cargo for PIH facilities in Port-au-Prince and the countryside.
     Dozens more flights are in the pipeline, and are being managed with speed and accuracy.
     Julia Jezmir, the PIH Russia Project Coordinator is fluent in English and Russian, and in order to communicate effectively with her new partners—the owners and pilots of the planes—is becoming proficient in the Army alphabet as well. “Alpha, Bravo, Charlie…I’m not as good as Jon [Lascher, from the PIH procurement team] but everyone is learning.”
     Luke Messac, Matt Basilico, and Emily Bahnsen, all of whom are on PIH co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer’s staff, help match offers of planes with teams of volunteers and donated supplies, and help coordinate landing slots at the overburdened Port-Au-Prince airport. Emily can now speak with great authority about the size and cargo capacity of planes that need a two-hour landing slot, as opposed to those which only need one hour (generally smaller planes that can be unloaded by hand and then parked on grass).
     As she describes the process, which includes coordinating with the U.S. military and air traffic controllers in Haiti, she explains that being nice gets you a long way.
     “The people on the other end of the phone have a really difficult job, and they are working so hard.
     “We just try to make things as easy as possible for them.”
     Once a landing slot is secured, the arrival time, tail number, and contents of the plane need to be communicated to the people waiting for the plane on the ground in Port-au-Prince.
     Joan VanWassenhove does that, sometimes sending text messages until 3 in the morning in order to make sure that the incredible team members in Haiti are at the airport to receive the people and supplies.
     Joan’s regular job is to help disseminate lessons learned from programmatic research from the sites.
     As they work together in an office now dedicated to “Air PIH” activities, a major theme emerges: gratitude and admiration for the people providing their planes, and for the pilots flying them. Because PIH must take landing slots whenever they are available, but also must achieve “wheels down” status within a twenty minute window on either side of that time, the planes are operating both on very short notice and on extremely tight schedules.
     Luke shakes his head in amazement as he gets off the phone with the pilot who brought PIH Executive Director Ophelia Dahl, along with medical volunteers and supplies to Port-au-Prince, and was bringing home a group of volunteers on the return flight.
     “The pilots are awesome,” says Luke. “They’re so clear headed and reasonable. And willing to do whatever it takes.”
     In the coming weeks and months, the flights will surely slow down and will no longer need the full time attention of people like Justin and Julia.
     PIH’s strategy in Haiti has always been a long term one, and will need additional resources for many years to come, but eventually Justin will be able to return to his duties improving the Electronic Medical Records system, and Julia will dedicate 100 percent of her time to PIH’s Russia project.
     For the time being however, Air PIH Cargo is ready to fly.

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