2.2.2010 Santo Domingo, The
Dominican RepublicAs I write, I am currently waiting in
Santo Domingo to go by land to Haiti around 2am. Haiti had a
massive earthquake on 12 January 2010. Didn’t think too
much of this, but a few days later I had a call from the
International Medical Corps asking me to be part of a mental health
programme, led by Dr Lynn Jones. This aims to strengthen and
develop mental health services after the earthquake.
From that point it has been hectic trying to
organise my travel and all my arrangements. My employers, South
West London and St. George’s Mental Health NHS trust, have
supported me fully in this endeavour and have released me from my
work for this time.
One of my tasks was to try and organise some
medical supplies for Haiti. Support has been incredible. Through
fundraising, I raised over £7000 of donations which has gone into
buying medication which I can take directly to Haiti. Sticking
to the required essential medication list, my three large boxes are
packed with haloperidol, procyclidine, amitryptiline, fluoxetine,
chlorpromazine to name a few. It is important to have a sustainable
medical supply until supplies are re-established.
My journey to Haiti was made smoother when
people found out my destination. Even at Heathrow, I was sped
through towards the plane. In Miami, staff literally blessed me on!
It was touching and certainly helped me get through transit to
Santo Domingo. The flight to the Dominican Republic was full of
relief workers; many were church-based and were from
Santo Domingo - the scale of the earthquake
really starts to hit me. On international development work scales,
this has been the most exhausting, upsetting and personally
demanding for those first on site. The relief effort has been
going remarkably well all things considered. The first wave of
emergency relief is coming to an end and now is heading towards the
stage of future sustainable development.
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