Fear for Haiti hero as new quake hits
PUBLISHED: 14:56 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 17:32 25 August 2010
A TRUSTEE of a hospital charity in Haiti has said that the second quake to hit the country yesterday has taken the wind out of the sails of their mercy mission. Trustee of the Haiti Hospital Appeal, Ieuan Hill, from Welling, was anxiously waiting for n
A TRUSTEE of a hospital charity in Haiti has said that the second quake to hit the country yesterday has taken the 'wind out of the sails' of their mercy mission.
Trustee of the Haiti Hospital Appeal, Ieuan Hill, from Welling, was anxiously waiting for news of his brother Carwyn who was travelling to the stricken Port-Au-Prince from the North for the second time since the first quake hit last Tuesday.
Yesterday, communication lines were down in the Caribbean country after the second quake, measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, hit closer to Cap-Haitien where the Haiti Hospital Appeal was set up four years ago.
Greenwich police officer Mr Hill said he feared for the safety of his brother and his fellow charity workers, adding: "It's taken the wind out of our sails. The last thing we expected was a quake of that size so close to where our team is working.
"The phone lines are down again so we don't know if they are safe or not."
Mr Hill's brother, rushed to Port-Au-Prince with doctors in an ambulance loaded with supplies last weekend in response to the first quake.
He and his wife Reninca and other charity workers were due to return on Tuesday night.
The hospital and its children's home, which was not due for completion for six months, were hastily opened to treat refugees and orphans.
Thousands of orphans are at the centre of the humanitarian disaster that will eclipse the 200,000 death toll of an earthquake if aid does not reach victims, said Mr Hill.
Currently in South Africa, Mr Hill had been in touch with his brother via Skype, the region's only means of communication, to coordinate an international response to the disaster that is changing on a daily basis.
But contact was lost yesterday after the second quake.
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Mr Hill appealed to the British government to send neurosurgeons and medical teams to help treat victims at their hospital suffering from serious head injuries, broken bones and severe dehydration.
He added: "The potential for catastrophic, mass loss of life is huge, it cannot be underestimated.
"The deaths caused by the earthquake in Port-au-Prince will look like nothing by comparison if we don't get the aid coordinated on the ground properly.
"The threat of disease spreading from the victims' corpses in the heat, coupled with dirty water supplies could have a terrible effect on the death toll.
"Those coping with dysentery will make life hell for others because there is no sewage system.
"Where parents have been killed, seven or more orphans are common place because of the large families. They are left to fend for themselves in appalling conditions, at risk of catching disease spread by flies."
He said the disaster is two-fold: getting basic, urgent medical supplies, food and clean water to thousands trapped in the south of the island, and coping with wounded refugees moving en-masse northwards into an area creaking under desperate poverty.
They have organised a 40ft container loaded with medical supplies, food and water is set to leave Portsmouth shortly bound for Haiti.
Mr Hill added: "The biggest need is for the public to donate, we have limited supplies, so we appeal to the British public to dig deep to help those in desperate need."
The plight of victims in Haiti has prompted an unprecedented response from residents in Bexley and Greenwich boroughs.
Linda Archer, of the Red Cross shop, Alma Road, Sidcup said: "We've been inundated with people bringing in items to be sold, to the point where we had to close the shop and bring in extra staff just to make room for customers.
"I've seen a lot of disaster appeals but none have had a reaction like this one, it's phenomenal."
To donate to the Haiti Hospital Appeal log onto www.haitihospitalappeal.org.
AID worker Carwyn Hill, from West Wickham, has sent regular updates of the devastation caused by last week's earthquake.
The founder of the Haiti Hospital Appeal (HHA), who has lived in Cap Haitian in the North of the country for a year, wrote a blog for the charity website describing the scene.
He said: "Piled along many of the streets lay the rotting bodies of victims from the earthquake. Most were covered in old, dirty sheets scarcely large enough to hide the tragic images below."
For the full blog see the online Bexley Times home page.